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‘Strange’ feeling for Shane Lowry on should-be Open week

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DUBLIN, Ohio – This was supposed to be a special week for Shane Lowry.

Following his emotional and commanding victory at last year’s Open Championship in Northern Ireland, he was scheduled to return to Royal St. George’s for a victory lap this week.

“I wouldn't say it's bittersweet, but it is strange, like I should be in St. George's today probably sitting in the pressroom there as defending champion and wondering how I'm going to go out and tackle that golf course as opposed to being here in Ohio,” he said Wednesday at the Memorial. “It's just very strange times for us at the minute, isn't it?”

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When the R&A canceled this year’s Open in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Memorial was relocated on the PGA Tour schedule to its spot on the calendar. Even though Lowry said he was just happy to be playing golf again, it was impossible to ignore what could have been.

“I miss the crowds, you miss the kind of buzz, the adrenaline you get from that, and I miss all that,” Lowry said. “I miss being announced on the first tee as defending champion, but I'm sure I'll get that next year. Everything that I miss or that I won't get to do this week, I'm sure I'll get to do next year.”

Earlier this week Lowry was transported back to last year’s Open when he was flipping through the TV guide and found a replay of the 2019 championship on Golf Channel.

“I've never really watched it without fast forwarding bits and skipping the bad shots, skipping the missed putts,” he smiled. “I think my dad probably watches it every day. He probably sits at home most nights and watches it.”