Rory McIlroy might miss The Open and the US PGA but Shane Lowry reckons the Holywood star should not be crucified for playing football with his mates.
The Clara star, who was speaking at his announcement as the new brand ambassador for Heaton's Irish golfing apparel Kartel, heard the news on Saturday and reckons people should try and keep things in perspective.
The Clara star, who kicks a rugby ball at tournaments to pass the time, jumped to his pal’s defence as the Holywood star faced a massive battle to be ready for The Open
While McIlroy’s Saturday kick-about led to ruptured ankle ligaments and looks to have smashed his hopes of defending the Claret Jug, Lowry hopes the world No 1 doesn’t get the red card from fans and the media for having fun during his down time.
Lowry said: “It's not ideal for him because he's wearing that boot and he's going to have everyone in the media on his back now.
“Should he be playing football? I don't know. He likes playing football, and he likes playing football with his mates. What's wrong with that?
“I mean, he's only 25 or 26. It's a case of, 'Let's go out for a kick-around? Yeah, no problem'.
“People think because you're good at something you should just do that and focus on that, but that's not what life is about.
“Obviously his career's after suffering now because of it, but it's not the end of the world. No one's after dying."
Lowry is a huge rugby and GAA fan and often brings packs a rugby ball in his golf travel bag to kick around on tour.
Speaking at the launch of his “Shane Lowry Kartel Clothing” line for Heatons, Lowry said: “At a tournament, me and my coach Neil Manchip always bring a rugby ball. We might even bring an O'Neills!
“Okay, I wouldn't play any matches with my friends, like a weekly five a side. No chance. But we’d often have a kick about.”
Top sports stars often have clauses in their contracts preventing them from playing dangerous sports but Lowry doubts that McIlroy will need to make an insurance claim.
He joked: “I think he's okay for a quid!”
On a serious note, the popular Offaly man knows exactly how McIlroy feels after a 2011 wrist fracture cost him the first four months of that season.
Asked how that happened, Lowry laughed; “Ah we won't get into that, lads!… It wasn't playing football!
“I missed four months. It's tough. It's obviously not ideal for him, he's not going to feel ideal after it.
“But you just have to sit down and say right, let's set a date for when we come back and work towards that.
“That’s what I did and that's what he's going to have to do.”
McIlroy is a doubt for the Open after totally rupturing an ankle ligament playing football with friends with one report suggesting that his team had calculated his chances of playing at 10 percent.
The world No 1, 26, wrote on Instagram: "Total rupture of left ATFL (ankle ligament) and associated joint capsule damage in a soccer kickabout with friends.
"Continuing to assess extent of injury and treatment plan day by day. Rehab already started."
Lowry was speaking as the new brand ambassador for Kartel which will be sold through Heatons, Ireland’s largest department store group.
Shane Lowry for Kartel will be available exclusively in Heatons stores and online from September 2015.
This partnership between Shane Lowry and the Kartel brand is a continuation of the brand’s long-standing and successful strategy of supporting some of Ireland’s very best golfing talent.
This partnership sees Shane design a bespoke range of golfing apparel for Kartel, which will be available as part of a capsule collection in selected stores from September 2015 and with plans in place to launch the full range exclusively through the 54 Heatons stores across Ireland, and online from Spring 2016 on www.heatonsstores.com