Brendan Lowry was an all-action corner forward for the great Offaly team of the 1980s. Now better known as the father of tour star Shane Lowry, we caught up with him at Augusta National during the 2017 Masters Tournament for a Quick 18.
- Name: Brendan Lowry
- Handicap: 9
- Club: Esker Hills
1 How's your golf?
It's okay but I don't play enough. I got a new hip at Christmas so I only play once a week. But I am involved with the Juniors at Esker Hills so while I'm at the club quite often, I need to get out more and play.
2 How did you get into golf?
It was through the boys — Shane and Alan. I hated it at first. When I played GAA, I had no time to play golf. But it was only when I retired and got fed up dropping the boys off and collecting them that I decided that I might as well join them. I even got down as low at six at one stage. But I don't play enough.
3 Driver or putter? Choose your weapon?
The putter. I have an old putter that I've used since I started playing and I'm fond of it. Shane has given me plenty of new putters over the years, but I have always had to go back to my old faithful.
4 What's your favourite par-three?
I love the 13th in Esker Hills, which is where I play most of my golf. It's a three-tiered green — a seven-iron for me most of the time — and I just love that hole. It's lovely.
5 What's been the highlight of the Brendan Lowry golf career so far?
I've had two holes-in-one at the fifth and the 13th in Esker Hills.
6 What would be your dream fourball?
I have to name Shane and Alan and a good fourth would be Neil Manchip, the GUI national coach. That would be just fine. I couldn't leave any of them out.
7 If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I'd love to be able to drive the ball better. But personally, I'd like more hair!
8 If I gave you a mulligan in your GAA career, what would it be?
I'd love another go at the 1981 All-Ireland final again [Kerry 1-12, Offaly 0-8]. I'd had a good year up to that but I played poorly that day. We won the following year but that's one I'd love to play again. Another one would be the 1993 Offaly Club Championship semi-final, playing for Ferbane. I got sent off and I was suspended for the final which was against Clara. I'd love to have played in that final because Shane was the Clara mascot that day. He was only five. Clara beat us but I'd love to have played.
9 Going back to 1981, why do you think do you didn't perform?
I'm not sure. We weren't far away from Kerry that day. We nearly beat them but then Jack O'Shea scored that goal.
10 Jack O'Shea was a great player. Can you name a player you greatly admired during your career?
Tony McTague of Ferbane and Offaly. When I was growing up, I wanted to be like him — a forward playing for Offaly and winning All Irelands. He was so good. He could kick with both feet and at that time in the 1970s, a player who could kick frees with both feet off the ground was not something you saw every day. When you think of the footballs they used at the time — it wasn't a dry ball like the ones they use now, that's for sure.
11 Would you like to go back and play GAA again with the knowledge you have about sport now?
When I was playing corner forward, you had to stay in your position because if the ball went wide and you weren't there, questions would be asked. Nowadays the corner forward is everywhere, event at cornerback sometimes. You need to be very fit to be able to do that but I think I'd have enjoyed that.
12 Is Gaelic football as good now as it was? Or has something been lost?
It's gone more Croke Park. It's gone more official. The club game doesn't appear to be as important. And they are bringing in rules about black cards and the like that I think are madness. You see one guy getting a black card and then another player trips a player to stop them going through, which is what the black card is for, and he gets a yellow.
13 What's the best bit of advice you ever received in sport?
I was always told to enjoy it when I played. And I did. Then again, you wonder if you are really enjoying it when you are going through it. It's like Shane when he plays. When he's sitting in the clubhouse after playing well, that's when it's enjoyable.
14 Is it only when it's gone that the enjoyment comes?
People say, 'That must have been a great feeling', thinking of Shane winning the Irish Open. But there is that much tension and nerves that you don't enjoy it. When I played football, you don't enjoy it until you win and it's over. If you score 2-6 and you lose, you can't say you enjoyed it. You'd prefer to score two points and win.
15 Team sports is so different to golf. Perhaps it's as well you played GAA?
Yes, as I always say, Shane can't blame the goalie if it goes badly. I don't like people appreciate how tough golf is at the top level with some many great players to compete against.
16 You must be proud of all he's achieved.
Why wouldn't you be. If you just think of what he's achieved already in his career, it's amazing considering where he came from. I'm not saying he came from a bad place but he's just a lad from an ordinary family. You always thought, maybe one day he'll play in Croke Park. And look now.
17 What about 1982 when Offaly stop Kerry winning the five-in-a-row.
I'm sick hearing about that. I'd love Offaly to do something else. And I'd say the players that are playing now have had enough of hearing about. It was a great achievement and a wonderful win but we'd love to have something new to talk about.
18 So if I offered you an All-Ireland title for Offaly or a major win for Shane, which do you choose?
There's no choice there. Shane for a major. (Laughing). But if you gave Shane the choice, he might slightly hesitate for a minute. He's mad for GAA. Mad for it.
This feature first appeared in the Irish Independent's weekly Tee to Green golf supplement on 20 April 2017