When you look at the facts objectively it’s clear that Rory McIlroy had a better season than Shane Lowry. But in sport, it’s rare to be able to appreciate the facts in isolation.
Rory McIlroy may have been voted PGA Tour player-of-the-year by his peers, won The Players Championship and pocketed millions of dollars.
Those facts are indisputable. But with the manner of Shane Lowry’s Open Championship victory at Royal Portrush, it raises the question, would McIlroy trade all that for what Shane Lowry achieved?
Joe Molloy, Nathan Murphy and Irish Times columnist Fionn Davenport discussed the year Rory McIlroy has had on the return of Golf Weekly.
“The answer is no. Would Rory switch all of this year’s accomplishments for winning The Open? I don’t think so,” was Davenport’s assessment of the question.
McIlroy’s disastrous tee shot on the first hole of The Open is perhaps something the four-time major winner would trade all he achieved this year to do again, according to host Joe Molloy.
“Despite his protestations, I would have thought it’s all about majors for him.
“If anything, the fact that he messed up that tee shot at Portrush so badly would suggest that he was nervous - that it meant the most to him as opposed to the $15 million,” Molloy said.
The outpouring of joy and happiness that followed Lowry’s triumph in July would perhaps have had McIlroy looking on wondering about what might have been on his home course.
Lowry has now written himself into folklore until the end of time. The most enduring image of that tournament will be the Offaly native striding, triumphantly, up the 18th with hordes of tricolours in pursuit. All fighting for a glimpse at history.
It’s all about the context of the achievements of both McIlroy and Lowry. Lowry’s was seismic, it brought people together. While undoubtedly also remarkable, McIlroy’s won him even more admiration from his fellow players.
Fionn Davenport thinks it all comes down to how sentimental McIlroy is. “It all hinges on how sentimental - in the real sense of the word - McIlroy would be,” he said
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