Last Updated: 22/07/19 9:32am
Gary Player has labelled Shane Lowry’s win in The 148th Open as one of the greatest victories he has ever seen.
The three-time Open champion was at Royal Portrush to witness Lowry delight the huge crowd as he claimed his maiden major success by a six-shot margin from Tommy Fleetwood.
Player was also full of praise for the Dunluce Links course after the successful return of the tournament to the Northern Ireland venue following an absence of 68 years and he sees a bright future for the sport.
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“That was one of the greatest victories I’ve ever seen in a championship and how appropriate to win in front of all those enthusiastic fans,” said the 83-year-old South African, who was speaking at Wentworth where he is hosting the Gary Player Invitational, one of six annual charity events, on Monday.
“He was remarkable and they had the biggest crowds I’ve ever seen at The Open. It was just one of the happiest days and for Shane Lowry to win in front of his own people, what a performance! I got very, very excited and quite choked up in fact.
“This was my 64th Open that I’ve attended, so I’ve seen a lot of Opens all over the country, and I would have to say, even though I didn’t participate, it was one of the most successful Opens ever.
“I played there a month ago and it’s one of the greatest golf courses I’ve ever played. To the R&A, well done, what a performance, what an Open. Golf is going from strength to strength and they are doing so much around the world. It’s wonderful to see how they help young people. It’s very, very exciting for me.”
Lowry rode a wave of home support as he cruised to victory, but some of his rivals withered under the pressure of trying to chase him down in the raucous atmosphere, something which Player says they need to address.
“That’s something as a professional athlete, you’ve got to prepare yourself mentally for that kind of thing,” he added.
“I had it a lot in America when I was playing with Arnold Palmer and the crowds were going crazy, but I still beat him. So that’s something that’s purely mindset – it’s discipline – and you’ve got to expect that, it’s a natural reaction.”
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