For Shane Lowry, this week must feel like a dream he's yet to wake up from. He's played the best golf of his life in front of a raucous home crowd, one that was still singing his praises in the grandstands well after his final putt dropped. Should he go on to win, it will go down as one of the more popular major victories in recent memory.
While Lowry's play is not completely out of left field (he did win on the European Tour earlier this year), it is somewhat surprising given his history in the Open Championship. His lone top 10 came in 2014 at Royal Liverpool, and he's since missed four straight cuts in the event. Last year at Carnoustie, Lowry was so upset with his play that he split with longtime caddie Dermot Byrne in the middle of the tournament. What a difference a year makes.
So what's been the big secret for Shane this week? Extra sleep? Eating in every night? A pre-round pint? None of the above. Apparently, it's been reality TV. Allow Lowry to explain:
"Be lying if I said Love Island wasn't on," said Lowry, causing the entire media center to erupt with laughter. "Love Island," for those unaware (had to Google it myself) is this horrific-looking reality TV show that seems to be a mix of "The Bachelor" and "Survivor." If that didn't make it sound awful enough, here's a trailer to hammer the point home:
My goodness, does that look bad. It's so terrible that IMDB gives the show a 5.1 out of 10 rating, and IMDB hands out 7s and 8s like Skittles on Halloween. But hey, a guilty pleasure is a guilty pleasure, and we all have one. Lowry's is "Love Island," and if he goes on to raise the claret jug at Royal Portrush, we take back everything we said about the show.