SHANE Lowry has been awarded honorary life membership of the European Tour in recognition of his Open Championship victory in July.
The Irishman finished six shots clear of Tommy Fleetwood at Royal Portrush to lift the Claret Jug in front of packed galleries at the County Antrim venue.
It was the perfect result to get a home winner as the island of Ireland hosted the Open Championship for the first time since 1951.
It was Lowry’s maiden Major Championship triumph and came 10 years after his unforgettable breakthrough victory as an amateur at the 2009 Irish Open, at County Louth Golf Club, in Baltray.
The 32-year-old currently leads the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, having also won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship – the first Rolex Series event of 2019.
He was presented with his honorary life membership by European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley ahead of the BMW PGA Championship – the season’s fourth Rolex Series event – which gets under way at Wentworth Club, on Thursday.
Lowry said: “It is pretty cool to receive this award. When you start playing golf when you’re a kid you don’t know how good you can be, or even when you start playing as a pro.
“I didn’t know that I would get to this day so it’s pretty cool,” added Lowry, who first showed his promise on the world stage by claiming the WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone, in 2015.
“I’ve obviously joined a nice list of names, which is pretty good as well,” Shane added. “My heart lies with The European Tour. I’ll always be a member.
“I love coming back and I love playing in events like this. So it’s an extreme privilege to receive this,” said Lowry, who played alongside Rory McIlroy for Ireland as an amateur.
Mr Pelley said: “Shane’s incredible victory at Royal Portrush will be remembered as one of the iconic performances in the championship’s storied history.
“Shane is a terrific character and I think you when you look at the remarkable reception he enjoyed across the island of Ireland in the week following his win, in addition to the warmth and praise on social media globally, that shows you how popular he is in the game.
“He is also a wonderful ambassador for the European Tour, and is therefore a truly worthy recipient of this honour.”
Lowry, who has won five times on the European Tour, becomes the 56th person to be awarded Honorary Life Membership of the European Tour.
The award comes 41 years after John Jacobs, the European Tour’s founding father, was the first to receive the accolade in 1978.
European Tour honorary life members
|1985||Sir Henry Cotton|
|1987||Sir Nick Faldo|
|1994||José María Olazábal|