Pros advice

Shane Lowry slams new technology rules at Irish Open

Shane Lowry has hit out against the decision to encourage fans to take photographs and selfies on the golf course for this week’s Irish Open in Royal Portrush.

For the first time, mobile phone photography has been allowed in all areas of the golf course from Tuesday, July 4th, until the finish on Sunday, July 9th.

However, Lowry believes that it will be the Irish players who garner the most attention and become the main subjects of people hoping to get a snapshot or selfie.

Embracing the theme of modernisation, the European Tour is urging fans to enter a competition for the best picture of the week. The winner receives €500 worth of merchandise.

“I think that’s ridiculous. There’s going to be carnage this week for myself and the other Irish guys,” said a disgruntled Lowry.

“What a week to trial something like that. There’s going to be 25,000 . . . Trying to get 25,000 people to use their phone on silent . . . statistically, a certain percentage of people won’t have their phones on silent. They’re going to use it anyway. There’s going to be carnage.”

Lowry is one of the youngest players on tour at 30 years old, but feels Ireland is one of the major offenders of loud ringing phones, people talking, and disruptive picture snapping during play.

“France has always been pretty bad, Ireland has been pretty bad too,” said Lowry. “You’re not allowed use your phone at Augusta. I don’t know . . . I just think it’s a bit ridiculous this week.”

At the Masters’ event, patrons are not allowed to bring phones on to the golf course, largely because of what Lowry says – people forget to put them on silent.

It’s not just conversation distractions and picture-taking that’s causing issues, but also the growing trend of people capturing selfies with a famous person and then sending a Tweet.

“To be honest, it’s always been extremely difficult to police so we’re delighted to be the first European Tour event to pilot this change,” said Irish Open Championship director Simon Alliss, referring to the capitulation to modern social behaviour.

Lowry is not only concerned about ringtones going off at the top of his back swing but is also skeptical of music being played on the practice range, which is another step towards a lighter feel around grounds that are often seen as intimidating and exclusive.

“The Tour is all into this new stuff. Music on the range. I’m not a fan of much of it. Some if it I am,” he said.

“Trying to warm-up at half six in the morning on the range and One Direction comes on. You’re thinking ‘ah come on, I’m only barely out of bed.’ You’re trying to get your head right, you know what I mean?

“Do they need to have music on the range at Wentworth? This week at the Irish Open, does anyone care they have music on the range? There will still be the same amount of people there. No one is going to go for the music on the range. They’ll still go for the golf.”

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