'Rory's young - what's the problem with him playing football with his mates', asks Shane Lowry
Shane Lowry has defended fellow golfer Rory McIlroy after he ruptured his ankle ligaments playing football just weeks before the British Open.
Speaking at Greystones Golf Club yesterday, the Offaly golfer was asked should McIlroy have been playing football.
"I don't know. He likes playing football with his mates. What's wrong with that? He's only 26.
"People think that because you're good at something you should just do that and focus on that, but that's not what life is about," Lowry said.
McIlroy took to social media to declare his injury yesterday, posting a picture of himself in a large ankle support on Instagram.
The defending champion is now a major doubt for this month's British Open, where he was expected to go head-to-head with rival Jordan Spieth.
Lowry, a big Offaly GAA fan, admitted he likes to relax playing football too.
"I kick about myself. At a tournament, I'll always bring a rugby ball and maybe even an O'Neills as well.
"It's not ideal for him because he's world number one, and he's going to have everyone in the media on his back now.
"You could be walking down the steps in the morning and fall, and that's life, that's the way it happens. It just so happens he's the best golfer in the world and it's happened to him like this," he said.
Lowry admitted playing the British Open is a target for any golfer.
"With the open in St Andrew's no matter who you are, whether you're world number one or an amateur, you don't want to miss it, you want to play in it.
"He probably will feel a little bit stupid, but I mean he'll be grand. It's not the end of the world."
Lowry, a brand ambassador for Kartel under the Heaton's department store banner, will play the Scottish Open this week before continuing to St Andrew's.
"I'm definitely not at the stage in my career where I can have my eye on majors. I think that's one thing that people are getting very carried away with.
"I've only won two events as a pro and I'm going to Scotland to play as well as I can and try to get myself a position. Then I'll go on to St Andrew's on Monday and see what happens up there."