Brendan Lowry thought his son might one day play in front of thousands of screaming fans at Croke Park in Dublin, where he and his two brothers helped lead his team to victory in the 1982 Gaelic football championships. He had a footballer's build, after all, and the game was the family's sport.
Brooks Koepka doesn't need to reach too far back in the memory bank to know how precarious a big lead can be. He nearly gave away his last major just two months ago after leading by seven shots going into the final round of the PGA Championship.
Everyone in the massive grandstand rose to cheer and celebrate a bold performance by Rory McIlroy, who longed for such support and affection on his walk toward his final hole at Royal Portrush in the British Open.
Graeme McDowell knows pressure, from delivering the winning point for Europe in the Ryder Cup to winning the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. All he was trying to do Friday in the British Open was make the cut.
The opening tee shot Rory McIlroy could live with, even after it went out of bounds and shattered the screen of a woman's mobile phone. He had, after all, spent the last five years anticipating a homecoming like no other and the first shot was always going to be a battle between muscle memory, nerves and the wind that blows off the North Atlantic coast.
The buzz among the locals at Royal Portrush has been all about Northern Irish natives Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell this week, so Shane Lowry felt like he came into his "home" British Open a little under the radar.
David Duval lost a few golf balls on his own Thursday in the British Open. It's one that was found that brought him the wrong kind of attention with a score of 14 on one hole and a 91 when he walked off Royal Portrush.
It was about 6:30 a.m. when Darren Clarke, sporting a gray beard to match his swept-back gray hair, walked onto the first tee at Royal Portrush to hit the opening shot of a British Open he never thought would happen.
Royal & Ancient chief Martin Slumbers is fond of saying that a big-time sport needs a big-time crowd. That won't be an issue for the British Open's return to Royal Portrush for the first time since 1951.