Shane Lowry feels Rory McIlroy's pain after injury lay-off
Shane Lowry won't join the chorus of condemnation levelled at Rory McIlroy for injuring himself in a football kickabout with his friends - but he has no plans to indulge in the big ball game any time soon.
Lowry (28), is a huge sports fan and with his gaelic football heritage from All-Ireland winning dad Brendan and his uncles, he loves to watch a good match in any code.
He does admit to bringing a -whisper it - rugby ball with him on golf trips, and even an O'Neill's football, but that's where he draws the line.
"At a tournament, me and Neil (Manchip, his coach) always bring a rugby ball. We might even bring an O'Neill's, but I wouldn't play any matches with my friends, like a weekly five-a-side. No chance," he said.
Part of that decision is Lowry's own experience of being sidelined because of a wrist injury he suffered in December 2011.
That cost him a four-month absence from tournament play and he will do all he can to avoid a repeat injury.
Lowry does, however, feel sympathy for McIlroy and appreciates that his pal will be getting some stick for taking what many would see as an unjustifiable risk given the time of year and the huge tournaments to come.
"If you get injured, no matter what you're doing it's not ideal, you're just there, and you just have to work towards a date. That's what I did when I was injured," said Lowry.
"Obviously he was out playing football with his mates.
"It's something that some people will say he shouldn't be doing but I'm one that says if he wants to do it, if he enjoys doing it, what's wrong with that?
"Obviously his career's suffering now because of it, but it's not the end of the world. No one's after dying."
They say sportsmen live in their own little bubble but Lowry has a broad perspective on life, particularly after the Berkeley balcony tragedy which claimed the lives of six students and injured seven others.
The Offaly man wore black through the four days of the US Open as a sign of mourning for the students and their families.
Lowry alluded to that tragedy when he discussed McIlroy's situation, and there can be no arguments that by comparison, the ankle injury is a minor setback, albeit newsworthy in golf circles.
On the career front, Lowry also takes a balanced view, and wants to call a halt to speculation in relation to his prospects of winning a Major championship. A tied-9th finish in the recent US Open at Chambers Bay and a similar position in last year's Open championship at Hoylake represents significant progress in his six years as a tournament professional.
Encouraging as it is, for Lowry, the stats are not enough to justify a growing sentiment that a Major breakthrough is imminent.
He plays the Scottish Open at Gullane this week and looks forward to the Open at St Andrews next week with reasonable optimism, but said: "I'm definitely not at the stage in my career where I have an eye on Majors.
"I think people are getting very carried away, so I think this talk about me winning Majors has to stop. I'm still at an early stage in my Majors career but I'm not saying I can't go and win it. I definitely can go and win it."