What event does Shane Lowry think will become a "fifth major"?

Shane Lowry

How committed is Shane Lowry to playing in this year's Olympics?

Put it this way: he's already booked his flights.

The Open champion is the strong front-runner to join Rory McIlroy on Team Ireland in Tokyo later this year where golf will feature for the second Games in succession.

The 32-year-old could have played in Rio de Janeiro four years ago but turned the opportunity down because of fears regarding the Zika virus - something he says he received "a bit of stick for".

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However, he'll be going for gold this time around, no matter what.

"It's fully in my schedule this year," he told reporters ahead of this week's Saudi International. "I mean, I'm not guaranteed on the team yet but it would take a really good season for someone to pass me.

"My flight's booked. I'm due to fly out the Wednesday after the Open and go to the opening ceremony and hopefully play."

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Lowry, who won his maiden major when he got his hands on the Claret Jug at Royal Portrush last year, added that a gold medal currently doesn't have the same significant as one of the game's established marquee trophies.

He does, though, envisage a time when that could change.

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"I do see it down the line being a big thing in golf," he said. "The thing is for me, being Irish, we don't win many gold medals at the Olympics. So I think that's
one kind of goal that I have in my head; that I think it would be incredible to bring a gold medal back to Ireland. That's kind of the wayI'm going about it this year.

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"I think the Olympics will grow, and golf will grow in the Olympics and I think in 20, 30 years' time, I think it will be huge. It will be like a fifth major I think.

"It will be pretty cool to go out there and see what it like and hopefully come back with a medal for Ireland."

The men's golf tournament at the Tokyo Games takes place from July 30 to August 2 at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

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