Lowry seeking more history at Royal St George's but beware the English

Shane Lowry will seek to become the 17th Champion Golfer to defend his title at Royal St George's next year.

Shane Lowry should be allowed a few days to celebrate his historic Open triumph at Royal Portrush - but it’s just 360 days and counting till he starts his defence.

Retaining the Claret Jug is something only achieved by a select few golfers - a list that reads like the great and good of the game.

Padraig Harrington was the last man to do it, when he followed up his Carnoustie success with a triumph at Royal Birkdale in 2008.

Tiger Woods, also did the double, with wins at St Andrews and Royal Liverpool in 2005 and 2006.

Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Arnold Palmer, Peter Thomson, Bobby Locke, Walter Hagen and Bobby Jones - quite a list of sporting legends - all defended their Champion Golfer titles. As did the fabled Great Triumverate of James Braid, Harry Vardon and JH Taylor.

In the sepia-tinted past of golf’s oldest major, Bob Ferguson, Jamie Anderson, Tom Morris Jr and Tom Morris Sr all won back-to-back titles in the 19th century.

Lowry’s success has established him as one of the game’s most popular figures - and big galleries are guaranteed when he defends his title on the Kent coast.

Weekend and weekly bundles are now sold out and daily tickets are continuing to be snapped up as fans look to secure their place for The Open’s return to the south east of England.

Tickets are on sale currently to members of The One Club. If you’re not already a member, then join for free and secure your ticket at www.TheOpen.com/Tickets2020

Lowry’s victory proved a story for the ages for the home crowd - and could an English golfer follow his lead at Royal St George’s?

And there’s already something in the air as the course prepares to welcome The Open for the 15th time, a sense that the waiting could be over and a stirring of latent local expectation.

Whisper it quietly but the English are coming.

It’s 27 years since Sir Nick Faldo became the last Englishman to lift the Claret Jug, with a dramatic victory at Muirfield.

And it’s half a century since an English golfer won The Open on an English course, when Tony Jacklin triumphed at Lytham St Annes.

English players have won three of the Opens staged at the course, though you’d need to go back to 1938 for the last winner, Reg Whitcombe picking up the Claret Jug as a winner’s cheque for £100.

But there were four English golfers in the top ten at Royal Portrush, the same of the number of Americans.

Tommy Fleetwood will be leading the charge to go one better while Lee Westwood, Tyrell Hatton and Danny Willett all enjoyed solid weeks in Northern Ireland.

And then there is world number four Justin Rose, who faded from contention in the final round, but has repeatedly proved his major credentials in recent years.

“All those years since an English winner, it’s about time that changed, isn’t it?” said Fleetwood.

“I can’t believe it’s been that long to be honest. English golf is in such a strong position right now so it should only be a matter of time. I hope it’s me that breaks the spell.”