Seamus Power will fly the flag for Ireland solo this week in California as he goes in search of some much-needed form at the AT&T Championship at Pebble Beach.
With the traditional pro-am element missing this year due to Covid-19, the West Waterford golfer will be able to concentrate fully on his own game as he looks to arrest a run of form that has seen him make only one cut in his last five PGA Tour starts. His sole weekend appearance was a tied-37th result at the Bermuda Championship in November with missed cuts at the Sony (where he was a first alternate) and the Farmers (where he only got in at the last minute also) seeing the 33-year old fall to 201st on the FedEx Cup standings.
Yet Power arrives to the west coast with solid memories of a top-40 finish at last year’s renewal where a final round 74 denied him what was looking like a top-20 for most of the week. Still getting back to full powers after elbow surgery last November, this week represents the first real opportunity for Power given it’s an event that’s been in his schedule for some time and therefore a start that comes without the stress of waiting in the reserves for a call-up that may never come.
Another man who’s been waiting patiently for form to arrive found it last week with Jordan Spieth re-introducing himself to the golfing world at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The 27-year old was the talk of the sport when signing for a sizzling 10-under par 61 on moving day in Arizona but failed to get over the line on Sunday as Brooks Koepka claimed the win. And although Spieth was pleased to see putts dropping given his woes on the greens over the last couple of years, he wasn’t all that happy about the texts coming through from friends and family as if this form shouldn’t be expected of a three-time Major winner in his twenties.
“I think it was like Friday afternoon I was at 8-under, I was just in the top-10, maybe like 6th or 7th and I was receiving texts that were like, like it was my first PGA Tour event ever,” Spieth said. “And as much as I enjoyed that support, I was also like, I mean, I’m not leading by three, I didn’t win the golf tournament, I’m — yeah, I know it’s been a little while since I’ve been near the top, but like come on guys, I expect to be here, you know?
“And then after Saturday’s round, after a low round like that it’s, you know, those texts, you’ll get texts from friends or people that are like, 0h, that was awesome, this or that, which that was just the round specifically.
“But, no, after Sunday, really after my putt missed on 16, and I hit a great putt and just nothing went in that day, I knew that I essentially couldn’t win. Maybe I had to go eagle, birdie. So then it was, let’s go ahead and just finish strong. So I was actually happy walking off the 18th green. But at walking off the 16th green, it was pretty deflating, just being in the lead and having two holes to go and knowing that you essentially didn’t have much of a chance to win the golf tournament.
“That was frustrating, and it’s driving. It makes me want to go out and work hard this week and try and get in the same position because I know that you put yourself in that position enough, you start hitting the pins and they go in or the ball lips in on Sunday and it goes your way. So I didn’t leave feeling like I won. I actually left, fortunately, I felt disappointed that I didn’t win.”
Seamus Power plays alongside KJ Choi and Aaron Baddeley at 17.58 (Irish time) today while Jordan Spieth plays with Rickie Fowler and Nick Taylor at 18.09. World number one Dustin Johnson withdrew from the event following his win in Saudi last week while Padraig Harrington was forced to withdraw after contracting coronavirus.