It’s just one more sleep until Kinsale’s John Murphy and Kilkenny’s Mark Power enter the competitive cauldron of Walker Cup action at Seminole on May 8 and 9.
The Irish pair have been sharpening their tools in Florida all week, aiming to be part of the first Great Britain and Ireland team to taste victory on US soil since 2001. Twenty years ago, it was names like Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald, Michael Hoey and Nick Dougherty that helped capture only the second Walker Cup for GB&I away from home but Murphy and Power won’t be intimidated one bit as they aim to etch their name in the biennial team event’s folklore.
Both Irish raiders are main-stays in America in recent years with Murphy a celebrated red-shirt Senior at Louisville having arrived Stateside in 2017. The Byron Nelson award winner’s game has been trending nicely all season and he knows it will need to be in tip-top shape on a Seminole track sure to chew up, and spit out anyone off kilter.
“It’s certainly going to add an element of excitement,” said 22-year old Murphy of the greens reportedly rolling at 14 on the Stimp at the sun-baked Florida host venue.
“None of us are used to it. I’d say a lot of tour pros aren’t even used to it! Adding wind on top of that slope and green quickness is going to be pretty interesting. There Might be a bit of carnage out there at times so looking forward to that, and hopefully we can manage it to the best of our ability.”
20-year old Power might be a couple of years Murphy’s junior but he packs a lot of experience onto his young shoulders. The Wake Forest convert demonstrated why he’s one of Ireland’s most exciting prospects when capturing the East Lake Cup just a couple of months into his collegiate career while he took advantage of an invite to last year’s Irish Open and made the cut amongst the stars of the European Tour.
Whether or not the Irish pair line-out together remains to be seen but team Captain, Stuart Wilson knows the strengths at his disposal and has no doubt his Irish contingent will excel, whether they’re playing together or apart.
“I know Mark pretty well. I know his game and it just gets better and better as the years pass by,” said Wilson, who Captained Power at the Jack Leglise Trophy. “I met John for the first time this week and instantly hit it off with him on a relationship basis. He has a really mature, good golfing head on him.”
Wilson isn’t alone in that summation. Murphy’s Byron Nelson award was earned as much for his off-course contributions as what he’s achieved on it as a Cardinal, and there’s no doubt the fiery haired Corkonian will be a cool customer for GB&I at Seminole and a natural leader in the team.
The same can’t be said for Power – at least if you listen to his team-mates! The most outgoing, talkative golfer on the team? “Mark Power,” was the unanimous answer from Power’s team-mates. “I can’t shut him up,” joked Alex Fitzpatrick. “Mark loves the sound of his own voice,” said Murphy.
Stylish lads, hidden talents and a truly quack-tastic Donald Duck impression.
— The Walker Cup (@WalkerCup) May 6, 2021
But hey, in a serious team environment like Seminole, someone has to break the ice. In Power’s case, he might do a lot of the entertaining off the course but you can be guaranteed he’ll let his clubs do the talking on it. And he’ll need to if GB&I are to claim the third away win at the Walker Cup for the best part of 100 years. Best of luck lads!
- Walker Cup TV schedule, Saturday & Sunday, May 8&9:
SATURDAY: Sky Sports Golf – Red Button (15:00), Sky Sports Mix (15:00), Sky Sports Golf (16:00), Sky Sports Golf – Red Button (21:30), Sky Sports Mix (21:30), Sky Sports Main Event (23:00), Sky Sports Golf (23:00)
SUNDAY: Sky Sports Golf – Red Button (15:00), Sky Sports Mix (15:00), Sky Sports Golf (16:00), Sky Sports Golf – Red Button (21:30), Sky Sports Mix (21:30), Sky Sports Main Event (23:00), Sky Sports Golf (23:00)