Ahead of his first appearance of the new year at this week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, Seamus Power has heaped praise on a man who’s played a huge part in getting him to Hawaii, caddie Simon Keelan.
The Cork man carried Power’s bag to a maiden win at last year’s Barbasol Championship but having joined forces with Power’s game when it was in a much more precarious place than it is now, their chance coming together has proved a perfect partnership with PGA Tour status secure through 2023.
“I’ve known Simon for over 20 years at this point through Munster panels and that,” Power recalled on the Fit for Golf podcast hosted by his fitness coach Mike Carroll.
“In 2019, it’s funny how it happened, my caddie at the time was getting married so he was going to be away for a week and I’d another fella lined up but only a couple of weeks before the tournament he got a full time job with someone else so couldn’t do it.
“I’d say only an hour later I got a message from Simon saying he was looking to come out on the men’s tour from the LPGA. ‘If you hear of anyone, let me know.’
“So I said as it happens, I need someone in a couple weeks’ time for Canada and he was like, ‘happy days, I’d love to do that’.
“We did the Canadian Open and US Open qualifying in the summer of ‘19 and it was weird because I underestimated the difference of having someone, one being Irish, but also who you’ve known a long time.
“I didn’t play well at all that week, I missed the cut and played poorly, but I remember I really enjoyed the week, it was different, being able to talk about stuff from back home like soccer and rugby. It was very refreshing.
“So after he was done with the Solheim Cup in Scotland, I offered him the bag even though I was a bit in the unknown in the 126-150 category but it’s been great since, fantastic, on and off the course.
“He’s made tournament weeks much more enjoyable – even all these little things. You know, golf can be lonely enough so to be able to travel with someone who is a good friend makes it a lot easier.”
A plus-five handicap in his own right and a former golf instructor having been the pro at Monkstown, Keelan also provides an extra set of eyes that have proved most useful to Power’s upturn in fortunes.
“He’s brilliant to bounce ideas off,” Power explained.
“When he started with me, to be honest I was kind of lost, but he was able to see it up close. Sometimes when I was on Tour at the start and I’d tell people that ‘it’s really not going well, I’ve been hitting some awful shots’, and they’d be like, ‘it can’t be that bad’, but he was watching the first tournament in Jackson and was like ‘Jesus, these shots are kind of bizarre – I was hitting some awful shots.
“It’s nice to have that background and those suggestions. He’s such a good player himself. We’ve similar ideas when it comes to golf,. We make a strategy for the course and we go with it. Some days are easier than others but he’s fantastic on the bag and he’s been a great addition.”
Power and Keelan tee up at 8.20pm Irish time this evening (Thursday).