It wasn’t much more than a year ago when someone left a comment under one of our Seamus Power articles after the West Waterford man missed his latest cut to suggest “it might be time he looked at getting a job in a pro shop”.
I’d often be wary of what I read in the comment sections under any article and although I was sure this fella would eventually eat some humble pie, I didn’t think he’d be choking on it so soon.
After seeing out 2020 in 429th place on the world golf rankings and undergoing surgery to put right a niggling elbow injury, the outlook wasn’t much better when Power slipped to as low as 463rd on the ladder after tying 54th at the Puntacana Championship in March, 2021.
Fighting for starts off conditional status, he stepped back into Korn Ferry company in April, unearthing some confidence with a top-10 finish in Las Vegas before a major breakthrough back on the main tour at the following month’s Byron Nelson where he top-10’d for his first big points haul of the year.
Buoyed by his effort at the AT&T, and with a new-found understanding of his swing honed alongside ace caddie from Cork, Simon Keelan, Power backed up his Byron Nelson showing with successive top-20s at the Palmetto and the Travelers before enjoying top-10s at the Rocket Mortgage and the John Deere.
From relative obscurity, he would tee up at his next tournament – the Barbasol Championship– as the pre-tournament favourite and he would justify the tag, breaking through for his first PGA Tour win, earning an exemption through 2023 and booking his first Major tee-time for the PGA Championship this coming May at Southern Hills.
Far from resting on his laurels since that Barbasol maiden last July, he’s since been striking with the irons hot, recording five finishes of T21 or better on the PGA Tour, with his latest showing, a share of 15th courtesy of a 20-under par tally at the Sentry Tournament of Champions launching him, not just to a career-high ranking of 63 in the world, but to within striking distance of the Promised Land of the game’s top-50, and whiffing distance of Augusta’s azaleas.
So I ask you, is Seamus Power, a man who now boasts more than $5million in career earnings on the PGA Tour, under-appreciated in Ireland given all he has achieved? Far be it for me to say, but Shane Lowry certainly thinks so:
“It’s been great what Seamus has achieved in getting a first win on the Tour as he’s become your modern PGA Tour player who hits it a long way, and is pretty solid at everything he does,” Lowry told our man on the ground, Bernie McGuire recently.
“I think now he’s got that maiden victory, he’ll go on to really establish himself but then it’s a bit of a shame as what he’s been doing kind of goes unnoticed in Ireland.
“There are players like Seamus and Jonny [Caldwell] doing so well but they just don’t get the credit for what they are achieving.
“It seems that the benchmark in Irish golf now is majors, as people think if you’re not winning majors, you are not successful, and I felt that way for years before winning The Open.”
Does Lowry have a point?
Compared to household names like Lowry, McIlroy and Harrington, it could be argued that Power’s work goes somewhat under the radar, especially outside of golf circles. But I also believe that with his PGA Tour status now intact, he finally has the freedom to pick his schedule and add the Irish Open to his calendar, a luxury he has played without for most of his career.
Having studied in America and played Web.com and Korn Ferry as he chased the American Dream, Power, with his diluted Waterford lilt, made the trip to Lahinch for the Irish Open in 2019 but it was a fleeting visit, and one that arguably cost him his PGA Tour card that year. As a proud Irishman, an Olympian alongside Harrington in Rio in 2016, he was eager to get home and show the Irish people what they’d been missing having scarcely featured on the TV coverage. I’ve no doubt that ambition burns brighter than ever today.
Although he’s not yet into the Open Championship, at the rate the 34-year old is going, he could be in for an extended stay this summer with a Mount Juliet homecoming preceding a very likely trip to the Home of Golf at St. Andrews two weeks later for the 150th Open.
Not shying away from the opportunities, Power’s already talking about making Tour Championships, taking that drive up Magnolia Lane and representing Europe at the Ryder Cup. He’s always had the golf game, but now he has the belief to make it happen; a deadly combo that’s reaping rewards with no signs of stopping.
Not bad going for a “club pro”!