Seamus Power’s ‘low-key’ Augusta National attitude will continue through this coming week ahead of his maiden Masters appearance. Power is chilling-out back home in Las Vegas after his impressive showing in last week’s rookie showing in the WGC – Dell Technologies Match-Play in Austin, Texas and not tempted to head to Augusta early.
The Waterford golfer’s effort to make the final eight in Texas cemented his place also into the first major championship of his career ahead of taking American and World No. 5 Scottie Scheffler all the way to 16 holes before losing out in last Saturday afternoon’s quest for a Sunday morning semi-final spot in the Euro 10.9m event.
Power’s effort over the four days in the Texas capital should see him move to around No. 42 in the world, and the highest world ranking in his career when the new rankings are confirmed this morning (Monday) And while Power has been side-stepping all questions of earning a Masters invitation, he still wasn’t as sure he’d qualified when asked after Saturday’s match with Sheffler if he was headed the 120 old kilometres south-west to this week’s Valero Texas Open.
“No, not playing Valero. I will go back to Las Vegas and then go to The Masters, hopefully as it looks very good, starting the Sunday before”, said Power. Unlike all but a couple of events, Power did not earn an automatic Masters invitation into the Masters following last July’s Barbasol Championship triumph as it carried prize money of ‘just’ $3.5m.
In contrast, there will be a good handful of fellow PGA Tour winners in the past 51 weeks who will be making their debut including Sam Burns, Taylor Gooch, Harry Higgs and Tom Hoge, and each capturing $8m events where the winner earns an automatic Augusta tee-time.
Burns, 25, is making his Masters debut having won three times since May last year, including his successful defence of the recent Valspar Championship.Other first-timers will be the Australian duo of Min Woo Lee and Lucas Herbert, each securing their place by ending 2021 inside the top-50 on the rankings.
Power also is amongst presently 16 Masters rookies, though that number could jump to 17 if a non-exempt player should capture the final place into the 2022 Masters by winning this week’s Valero Texas Open.
Power is no stranger to Augusta having walked through the gates twice before but as a ‘patron’. Don’t dare refer to them as spectators.
And Power will be among four Irish contesting the Masters and joining Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry, and Padraig Harrington. Harrington? Yes, Harrington’s share of fourth place alongside Lowry last year at the PGA Championship earned him a 16th Masters invitation but a first since 2015.