After another major championship near-miss Rory McIlroy is back in the saddle at the Travelers Championship this week and is joined by compatriot Seamus Power who continued his remarkable rise at last week’s US Open Championship which was won in thrilling fashion by Matt Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick broke into the top-10 in the OWGR for the first time while Power moved up to 36th and Rory returned to world number 2 for the first time in two years.
This tournament has provided some high drama in recent years, from Jordan Spieth’s incredible hole-out bunker shot against Daniel Berger and him pulling out of the chest bump with Michael Greller to Harris English’s marathon eight hole playoff victory over Kramer Hickock.
McIlroy is making his fourth start at the Travelers Championship while it also his fourth start in as many weeks as he ramps up his Open Championship preparations.
The four-time major champion will make his last competitive appearance this week before teeing it up in the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor. From there he will spend a week fine tuning his game for links golf rather than play the Scottish Open at the Renaissance Club where he has missed the cut on both of his last visits.
The Holywood native is happy to be back at TPC River Highlands but admits he is starting to feel the effects of such a busy stretch of golf, that has included a win at the Canadian Open and becoming the unofficial official spokesperson for the PGA Tour in the heat of the LIV Golf controversy.
“It’s always been a very fan-friendly event here,” said McIlroy. “It’s really, it’s a great event, it’s supported by the community, we’ve got a great sponsor in Travelers and it’s fun. You look at the last few weeks on TOUR, Memorial, Canada, obviously U.S. Open’s a major, but the last three regular stops on the TOUR they’re great events, so well supported, great atmosphere to play in front of and great fans. So it’s been a fun run for everyone.
“This is my fourth week in a row, I can definitely feel a little bit of fatigue setting in. I got a night in my own bed down in Florida on Monday night, which was really nice. But, yeah, I came back up here yesterday and played the pro-am today and going to get an early night tonight. I’ve got an early start again tomorrow. But excited to get going and especially continuing the run of form I’m on. I’m playing some really good golf and I want to continue trying to do that.
“I must say after the board meeting yesterday my head hit the pillow and I was out. So mental fatigue yesterday after sitting through a five-hour board meeting and trying to get through some of these issues.
“But I think the three weeks that I’ve played, like Memorial’s a very demanding golf course. Canada wasn’t so demanding but when you get yourself in contention and you play a weekend like that, then that takes quite a lot out of you. And then you follow that up with a U.S. Open. So I think it’s a combination of everything. Mentally I’m totally fine, but I’m, you know, it will be nice to sort of rest up this afternoon and get another good night’s sleep and get ready to play tomorrow. But four weeks in a row is pretty rare for me these days. I haven’t played four in a row in a while and you start to remember why,” he laughed.
The 21-time PGA Tour winner has been grouped with Kevin Kisner and Webb Simpson in one of the featured groups.
When Seamus Power teed it up in this event last year, he was ranked 327th in the world before a share of 19th saw him break into the top-300 in the rankings.
Since then he has registered nine top-10s, a victory at the Barbasol Championship, has made the cut in his first three major championship starts including a top-10 at the PGA Championship. He has become one of the most consistent playes in the world.
Power is ranked 12th in Official World Golf Ranking points earned in the majors this year and is seventh in total strokes gained in the first three majors, which is no mean feat considering he only made his major debut in April.
Another win doesn’t seem too far away and the Waterford native is trending beautifully ahead of his second Irish Open appearance at Mount Juliet next week.
The Tooraneena man has been handed an interesting group, Adam Long and Rickie Fowler who has assumed the role of journeyman rather than dazzling superstar over the last few years as his career continues to peter out.
The summer of 2021 was undoubtedly the summer of Seamus and while many might have assumed that this would be a flash in the pan, moment in the sun thing, it has been anything but. The 34-year-old has made 22 starts this season and has finished in the top-20 in half of those.