By Fatiha Betscher, Yas Links, Abu Dhabi.
Seamus Power is quickly turning into a second Padraig Harrington, delighting those journalists primarily reporting on the DP World Tour with the ease of copy he is generating.
Harrington has long been liked for his ‘fireside chats’ with the attending media, and formal transcripts of his comments regularly run into pages. There was even an occasion at the British Masters at The Belfry when Harrington was interviewed by the media post his round and one question asked was what happened in taking a double-bogey at one hole that Harrington described in close to 500 words.
That’s Harrington’s great quality.
More often than not, an average Harrington interview runs into a few thousand words, and that’s how Power is being received in finding his way to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship media centre.
The Las Vegas-based Irish golfer has always been very approachable and giving of his time, and now journalists here this week from Scotland, Wales, England, India and the UAE are also warming to Power’s engaging manner.
So much so, the official transcript of Power’s interview was around 2,500 words and that easily puts him well up there with Harrington.
Power, looking comfortable and relaxed behind the Yas Links microphone, was asked a variety of questions and addressed each one in the manner that he has done for so many years when approached by his fellow Irish-born golf writers.
Here is a selection of some of the questions Power answered:
Qn: What are your thoughts on being here at Yas Island?
SEAMUS POWER: If it’s not the best conditioned course I’ve ever seen it’s definitely close. Beautiful setting. My first time on Yas Island. I didn’t realise what I was coming to. It’s gorgeous. That whole setup is top-notch. It’s been great.
Qn: You spend most of your time over in the States, but how nice to spend time with guys you don’t normally see?
SEAMUS POWER: Yeah, it’s amazing. That’s one of the things I was looking forward to the most. I would have known the names of the guys on the team last week but not actually the person, so that part was fantastic. You know, playing international and all that stuff years ago, was great fun in the team room. To get over here for two weeks and get to know some of those guys and obviously play, it’s been a dream couple of weeks.
Qn: You played one Rolex Series Event before back in Ireland but how nice has it been to be playing here in the Middle East?
SEAMUS POWER: For me it’s absolutely amazing. Yeah, I played the Rolex, yeah, not many at all. So it’s a new experience for me playing a little on both. Everything this week has been top-notch, so absolutely delighted to be here.
Qn: What did you take away from last week’s Hero Cup and in thinking what you’ve got to do to be in Rome in September?
SEAMUS POWER: I took a lot from it. One is you don’t play a lot of match play and stuff anymore, so getting reminded of the difference is the biggest to me. You realise looking back on the matches, we didn’t play as well as we wanted but there’s one or two massive moments in match play that can change the whole match.
In stroke play, you have the ability to kind of turn it around more. You’ve obviously got more time. In match play, you lose the tee box or lose momentum and things can change very, very quickly. It was just a reminder of that.
Again, from playing mostly in the US, you get things tilted that way when you’re in the US and you think, you know, you just hear about how many good players are in the US, like all of a sudden last week I played against guys that were fantastic players and you see the depth of talent. When you talk about Rory, Jon, Viktor, and Fitz not being there; it was amazing to see. I played with Nicolai on Sunday, an amazing player, a huge, talented player. Bob MacIntyre in fourball was a joy to play with, so easy going, lovely player.
So, I think those things were my biggest takeaways. I know I have to work hard and play very well this week if I want a chance to be in Rome.
Q. What is your thoughts and with the start from this year of the DP World Tour and the PGA TOUR, the 13-year alliance comes into affect and the top 10 players who are not exempt from the DP World Tour get membership on to the PGA TOUR?
SEAMUS POWER: For me, if you’re a top player, which to get one of those ten spots, you’re going to be an incredibly good player, I think you’ve earned a right to be able to play in tournaments that you want to play in. So I think for that, I think it’s going to be fantastic.
You know, I assume guys are going to take it up. I don’t know, I think that’s the good thing about it, it’s not, you have to do this. It’s like you have the opportunity if you want to and stuff.
As I said, the players I’ve seen, they are going to be world beaters no matter what tour they are going to play on. So I think it’s great. This strategic alliance, it kind of makes sense I think. But definitely no jealousy or anything. I think we all have our own journeys in life and in golf, and for some of those guys, that’s going to be theirs. They are going to win some tournaments here and they are going to earn their guard and you’re going to see them turning into these worldwide players, the likes of Tommy and Shane these guys are.
I think that’s going to be the evolution of the way golf is going with guys playing all around the world. I think it will only be good for golf.
Q. Shane Lowry made some comments yesterday about the prize money situation; do you still pinch yourself?
SEAMUS POWER: Yeah, you do. It’s crazy now. My caddie and I were talking about this only a couple of days ago. Some of the figures going around, it’s just astronomical some of these prize funds and stuff.
I’m one of those people that I love playing the game of golf. The fact that the prize money has gone up is great, but that’s never why I was in it. But it is amazing. Hopefully it leads to good things across the board obviously.
That’s always the worry when you see this, like huge, dramatic spike, I know the word Shane used was sustainability. That’s when you trust the guys in charge. Obviously over here, you have Keith and Guy and the PGA TOUR you’ve got Jay in charge, and they are much smarter guys than me, and obviously they know what they are doing.
But yeah, the strategic alliance seems like a great thing, the 13-year plan with a guarantee. Being able to guarantee things like increased prize funds every year is an amazing thing. Like that’s a fantastic thing.
Yeah, anyone playing at the moment, I feel like guys are — what age am I, 35? Guys late 40s and more must be looking at it and want to punch the lot of us. Just with the explosion of the money it seems like in the last few years, I’m looking at my own schedule and seeing purses, starting this week and going all the way through, I think my schedule is made through April, and looking at the average purse, just it doesn’t even make sense.
But obviously we are very fortunate. But you know, you look at the generations before us, and I think they are always — Palmer and Nicklaus, were always the ones that our goal shouldn’t be to make money. Our goal should be to leave the game in a better place than where we found it. I think that’s something that as a player I hope doesn’t get lost in all these huge numbers and stuff. I think that’s going to be the battle going forward is to make sure that we hold up our end of the bargain.
We have been very fortunate. Anyone who has been around golf, Tiger Woods is one of the key people that’s led us to this point in the huge explosion in money. It’s going to be up to us obviously without Tiger playing as much; can we leave the game in a better spot nor guys that are probably ten years old right now, in 15 years’ time, where is the game of golf to go to be and hopefully it’s going to be in a better place.
Q. Looking back at the Ryder Cup in the last ten, 15 years, there has been a lot of stars on European side. Could you name the one, the players that impress you the most?
SEAMUS POWER: I am impressed the most, as I say, we’ve been so fortunate. We from Ireland, I never forget Paul McGinley’s putt at The Belfry. That’s one that hit home. I’ll never forget that moment, see Sam Torrance on the side of the green crying and that.
Without any questions @IanJamesPoulter best player in the world for last decade during @RyderCupEurope said Seamus Power during press conference when @TOURMISS asked him question @ADGolfChamps pic.twitter.com/rY8R4Tmyho
— Golf & Science News (@TOURMISS) January 18, 2023
So many of those guys: Ian Poulter, I remember in France and he was going out. I remember watching, I can’t remember what he was doing but he was playing Dustin Johnson. And in my mind, there was just no way Ian Poulter was going to lose to Dustin Johnson. I don’t know what their World Rankings were at the time, but I always thought that was amazing. I don’t know what guys in the team room thought, I obviously wasn’t there. But as an on looker, there’s no way Ian Poulter is losing this game.
So a guy like that, you saw him, he turned around Ryder Cups and stuff. That Paul McGinley moment was an incredible one. Obviously Medinah in ’12, you could list off 10 of the guys.
But I think Ian Poulter for me was the one that was just remarkable. He just turned into the best player in the world on those Ryder Cup weeks. Obviously he had an incredible career and won a lot anyway. But on those weeks, you just couldn’t see him losing, and it was just amazing that someone could seem rise so much in some of these moments. Some of the fist-pumps, some of the looks on his face. I remember his face, I can just picture, I can’t remember what years, but I think he would be the guy that was just any Ryder Cupper would have to look up to.