Seamus Power is the sole Irish interest as the PGA Tour turns to TPC Deere Run in Silvas, Illinois for the John Deere Classic, and the Waterford man is badly in need of a good week as he looks to reignite his push for a Ryder Cup spot as we enter the final eight weeks of preparation for Marco Simone.
Three missed cuts in his last four starts have seen Power go off the boil at precisely the wrong time as they include the PGA Championship and U.S. Open, but a weaker field at the John Deere could be just what the doctor ordered as he looks to send a timely reminder to Luke Donald that he’s worthy of a place on the European side.
By virtue of his success in the early season, Power’s schedule has been top-heavy with majors and designated events but the flipside of this means that any subpar performances are ruthlessly exposed such is the quality of opposition and he’s struggled to reproduce the form that saw him move to the top of the Fed-Ex Cup rankings and go odds on to tee it up in Rome in September.
The good news is that Power is among the featured groups on PGA Tour Live meaning that the man often ignored by the television cameras will be guaranteed screentime when he tees it up alongside Adam Schenk and Adam Hadwin on Thursday at 13:18 Irish time, and then will be part of the main coverage broadcast on Friday when he gets round two underway at 18:43.
Ranked 27th in the Fed-Ex Cup rankings, Power is guaranteed to make the top-70 and top-50 cut offs for the playoff’s Fed-Ex St. Jude Classic and BMW Championships, however, appearing at East Lake is far from certain and he’ll need to finish strongly if he’s to give himself any chance at claiming the $18 million top prize in the Tour Championship.
A win here would lift him to 15th overall and would almost certainly ensure that the current world number 50’s Masters Invitation would arrive in the post in the early stages of 2024.
Other notables in the field include Ludvig Aberg, the recently turned professional Swede who is being widely tipped as one of Power’s main challengers for a wildcard pick in Rome.
“Yeah, I got to play two rounds with Luke [Donald] and Danny [Willett] last week,” Aberg said in his pre-tourney press conference when quizzed about his Ryder Cup ambitions. “It was a lot of fun. It was a little bit nervous, but, Luke, he was a great guy. We talked a little bit at least during the round and got to know him a little bit more.
“If you would have asked me a few weeks ago if Ryder Cup was on my mind, no, absolutely not because I was still in college and I didn’t think about it. But obviously being in that situation a little bit more, as a competitor and as a golfer, Ryder Cup is something you dreamed of since from the first time you saw it as a little kid.
“Obviously, I would have loved it, but it’s also not on my mind all the time. All I can do is try to prepare for every tournament and try to do as good as I can and see where that takes me.
“Sometime in my career I would love to play a Ryder Cup, absolutely.”
Sometime may be sooner rather than later, and Aberg has another chance to impress this week when he tees it up alongside 2022 PGA Tour rookie of the year Cameron Young and Nick Hardy. Similar to Power, Young has gone a little off the boil in recent months after looking a virtual shoe-in to be part of Zach Johnson’s Ryder Cup plans, but with the John Deere typically a birdie fest, Young has all the tools to capture his maiden PGA Tour victory and send Johnson a timely reminder that he’s not to be taken lightly.