Seamus Power admits he always believed he could reach the top level after he claimed his second PGA Tour title in 15 months at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship last Sunday.
A two-time PGA Tour winner, a career-high 32nd in the Official World Golf Ranking an exemption into the Masters for a second successive season and a PGA Tour card exemption until the end of the 2025 season are luxuries that seemed another world away in 2020 when he was relying on invites and Monday Qualifiers.
But Power’s belief never wavered. A contemporary of Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry, it might have taken him a decade of toil to reach the top, but he never doubted himself.
“I honestly did believe it. It sounded funny when I look at it now. Someone sent me a post and I think it was the Monday Q guy, the guy who follows the Monday qualifiers in the U.S. I think he posted 18 months ago I was playing Monday qualifiers making sure I would get some starts,” explained Power whose goal for the season used to be to earn enough PGA Tour starts to count towards his pension.
“But certainly when I was in that moment I didn’t feel like I was that far away, but when I look at it now, obviously it is, like my career has changed considerably since then. We always kind of know that in the game of golf. I always say I generally believed deep down I was good enough to win, so it didn’t seem that far away, but obviously to actually have done it and to have the two wins on paper is still huge. Just have the exemptions and all that, it’s just amazing.
“There wasn’t a point where I didn’t think I could get here, but obviously from the outside it probably did look like that. It’s so nice, it’s a good 18 months of golf and I feel like I’m still on a good track, so hopefully I can keep it up for a bit longer,” added the Waterford native who is in the field in Mayakoba this week.
There have been many vital cogs in Power’s success over the last eighteen months one has been psychologist Dr Bob Rotella and his experienced caddie Simon Keelan.
While he was recovering from surgery on an elbow problem in 2020, Power met with Dr Rotella as he looked to reverse his short game struggles and kickstart his career in the right direction. It turned out to be an inspired decision and one that has helped him continue his consistency culminating in his second PGA Tour title as he emerges as a strong European Ryder Cup contender.
“I think there’s a few things. I remember talking about this at the time, there was a big issue. So throughout 2020 was a tough year for me that like my elbow was a real problem and I needed surgery at the end of that year. Then in 2020 I felt my game was in a good spot, but I wasn’t getting the starts because of like the COVID interference there.
“I made a change in sports psychologists a couple of seasons ago. So all those things kind of put together. And anybody who follows golf, the margins are really small. In any given week you can miss the cut by one and you might be only three shots from being in like the Top 30. So it’s only a shot here and there, so if you can just get a little bit better around the edges. I always say like some of the mental stuff, you can never be a good enough putter so make sure your putting’s always improving. I just found myself on a much better spot on the course.”
Keelan a former PGA Professional at Monkstown Golf Club took Power’s bag at the 2019 Canadian Open having previously manned the bag for Azahara Munoz and Caroline Masson and Power knew almost instantly that the Cork man was a vital piece of the jigsaw.
“I said at the moment I kind of had him caddie in one week, I think it was ’19 during the summer in the Canadian Open, I kind of knew I was onto something.
“You know, I had a really good caddie before, John Rathouz, but having the Irish connection to me has been huge. Just it’s a little bit more easy going. As any Irish person will know, we have a slightly different sense of humour, we’re always kind of making fun of each other to a certain extent. Just having kind of that ease of over and back is very, very good.
“Simon’s and my first season together was 2020 and like Simon’s been a huge addition, I really feel that when I get in contention and stuff. It’s kind of just game changing in those situations.
“Everything’s always great when things are going well, but on those weeks where it’s not there and you’re really trying to grind to make a cut or really trying to hang on towards the end of the tournament but it’s not going well, like he’s massive in those situations. Yeah it’s been a big addition for the last few years now.”