Power's lofty ambitions make LIV Golf a no-go zone

Power’s lofty ambitions make LIV Golf a no-go zone

LIV Golf continues to doggedly pursue the brightest stars in golf’s firmament, but the lure of Ryder Cup action and the charms of creating more major and PGA Tour memories mean Seamus Power won’t be joining the growing cohort of players on the rebel circuit.

Power’s own star is very much in the ascendancy. Having been eclipsed by his Irish contemporaries Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry earlier in his career, the Waterford man has enjoyed a stratospheric rise up the rankings in the last two seasons.

Having begun 2021 ranked 393 in the world, the 35-year-old has forged a path to 29 in the world rankings.

Power continued his Bermuda love affair with victory in the Butterfield Bermuda Championship at the end of October, with his only previous win on the PGA Tour also coming on the archipelago.

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A debut season in the majors yielded a tie for ninth at the PGA Championship, a share of 12th at the US Open and a tie for 27th at the Masters, with his only disappointing display coming in a missed cut at the Open.

Hardly surprising then that LIV has made advances towards Power, even if they have been attempted.

“I haven’t had much interaction,” Power told RTÉ Sport’s Greg Allen. “I know my manager had some contact with them earlier in the year, but it’s not for me.

“I don’t know where it’s going to end up or what’s going to happen.

“My first year playing the majors, they’re memories that I can’t even put into words how special they were to me”

“I’m very lucky. I’ve really enjoyed my time on the PGA Tour. There are things I want to do in golf that I don’t know if you’re going to be able to do, the big one being the RyderCup

“I don’t know if I’ll ever make a Ryder Cup – I obviously hope to and plan on it – it’s a huge goal. But to even take away the possibility of playing in the Ryder Cup would be a lot for me to swallow.

“I don’t know where it’s going to end up, there are so many unknowns.

“My first year playing the majors, they’re memories that I can’t even put into words how special they were to me.

“There was no way I was willing to jeopardize that.

“I know there is huge money in the LIV thing, and that’s great. I’m happy for all those guys. I don’t have any negative feelings towards them, but there’s huge money on the PGA Tour as well.

“I’ve been very fortunate with that and I really enjoy the way we’re treated. It’s been nothing but positive for me and I love what I’m doing right now.”

Power is often contrasted to McIlroy and Lowry in terms of career progression, but the East Tennessee State alumnus believes it’s the atypical career arc of both those players that has led him to be viewed as a very late bloomer.

“Mine is probably closer to the norm in golf than those guys,” Power, who spent a number of years on mini-tours and the second-tier Korn Ferry Tour, opined.

“Rory’s is the extreme. From turning pro at 17 or 18, it’s just been an incredible career the whole time.

“And Shane, winning the Irish Open as an amateur, he also already had an incredible career.

“Every event he wins, it seems to be a massive event. Those moments don’t ever seem to be too big for him.”

Power himself has become particularly adroit at keeping his cool at critical moments in recent seasons.

Simon Keelan has been Seamus Power’s caddy since 2019

Reflecting on that recent win after a break in Bermuda that guarantees his place in the 2023 PGA Tour opener at the Sentry Tournament in Hawaii, he said: “The moment of winning is amazing because it’s so hard in golf. The doors it opens for you and what it means for your career is just something else.

“It makes it so exciting going forward. I’ll be going to Maui. Playing that tournament last year was such a cool experience, knowing that there are only 38 or 39 guys. Little things like that.

“It was a good year, but it was interesting because I did particularly well early and then faded a little bit in the summer.

“So I think the break was massive for me. I just kind of rebooted and got energy and passion back for it.

“I had good fall events last year and obviously even better this year. It’s fantastic. I’m going to play again next week but I’m obviously absolutely over the moon.

“The Ryder Cup is a ways away yet, but getting that win early and getting on the radar for something like that, locking up my exemption, locking up the top-50 in the world at the end of the year, it’s been massive. “

One of the most satisfying aspects of Power’s Bermuda triumph was his ability to follow the form lines and execute as the highest-ranked player in the field.

“It was a completely new experience for me,” he admitted. “I didn’t realize I was the highest ranked player until an interview on the Tuesday or Wednesday with the Tour, and somebody said that to me.

“It was definitely a different sort of pressure, but it was one I was very comfortable with.

“This was my fifth time going to Bermuda. It’s one of my favorite places. I’ve made some really good Irish friends there, which has been amazing. I got to see them and I’ve always liked the place.”

He carried the momentum with him south to Mexico last week for the WWT Championship at Mayakoba, eventually finishing five shots behind Russell Henley in a share of third.

“I think I played better than I did in Bermuda, I just wasn’t quite as sharp on the greens,” Power surmised.

“I haven’t made many dramatic changes”

Power’s driving off the tee has become far more consistent in recent seasons, but much of his improvement has come not in mechanics, but between the ears.

The influence of sports psychologist Bob Rotella has fostered a stripped back, simpler, flow-based attitude to the game, augmented by the watchful eye and sage advice of caddie Simon Keelan.

Despite how it sounds, and as former tinkerer Power has discovered, it can take great discipline to do very little.

“I haven’t made many dramatic changes,” he said.

“I’m doing some work with Bob Rotella, which just simplifies things. Anyone who has ever worked with him or read his books, it’s almost frustratingly simple.

“That’s how I usually describe it because it’s not rocket science, but it’s hard to put into play the simplicity of it.

“It really is amazing. In Bermuda, I just felt so comfortable under pressure. That’s been huge.

“The addition of Simon on the bag has been massive.

“But more than anything, I just kind of figured out my own game.

“I just felt I’d been in a constant state of change, trying to improve this and work on that.

“I was always doing something, but I really haven’t done much in terms of technique changes for a couple of years now. It’s just working for me.”

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