Seamus Power hitting his stride at age 35
4 Min Read
Irishman will enter 2023 as FedExCup leader after earning second win
Written by Sean Martin @PGATOURSMartin
Seamus Power's winning highlights from Butterfield Bermuda | 2022
When Padraig Harrington competed in the 2016 Olympics, the three-time major winner was quickly impressed with the Korn Ferry Tour player who was his teammate on the Irish squad. Harrington saw plenty of potential in the powerful, 6-foot-3 frame of his countryman, and made it his mission to clearly convey that message during their time in Brazil.
“I remember at the time looking at a few players and pointing them out and saying, ‘This is a player who is top-20 or top-10 in the world and you are far better than him. He just thinks he is and you don’t,’” Harrington recalled recently. “I don’t know if that had any influence, but I just wanted him to believe in himself. The more you believe you belong, the more you belong.”
Seamus Power does, indeed, belong.
After a successful fall season that included his second PGA TOUR victory, Power will begin 2023 atop the FedExCup standings and likely in the top 30 of the world ranking. A former teammate of Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry on Irish amateur squads, Power now is in the conversation to join them at next year’s Ryder Cup.
Power, 35, finished in the top five in his final three PGA TOUR starts of 2022, including a win at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship. He is a bit of an outlier in an age when twentysomethings lighting up their launch monitors is fodder for engagements on social media. Power’s steady progression is a testament to perseverance, and he credits his success to learning his limits instead of swinging for the fences.
He missed at Q-School in his first four attempts, spending multiple years on the mini-tours before advancing to the Korn Ferry Tour for the first time in 2015. He earned his first PGA TOUR card after two years on the Korn Ferry Tour, but failed to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs in three of his first four seasons.
Self-belief kept him from quitting, with Harrington’s words serving to solidify his confidence.
“I've always felt like this is in there,” Power said. “That's why we play, that's why you're out here.”
As recently as the spring of 2021, he was competing in Korn Ferry Tour events and ranked outside the top 400 in the world. He won his first PGA TOUR title, the Barbasol Championship, that summer. By the beginning of this year, he’d cracked the top 50 in the world ranking.
Power, who hadn’t competed in a major championship until this year, finished in the top 30 in three of them, including a T9 at the PGA Championship and T12 at the U.S. Open. What’s the secret to this recent success? There isn’t one dramatic change to ascribe his improvement to.
“You see young guys that can do cooler stuff like hitting it longer and all this kind of stuff,” Power said, “but I just figured out what I can do and what I can't do and I try to stick to that as best I can.”
His success has coincided with his decision to serve as his own swing coach. Having graduated ETSU in 2010 with an accounting degree, Power is analytical by nature but appreciates that there’s a subjective side to the game, as well.
“I found myself kind of chasing my tail for a long time,” he said. “If I had a bad round, I was … out there trying to look for a fix.
“Staying in your lane and figuring out, what works and what doesn't, and just kind of sticking to that through thick and thin has been really one of the keys for me.”
Power has a methodical backswing, the club never veering off-plane as it travels just short of parallel. It accelerates evenly on the downswing, a slight recoil at the end the only show of strain. Power ranks in the middle of the TOUR in driving distance, though he likely has more speed at his beckon.
He also has an adept touch for a big man, twice ranking in the top 10 of Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green. The same hand-eye coordination that made him an accomplished racquetball player as a boy serves him well in his short game.
He’s a gentle giant, one whom fellow TOUR player Joel Dahmen, who met Power in college, calls “super happy.” It’s a disposition that undoubtedly served him well during the decade as a pro that preceded his PGA TOUR success.
“He’s progressed in a very nice manner,” said Harrington. “It’s nearly a better way to do it, to have a nice slow progression.”
Sean Martin manages PGATOUR.COM’s staff of writers as the Lead, Editorial. He covered all levels of competitive golf at Golfweek Magazine for seven years, including tournaments on four continents, before coming to the PGA TOUR in 2013. Follow Sean Martin on Twitter.