Tuesday 19 March 2019

Sawgrass offers Power chance to turn his fortunes

Seamus Power. Photo: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
Seamus Power. Photo: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Seamus Power has no shortage of reasons to curse the golfing gods after suffering a nightmare start to his season.

But unlike the big names moaning loudly and bitterly about the new rules, the Waterford favourite makes his debut in the $12.5 million Players Championship at iconic TPC Sawgrass this week with a smile on his face.

Yes, he's missed nine of 11 cuts and gone back to basics after a failed attempt to revolutionise his game under coach Nick Bradley. Life goes on and Power, who turned 32 last week, knows he's just one good week away from hitting the jackpot.

"It's been a pretty s**** couple of months to start the season," Power confessed. "But the advantage of finishing in the top 125 last season means I've lots of opportunities coming up - eight in the next nine weeks.

"What happened with Nick was just one of those things. I was struggling so poorly that it was hard to see light at the end of the tunnel. It didn't work, so you move on.

"All I can say is that the game is coming around finally which is encouraging. It's difficult to transfer it from the driving range to the course, but Sawgrass is a course I like, so we will see."

He might be one of 22 first timers in the star-studded, 144-man field but having watched pals Xander Schauffele and Keith Mitchell put devastating reverses behind them to triumph, he's staying upbeat and patient.

"Yes, it's the biggest event I have ever played, but we played a college tournament at Sawgrass when I was at East Tennessee. I've played the course five or six times at this stage, and I like it," said Power, who will tee it up with Ollie Schniederjans and fellow debutant Abraham Ancer.

"Golf's a funny game. When it's going well, everything seems so easy. And then when it is going poorly, it seems so difficult.

"The key is not to panic. You just have to work through your issues and eventually, it will turn around.

"Even one big week can turn your whole season around, so that's something you always have to keep in the back of your mind."

Ranked 494th in the world and 194th in the FedEx Cup standings, his views on the new rules won't make headlines, unlike those of tour stars like Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler or Keegan Bradley, who have bitterly criticised the USGA and R&A

"I don't understand the backlash at all," Power said. "I don't get why players are criticising the new rules when everyone knew what they were and just had to follow them.

"The Rickie thing with the drop, I don't understand. It's your responsibility to follow the rules. Complaining when you don't remember to do it from knee height, I just don't get."

As for his game, Power knows that things can change rapidly as Honda Classic winner Mitchell showed by putting past disaster behind him.

"Kevin's win the Honda was such a cool story," Power said. "At the final event of the Web.com Tour a few years ago he had a putt for his card and missed it and that sort of thing can be devastating. Funnily enough, the same thing happened to Xander the year before I got my card.

"But now Xander's bounced back to do unbelievable things. It just shows you that there are a lot of ups and downs in golf. You have lots of opportunities, all it takes is one good week."

Irish Independent

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