by Ronan MacNamara
Seamus Power by Golffile
Seamus Power’s fitness coach Mike Carroll believes it is only a matter of time before the Waterford native breaks into the top-50 of the Official World Golf Rankings.
If Power manages to do so before March 28th, he will book his place at the Masters in Augusta National and can look forward to a slow leisurely cruise down Magnolia Lane in April.
Already guaranteed to make his Major championship bow in May’s PGA Championship after winning the Barbasol Championship last year, Power has elevated his game to a new level and is now a career-high 63rd in the world heading into Thursday’s Sony Open in Hawaii.
Cork native Carroll, who has been coaching Power since March 2020 feels that he has no weaknesses in his game and can enjoy a prolonged period in the upper echelons of golf.
“I think if you look at his trend over the last year or 18 months, it's clearly been going steeply upward,” said the strength and conditioning coach.
“I don't think it was just a case of him getting into a good run of form and getting hot. I think it's clear that he's elevated his game to another standard, which can be seen in the numbers of his statistics really, so yeah, I think I think top 50 is only a matter of time and I think he's going to keep climbing after that too.
“What is apparent from tracking him now and looking into his statistics is that he doesn't really have a weakness so if you can get to a point on the PGA tour where you are positive in the four strokes gained categories off the tee, approach, around the green and putting there’s a really good chance that you're going to be a top player if you can do that and Seamus definitely has the ability which would be huge”
The rise of Power (34) has been well documented, entering 2021 at 429th in the world before slumping even further to 463rd. Having lingered around the corridor of uncertainty in the 126-150 FedEx Cup category, the Las Vegas resident was granted limited starts.
Since his breakthrough win at the Barbasol, Power has earned a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour and is now making a charge towards the top-50, a World Golf Championship debut looms and the prospect of overtaking Shane Lowry to become Ireland’s no.2 golfer is a huge possibility.
Carroll believes that the win over JT Poston in a playoff has allowed Power to let the shackles off and he can now reap the rewards from playing in higher calibre events.
“I think on the 31st of December in 2020 he was about four 430th in the world. I think finishing 2021, he was about 70th or 79th which is obviously just a massive improvement, and I think the fact that he got his win he has two years exemption on tour I think the burden that lifts off their shoulders is just unbelievable.
“Being able to plan your own schedule, not waiting last minute to see if you get in as an alternate to a tournament or flying around the country as a 3rd or 4th alternate and hoping you get in and going to Monday qualifiers and all this stuff.
“The other thing is obviously you need to keep playing well, but once you get into the top 50 in the world and you're in the big money events with big world ranking points, then you have a better opportunity to keep earning big world ranking points and go up even further and stay there.
“So it's really like getting into that top 50. Not that it's easy to stay there, but you give yourself a really good chance of earning a lot of world ranking points and earning a lot of FedEx cup points and money because you're playing in all the big tournaments when you've loads of those opportunities and he's been playing so well you'd be hoping that a couple of them come together,” he added.
Power took seven weeks off before finishing T-15th at the Sentry Tournament of Champions making it five top 21 finishes in seven starts this season and 11 top-25 finishes in his last 15 PGA Tour starts.
The 2016 Olympian can look forward to a string of world-class fields over the next three months. He is scheduled to play in the Genesis, the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players either side of a return home to Waterford.
Carroll reckons the only way is up for the Irishman and he can start contending for big tournaments after saving his career coming through Monday Qualifying and earning top-10 finishes in his limited starts.
“I think the fact that he is now well out of that 126 to 150 FedEx Cup category which gets very limited starts on tour has just changed everything like players who were in that 126 to 150 where Seamus had been for a couple of years, they just get very limited starts.
“So then you are trying to get into the top 125 in the FedEx Cup, but you might only have 8 or 12 or whatever guaranteed starts compared to a guy who was 22 or 23 and it's just really hard to earn more points than those guys when you have basically half the opportunities and that's why some of those top 10s that he had which qualified him into the next weekend, a couple of those Monday qualifiers last year, like Seamus, will tell you himself, that might have saved his career and turned it around because it just gets really hard to get onto the tour when you're in that 126 to 150 status or below.
“If you look at Seamus' scoring average the years that he didn't manage to get inside the top 125 his scoring average was always much better than that, but it was just the fact that he didn't have enough tournaments to play in was really holding him back.
“Now he has the double advantage of he's now playing a lot better, and he's in more tournaments.
“I think everybody in Ireland is hoping that he can continue and keep going. He is a very down to earth guy, there is no real arrogance. I'm sure he's very confident inside. I think a lot of people believe that he can really start contending for big tournaments.
“He has such a solid game and he's just playing so well like he's gone on streaks, I know it was an easy course relative to what they usually play, but he went bogey-free for the last 54 holes in Kapalua I believe and I know he did that in another tournament last year on in a tougher spot when he probably came about 5th or 6th.
“I think Seamus is probably thinking top 50, top 25, top 20, hoping to start contending in majors when he gets in them and I think that's only going to help,” he added.