Seamus Power is being treated like an overnight sensation, yet those who know him realize he’s been building toward this moment for his entire life.
Power, a former East Tennessee State golfer, will be playing in this week’s Masters. It will be the first major appearance for the two-time Atlantic Sun Conference individual champion who won a total of five tournaments while playing for the Bucs.
After turning pro in 2011, Power had a lot of success on the eGolf Professional Tour before representing Ireland in the 2016 Olympics. In 2017, he went on to become the first Irishman to win on the Web.com Tour.
Fast forward to 2021 and Power’s progression continued. He became a PGA Tour winner when he beat JT Poston in a playoff for the championship at the Barbasol Classic. Because that tournament was going on the same week as the British Open, the win did not carry an automatic invitation to Augusta.
The 35-year-old Power had to earn that by being in the top 50 of the World Golf Rankings, and he clinched the spot by making the quarterfinals at the World Match Play Championships. He finished that week ranked 41st in the world and started packing his bags for Augusta.
Not bad for a guy who was ranked 429th heading into 2021.
Power, who now lives in Las Vegas, recently took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to discuss what making the Masters field means to him and his career.
Q: As you have continued your progression in the world of golf, competing for major championships is an obvious goal. What’s it feel like when you sit down and tell yourself you’re playing at Augusta National this week?
SP“I do not think it’s going to hit me until I get there on Sunday morning.”
Q: How do you think you’ll feel when you pull into the gate and drive down Magnolia Lane?
SP: “I’m sure I’m going to be super excited, but it’s one of those things you’ve thought about for so long. Who knows? It’s going to be very special. “
Q: When you were at ETSU, did you play at the Augusta State tournament and then get to go to a Masters practice round?
SP: “Yeah. I think we went two or three times in college and then I’ve been three other times as well. So I think I’ve been there six times. But I’ve never played it. “
Q: How different do you think it’s going to be when you’re inside the ropes staring down a flag as opposed to watching what’s going on from the gallery?
SP: “I think it’s just going to be incredible. It’s hard to put it into words because it’s a course you’ve visualized yourself playing for so long. You visualized it so many times, you feel like you’ve almost played it. It’s the most beautiful place. It feels so magical, so different than any other golf course I’ve ever played. I can’t wait. “
Q: Even Masters rookies have goals. What are yours as you prepare for your first major?
SP: “I know it sounds crazy, but every tournament I go into the goal is to win. I know the odds are stacked against me and this and that. But I’m preparing this week, trying to picture myself having to hit shots coming down the stretch on Sunday. I’m going to prepare Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday as best as I can and then give it my best.
“Obviously the odds are stacked against me, but I feel like that just golf in general. The odds are always against you, but I’m going to prepare and I’m going to have the mindset that if I do the right things, I’m going to have a chance to win. “
Q: How did your years of playing for Fred Warren at ETSU prepare you for this moment?
SP: “I thought it was the best preparation. Our facility was the top in the country. We played a tough schedule. We had a coach that has seen it all. I was very lucky. When I came in we had Rhys Davies, who was arguably the best college player in the country at the time. We were on a strong team. We went to nationals my first two years.
“There were so many things that helped me become a good player. We had a competitive team and a competitive coach. I think college golf in general is brilliant preparation, but East Tennessee State was amazing for me. I’ve got good memories and I learned so many good things that I still use today on the course. “
Q: I noticed that you recently became a member of the DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour) so you can play enough events and maybe qualify for the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome. How cool is that that you’re even thinking about that kind of stuff now?
SP: “The fact that it even became an option for me is kind of exciting. It’s all kind of happened fast. But yeah, it’s fantastic. Obviously that’s kind of a long ways away, but the fact that I’m even in that sort of conversation is a massive change to where I was a year ago. A lot of work to do and a lot more good results needed, but the fact that it’s even on the radar is kind of a cool. ”
Q: Do you have any good friends among the players on the PGA Tour?
SP: “I’ve known Shane Lowry for a long, long time. Shane’s a great guy. It’s awesome playing a better schedule now. I get to see Shane more and play some practice rounds with him. ”
Q: Any other PGA Tour buddies?
SP: “The Tour is tough for that because some of the guys I was close to last year lost their card and then they’re gone. It’s a different sport for that because there’s no one on your team. It’s you against everyone else. I’ve got a great friend on the bag in Simon (Keelan). ”
Q: What has been the big key in your improvement?
SP: “It’s just been kind of general improvement across the board. The long game has improved. Putting has remained solid. Short game has always been a strength, but it hasn’t been as sharp as I would like this year. So this week has been quite a bit of that.
“And I think the biggest thing, the biggest change I’ve made, is just kind of playing my own game. I spent a long time constantly changing. I was trying to improve but I was in a state of constant change and I was never peaking. I haven’t changed a lot for a year and a half. For the most part I’m just swinging my own swing and just kind of seeing where it’s going to take me. “