Seamus Power may be far from a household name but the Irishman joining Padraig Harrington for Olympic Golf looks set to join him on the PGA Tour too in 2017
With Rory McIlory declining the opportunity to represent Ireland in the Olympic golf event along with Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry (the two Northern Irishman having been given to choice to represent either Great Britain or Ireland), the baton for Irish Golf is now being carried by veteran three-time Major winner, Padraig Harrington… and Seamus Power.
The immediate reaction of many not well versed in Irish golf beyond the superstars has been Seamus Who? – perhaps understandable given that he has plied his trade in the States since turning pro.
Power is a 29-year-old Waterford native who joined West Waterford Golf Club at the age of 12, rising rapidly through the junior ranks and helping the club win three All Ireland junior foursomes titles.
His golfing prowess took him to East Tennessee State University, where he won five times, including the prestigious Atlantic Sun Conference Championship twice.
After graduating, Power turned pro in 2011 and tried his luck on the mini-tours in the States, winning twice on the eGolf Professional Tour, before qualifying for the Web.com Tour for the 2015 season. In his first full season there he finished 67th on the money list, with a best finish of T9th in August’s Digital Ally Open.
This year has gone somewhat better, hence Power now finding himself, somewhat unexpectedly, as an Irish golfing Olympian. After a slow start, Power won the United Leasing and Finance Championship in early May becoming the first ever Irishman to record a victory on the Web.com Tour.
Finishes of 7th, 9th and 11th in consecutive events in June consolidated his position in the rankings, and coming into Rio, he stands 9th on the Money List, in prime position to win promotion to the PGA Tour next season as one of the Top 25 on the Web.com Tour.
Power is heading into the Olympics ranked 295th in the world (higher than European Tour Olympians Matteo Manassero and Roope Kakko). He will almost certainly come out of them far better known to golf fans outside his native Ireland as he looks ahead to a near-certain rookie season on the PGA Tour in 2017, given that last year the 25th-placed man (Harold Varner III) earned $161,102 and Power already has $192,881 in the bank!