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“I’d probably say to myself why did you take so long” – Séamus Power carries out Master’s plan

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When Tiger Woods won the 2019 Masters, Séamus Power was ranked outside the world top 400 and struggling for his touring life after missing five of his first seven cuts that year.

Tomorrow he will cruise down Magnolia Lane in silence with the windows down, soaking it all up as world No. 41 and daydreaming about what it would be like to play at the line with the greatest player of his generation wearing a green jacket.

He will have about 15 friends and family at the site next week, more than half of them from the small community of Tooraneena (Brother Willie becomes a caddy on the par-3) as he attempts to become the first debutant since Fuzzy Zoeller to do the wins champion.

Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry carry the highest Irish hopes back with Pádraig Harrington at the age of 50 to try to do what the absent Phil Mickelson did at the PGA Championship last year and win a major as a senior.

Few believe the 35-year-old Power can do what Zach Johnson did in 2007 and win the Masters from outside the top 40 in the world with just one PGA Tour win on his resume.

But Power isn’t ready to give up just yet, having defeated the likes of then-world No. 4 Patrick Cantlay and Ryder Cup star Tyrrell Hatton before clinching in the quarter-finals of the WGC Dell Technologies match only against new World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler last week, he dares to dream. “I’ve always found my game to go well together,” he said of Augusta, where he’s been a fan six times. “I have always loved to putt on fast greens. I’ve always putted well on sloping greens. I have a good short game and I hit it long enough to be okay and I can frame it both ways if I have to.

“Well I don’t know. Obviously it will wait and see but I’ve never played a Major and I’ve never played Augusta so some things will fall into place on their own but my inner confidence is high and I’m definitely not going there just for one of the 91 boys to make.”

On his eighth attempt at completing the career grand slam, McIlroy will be grateful if Woods captures all the limelight, recovers from leg injuries sustained in a car accident 14 months ago, and earns a sixth green jacket and 16th place in the championship. Aiming for a Major win.

But while he says playing with Woods at the weekend would be the toughest task imaginable, Power knows it’s no longer a childhood dream.

“It would be cool, yeah,” he said from his Las Vegas base this week as he finalized his preparations, which included a call to mental coach Dr. Bob Rotella owned. “Mentally, I would say.”

Mastering the Masters is the ultimate mental test, but Power, who has one win, eight top 10 finishes and another seven top 25 finishes to his tally since last year’s Masters, now knows he’s up against the best the eye can record and face them in the game.

“One of the coolest things I haven’t realized is that after winning last year and with my improved draw, I get to play with better and better players in every tournament,” he explained. “I played with Tyrrell Hatton for a couple of weeks last week. I played with Dustin (Johnson) weeks before. When you play alongside them, it kind of makes them human. Sometimes you see these guys and like he’s world number 1 and you think he’ll never take a bad shot but then when you play with them they’re like the rest of us and they make mistakes just like the rest of us.

“They recover better and don’t make as many mistakes. But they’re still golfers and that’s helped me a lot and helped me see that I belong.

“I’ve been touring long enough to know, and seen enough people come and go to know the gaps aren’t that big. So it’s just a matter of bringing it together.”

No Irish managed to win, although Rory McIlroy (twice), Pádraig Harrington and Darren Clarke all featured on Sunday.

“Obviously it’s a big challenge to go in there, no Irishman has ever won it, but I’ve never gone into a tournament that didn’t plan to at least have a chance of winning on Sunday,” the man testified West Waterford. “I know it’s a major; I know it’s Augusta; that will not change next week.”

No one can ever write off Harrington while Lowry and McIlroy are obvious contenders for victory.

“There’s something so iconic about the Masters, it’s huge,” he said of what an Irish win would mean. “I’ve played with Shane a few times in the last month and he’s playing nice golf, some very good finishes on difficult courses in strong fields.

“Pádraig has won majors before and you will never rule him out with his short game. And obviously, Rory, someone sent me the stats; he has six top 10 finishes in the last 10 or 11 years. It’s a strong contingent.

“For Irish golf I think it would be incredible to see an Irishman put on that green jacket on a Sunday night, that would be special I’m sure and would give junior golf in Ireland and golf in general a terrible boost to lend. All four of us hope we can make it.

“The odds are against me. But this is golf. Every week you show up, the odds are against you. My game is in good shape. It’s not the biggest field. Just 91 guys, probably 80 of which are competitive. It’s one of those things, hitting fewer people than normal that helps.

“A lot of people have local knowledge so this part is going to be an uphill battle. If I can prepare well and I’m in good shape next Thursday morning, my goal is to feel good about Sunday.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen from there. A lot of things have to be right for me to get to this point. That’s the goal every week. It’s not going to change going into a major.”

He estimates he has attended the Masters six times as a spectator but this time will be different as around 15 Irish friends will be attending.

“He’d probably be like, ‘Why did you take so long,'” he said when asked what his teenage self would say now that he’s finally made it to the Masters field. “It’s difficult to get there and the spots are hard to come by. But I’m just excited to be a part of it next week. And hopefully it won’t be my last or something.

“It’s just something I’m going to enjoy and no matter what I’m going to take a lot from it and I’m really going to enjoy the week with a bunch of friends and family – eight from my community of Tooraneena, five from Dungarvan, a good pal from Cork . I have friends from all times of my life.”

https://www.independent.ie/sport/golf/id-probably-say-to-myself-what-took-you-so-long-seamus-power-realises-masters-plan-41513005.html “I’d probably say to myself why did you take so long” – Séamus Power carries out Master’s plan

Fry Electronics Team

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