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K Club Diary: Mark Power bags prize catch with veteran caddie Dermot Byrne as caddie for pro debut

Fisherman Siem trying to hook German anglers on Ireland; €40 Ryder Cup caps for sale

Mark Power plays his second shot on the 16th hole as his caddie Dermot Byrne looks on during the pro-am prior to the Horizon Irish Open at The K Club. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

No doubt about it, Mark Power, who is making his professional debut, has landed on his feet in managing to get veteran caddie Dermot Byrne to be his sidekick for whatever unfolds over the next few days at The K Club.

The 23-year-old Kilkenny player, fresh off a second Walker Cup appearance at St Andrews where he finished life as an amateur, will have Byrne – on a week-off from his regular caddying duties with Leona Maguire – on the bag for the €5.6 million purse tournament.

Byrne previously caddied for Shane Lowry before looping for Maguire on the LPGA Tour.

“Dermot has obviously got commitments but he was free this week and has so much experience, it was a great chance to get him on the bag and try and show me the ropes a little,” said Power who has signed with JMC Sports Management (in the same stable as Tom McKibbin) and who got the sponsor’s invitation from Horizon.

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Power has been put into a group along with his former Wake Forest University colleague Alex Fitzpatrick.

“That was a strategic draw, so we will be trying to feed off each other,” admitted Power, who is starting out on this professional journey in the knowledge that Fitzpatrick has made a seamless transition and already secured his full tour card for 2024.

“It definitely is encouraging knowing Alex has done so well. I’ve played alongside him for three, four years [in college] and it’s cool to see how well he’s doing and now I have that opportunity to do something similar,” said Power.

Fisherman Siem trying to hook German anglers on Ireland

The pony-tailed German golfer Marcel Siem certainly stands out from the crowd, his colourful fashion sense only adding to his appeal.

And the five-time European Tour winner – most recently at the Hero Indian Open – has an affinity with Ireland that entails more than simply playing in the Irish Open.

For the 43-year-old is an avid angler in his spare time and has been a regular visitor here for a spot of fly-fishing as well as golfing matters.

Indeed, Siem has been signed up by Tourism Ireland to help promote golfing tourists to the country in a marketing campaign featuring in print publications and on television in his native Germany.

There is also another connection with Ireland which Siem recalls fondly. It was in playing in the Irish Open at Fota Island back in 2002: “I played directly behind Seve Ballesteros, for me one of the guys in golf. It was his last tournament on the European Tour and that is a very special memory for me.”

Number: 40

While the on-site merchandise store in the tented village at The K Club has a wide range of Irish Open apparel, it also has a section selling Ryder Cup items. Among them is a Team Europe cap for €40. Or, if you prefer a woolly hat, that will cost you €32.

Quote

“It’s not like Rory is 22 or 21. He understands. There’s nothing wrong in going out and having some fun with your friends. But I think he’s got wise enough shoulders to know that he won’t go crazy, so no concerns there” – Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald on Rory McIlroy’s plans to attend a friend’s stag in Mykonos in the week before the Ryder Cup.

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times