Different Strokes: Irish team prove key to Power surge

Caddie Keelan and fitness guru Carroll help Waterford golfer’s rise to prominence

Séamus Power has attributed his onwards and upwards trajectory on the PGA Tour to having a strong Irish team around him, including fitness guru Mike Carroll – he of the "Fit for Golf" app aimed at amateurs as well as professionals – and caddie Simon Keelan.

In spite of their divide over which football team they support, Power is a Liverpool fan, Keelan a Man City supporter, the Waterford player and the Cork bagman have proven to be a winning combination.

“I’ve gone through different caddies and I don’t like someone who is too agreeable. Like, if I say eight [iron] , they’ll agree. But Simon’s great for that. He knows the game. He’s been around a long time and he’s very, very good. He’s been a massive addition.

“I remember talking to Shane [Lowry] about it,” continued Power of when he had started working with Keelan. “And he was like, ‘I’d always have an Irish caddie’. I didn’t realise what I was missing . . . he has made a huge difference to me.

“It’s a tough job, caddying. Because they basically have 10 jobs wrapped into one. I’ll always have him checking my set-up, so he’s a part-time coach, part-time motivator, psychologist, everything. I just think it [needs to be] someone you can get along with because you spend 40, 50 hours a week one-on-one for the most parts, so you need to have some sort of matching personality.”

Strike one to the United States.

Zach Johnson – as expected – has been confirmed as the captain for the USA team to defend the Ryder Cup against Europe at Marco Simone in Rome on September 25th to October 1st 2023.

Johnson, who played in five Ryder Cups and served as vice-captain for the past two stagings of the match, was considered the favourite to get the nod with PGA of America president Jim Richerson confirming his appointment: "Zach is the calibre of individual that the PGA of America wants representing the United States and our 28,000-plus PGA professionals on the global stage . . . he checks every conceivable leadership box."

As for the captaincy at Bethpage in 2025 for which Phil Mickelson had been considered favourite for the captaincy? We'll have to wait and see on that one.

Word of Mouth

"Just a poor round. It can happen at any time. I'm not going to dwell on it too much, I just didn't hit quality shots at the right time" –- Daniel Berger on squandering a five-stroke lead at the start of the final round in the Honda Classic, ultimately closing with a 74 for 273 that saw him drop to fifth position, three shots behind Sepp Straka in an eight strokes turnaround. The putter was Berger's biggest issue; in the final round, he was second-to-last in the field in strokes gained putting, averaging -3.807. He made only two putts longer than three feet and nothing longer than seven feet.

By the Numbers: 1+1=2

Miguel Angel Jimenez had not one but two holes-in-one en route to his second Champions Tour victory of the year, in winning the Cologuard Classic in Tucson, Arizona. The 58-year-old Spaniard finished with a 65 for a total of 18-under-par 198, four clear of Woody Austin and Bernhard Langer: "I have 13 aces in tournaments already, but this is the first time I have two in the same tournament. You never think about it. You want to hit a good shot and hit it as close as possible."

On this day: March 1st, 1998

Little could she know what the future would hold in the Australian Ladies Masters, but, for Karrie Webb, her first victory in the tournament proved to be a hugely emotional one. "It's the happiest day of my life," remarked Webb after rounds of 69-69-64-70 for a 16-under-par total of 272 gave her a five-strokes winning margin over Annika Sorenstam and Park Hyun-Soon.

The previous year, Webb had blown a four-stroke lead coming down the stretch to lose out by one shot to Canada's Gail Graham.

Webb ensured there would be no repeat in keeping a safe distance from her closest pursuers in lifting the title for the first time, it also being her first LPGA Tour win on home soil. It would not be the last, and that breakthrough win was the starting for a four-in-a-row of Australian Masters titles in what would prove to be a career haul of eight in total.

Playing before family, friends, her wheelchair-bound coach and an army of fans, Webb's win at Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast was a hugely popular win and left her in tears at the trophy presentation.

Twitter Twaddle

Massive thanks again to everyone for the continued support this week! To the @Challenge_Tour & @Sunshine_Tour, everyone who has tweeted, sent messages, my team, sponsors & my caddie. Thrilled to finish 7th place and even better to be placed 5th in the rankings! One step closer - teenager Tom McKibbin after maintaining his strong start to the Challenge Tour season. The top 20 on the order of merit at the end of the season earn full cards on the DP World Tour.

I met you with Rory at the Irish Open, Pro-Am, aged 14. You've come a long way since then. It's a wonderful time to be a good young golfer. The rewards for hard work and good golf are there. Fine playing in RSA, excellent scoring and continued success – Sky Sports commentator Ewan Murray responding to McKibbin.

Top 20 finish this week. Getting there!! More importantly how about that first -half performance from Cork – John Murphy, who also had a good week in the Jonsson Workwear Open in Durban, keeping a close eye on the Rebel hurlers.

Know the Rules

Q On the putting green, a player address the ball with her club anchored directly against her body. However, during her backswing, the player removes the putter from the anchor point and continues with her stroke with the club no longer attached. What is the ruling?

A There is no penalty. The prohibition against anchoring in Rule 10.1b only applies while the player is making the stroke (i.e. the forward movement of the club made with the intentional striking at and moving the ball).

In the Bag

Sepp Straka - Honda Classic

Driver - TaylorMade Stealth Plus (9 degrees)

3-wood - TaylorMade Stealth Plus (15 degrees)

Hybrid - Callaway Apex UW (19 degrees)

Irons - Srixon ZX7 (4-9)

Wedges - Cleveland RTX ZipCore (46, 52, 56 and 60 degrees)

Putter - Odyssey Stroke Lab Tuttle

Ball - Srixon Z-Star Diamond