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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Brian Keogh

‘He turned into the best player in the world on Ryder Cup weeks’ – Seamus Power hoping to emulate Ian Poulter

Seamus Power is targeting qualification to the 2023 Ryder Cup.

SEAMUS POWER sees Ian Poulter as his role model as a Ryder Cup player as he bids to make Luke Donald's team to take on the Americans in Rome in September.

The West Waterford star (35) got his first taste of team matchplay action since his amateur days in last week's Hero Cup.

The Toornaneena man is considered a hot favourite to qualify for Rome and he admits Poulter, who said yesterday he would consider not competing in the Ryder Cup if he qualified due to the LIV Golf controversy, would be the kind of player he dreams of emulating.

"We've been so fortunate," Power said of this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship where he will be looking for a big performance to boost his chances of qualifying.

“Being from Ireland, I will never forget Paul McGinley's putt at The Belfry. That's one that hit home. I'll never forget that moment, seeing Sam Torrance on the side of the green crying and that.

"So many of those guys: Ian Poulter, I remember in France and he was going out. I remember watching, I can't remember what he was doing but he was playing Dustin Johnson.

"And in my mind, there was just no way Ian Poulter was going to lose to Dustin Johnson. I don't know what their World Rankings were at the time, but I always thought that was amazing. I don't know what guys in the team room thought, I obviously wasn't there.

"But as an onlooker, there's no way Ian Poulter is losing this game.

"So a guy like that, you saw him, he turned around Ryder Cups and stuff. That Paul McGinley moment was an incredible one. Obviously Medinah in '12, you could list off 10 of the guys.

"But I think Ian Poulter for me was the one that was just remarkable. He just turned into the best player in the world on those Ryder Cup weeks. "Obviously he had an incredible career and won a lot anyway. But on those weeks, you just couldn't see him losing, and it was just amazing that someone could seem rise so much in some of these moments.

"Some of the fist-pumps, some of the looks on his face. I remember his face, I can just picture, I can't remember what years, but I think he would be the guy that was just any Ryder Cupper would have to look up to."

Power won one point from four in the Hero Cup but impressed in winning his opening four balls with Robert MacIntyre before following two foursomes defeats with a 1 up loss to Nicolai Højgaard in a tight singles on Sunday.

"I took a lot from it," said Power, who got to know players he only knew from TV. “One is you don't play a lot of match play and stuff anymore, so getting reminded of the difference is the biggest to me.

"You realise looking back on the matches, we didn't play as well as we wanted but there's one or two massive moments in match play that can change the whole match.

"In stroke play, you have the ability to kind of turn it around more. You've obviously got more time. In match play, you lose the tee box or lose momentum and things can change very, very quickly. It was just a reminder of that.

"Again, from playing mostly in the US, you get things tilted that way when you're in the US and you think, you know, you just hear about how many good players are in the US, like all of a sudden last week I played against guys that were fantastic players and you see the depth of talent.

"When you talk about Rory, Jon, Viktor, and Fitz not being there; it was amazing to see. I played with Nicolai on Sunday, amazing player, huge, talented player. Bob MacIntyre in fourball was a joy to play with, so easygoing, lovely player."

Power is joined in Abu Dhabi by Shane Lowry, Padraig Harrington and Challenge Tour graduate Tom McKibbin looking to take advantage of a links-style course that reminds him of Doonbeg.

Meanwhile, worker number 11 Leona Maguire kicks of her season at her US base Lake Nona when she makes her debut in the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions.

"Yeah, excited to be here, obviously," the Co Cavan star said. "This is my home course, so nice to be here. I was here last year just practicing, so that was a goal last year, to be back here for the tournament this year.

"Yeah, excited to get going. It feels like it's been a very short off-season. Doesn't feel like that long ago since we were at CME. Got some good work done when I was home, and yeah, ready to go."

She added: "Obviously it's a lot earlier than I'd start the season, and then we have a few weeks off after this, so I guess this is a mini-warmup for the rest of the season.

“Obviously it would be really nice to play well here. But get back into the swing of things, get the competitive juices flowing again, and ultimately give myself as best a chance as possible."

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