"Playing for your country should never be overlooked" - Seamus Power on Olympic golf

The Waterford native tees off on Thursday morning in Rio

"Playing for your country should never be overlooked" - Seamus Power on Olympic golf

Seamus Power Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Padraig Harrington and Seamus Power tee-off on Thursday in Rio de Janeiro hoping for Olympic glory as golf returns to the Olympic Games.

While much of the focus has been on Harrington ahead of the tournament, Power's story is not as widely known. The Waterford native competes in America, and has been based in the country for ten years when he earned a scholarship to East Tennessee State. He has been based in Charlotte, North Carolina since graduating.

Power has competed in recent seasons on the Web.com Tour in America, which earned him a card on the PGA Tour. He begins his career on that Tour later this year.

Speaking to Newstalk Sport's Richie McCormack in Rio ahead of the tournament, Power admitted he has enjoyed working with Harrington. Despite both men representing Ireland, they will be competing individually.

"He's been great. He's here to win as well, so I'm not trying to get in his way too much. I've asked him some questions and he's been very helpful. We have a good laugh most nights."

"We went to weightlifting and table tennis together. We are going to see Joe Ward tonight in the boxing. We're busy all day so the evening events work out well for us."

 

Best looking practice round group you will find! #teamireland #olympicgolf

A photo posted by Séamus Power (@seamyp) on

Power is paired with India's SSP. Chawrasia and Chinese Taipei's Wen-Tang Lin in the opening two rounds. He expects standing on the first tee to be an emotional occasion.

"I haven't played for Ireland in ten years... You're so used to starting tournaments as an individual. With this, you're going to have to really enjoy the moment." 

The 29-year-old is seeing the chance to compete at the Olympic Games as an ideal opportunity to test himself against some of the World's elite ahead of competing on the PGA Tour. 2016 major winners Danny Willett and Henrik Stenson are among the golfers hoping to win gold.

"I think sometimes you forget their normal like everyone else... Seeing them up close will be a good learning curve. When I start [on the PGA Tour] in October you dont want to waste two or three tournaments figuring things out."

The World number 295 is still pinching himself by becoming an Olympian. "I saw Venus Williams a few days ago, just strolling through the Olympic Village... You just forget that there are so many people chasing their own dreams."

Power qualified through the withdrawals of Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell. Despite that, he is still honoured to be competing in Brazil.

"I know guys had to withdraw for me to be here, but I'm cherishing every moment. Playing for your country should never be overlooked. It's something that not happens very often"

Although he has made a name for himself in America, not many Irish fans know a lot about Seamus Power. An Olympic medal would certainly change that.