“It’s exciting,” Power said. “I’m going to put the work in and see what happens.”
In his two years on Tour, Power has won $1,437,198, making 34 cuts in 54 events. The way he cemented his return was full of drama. In fact, for a while he figured he’d be heading back to the Web.com Tour to try to earn his way back.
It all came down to the Wyndham Championship, the final event before the FedEx Cup playoffs. The top 125 players on the points list after that tournament would qualify for the playoffs — and retain their playing privileges for the coming season.
Power was on the bubble when he began. When he missed the cut by six strokes, he figured he was out and would have to go back to the Web.com Tour playoffs, the way he got his PGA Tour card back the previous year.
“When I missed the cut, I assumed I was kind of toast,” he said.
As the weekend progressed, Power’s name started hovering around that magical 125th spot. The TV broadcast showed the drama building at the back end of the list.
“Someone messaged me and said ‘Hey, this is going to be really close,’ ” he said. “As soon as I started following it, it looked terrible because everyone I didn’t want to play well was playing well.”
As it turned out, Sergio Garcia helped Power out the most.
When Garcia made the turn on the final day of the Wyndham, he was 125th. Power was in 126th place and the outlook appeared bleak.
Then Garcia made bogeys on three of his next five holes. Suddenly, Power was back in the picture.
Even a couple of birdies coming in couldn’t help Garcia overcome the bogeys. When the smoke cleared, Power was the last man standing even though he hadn’t hit a shot over the weekend.
“It’s crazy,” said Power, who won five college tournaments while playing for ETSU and was the Atlantic Sun Conference champion in 2007 and 2010. “The whole year and it comes down to just one guy and how he plays nine holes. That’s the thing, early in the season, everything counts. It really does. It was a couple of FedEx points here and there. Early in the season if you’re down in 40th position and you think one shot either way wouldn’t matter, it can. Six months later, that one shot can really make a difference.”
Nobody had to feel bad for Garcia. As the 2017 Masters champion, he still has an exemption onto the Tour.
For Power, though, the feeling was relief — and immense satisfaction. Keeping his card and getting to play for the third year in a row, no matter how he did it, was quite an accomplishment.
“It kind of hit me three weeks ago that it’s my third year,” said Power, who represented Ireland in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. “It feels like I just got started. It’s exciting. I have another year of experience and I get another crack at it. I’m looking forward to it.”
Had Power fallen out of the top 125, at worst he would have had conditional status and been able to play in a handful of events. Now, as a full-fledged member, he’ll play a full schedule.
“That’s the advantage of having this full card,” he said “I know even if I get off to a horrible start, I’ve got all season long. You really make your money, most off your points, in two or three weeks. It’s going to be fun.
“It’s a great break that I got. Let’s see if I can take advantage of it.”