10 things I like about Peter Senior
Peter Senior’s win at the 2012 Australian Open was remarkable. And it had less to do with the fifty-three year old beating bigger, stronger and younger competitors, or taming a difficult course in horrendous conditions. Nope, what was remarkable to me was his attitude. He was almost apologetic. Definitely humble. But certainly proud of his effort. Here’s 10 things that make Pete a remarkable golfer;
#1: Been a great player for a very long time: Ian Baker-Finch and Wayne Grady commented multiple times throughout the telecast that Senior was a superb junior golfer. When 15 years of age he was competing (and winning) against bigger, stronger and older golfers in under age events. He may be a freak, but it’s certainly unusual for someone to be so good for such a long time. Really good juniors tend to burn out somewhere along the way, but not Senior, he’s still going strong.
#2: Does it his way: His golf swing is unique that’s for sure. You couldn’t teach anyone to swing that way (and why would you?). But Senior also chose to play primarily here in Australasia when he was obviously good enough to take on the USPGA Tour. He walked his own path and this has more than certainly aided his longevity and passion for the game.
#3: Breaks the stereotypical golfer mold: The modern coaching mindset is focused on developing suburb athletes. They’re fit, tall (usually) and strong. But Senior proves that you don’t need to be all these things to be successful. It would make sense to say that a fitter and stronger athlete would be better suited to handle a long and difficult course. Sometimes sport (life) doesn’t make sense.
#4: Strong mentally: It’s always easier to say it after the event, but Peter Senior never looked like losing yesterday. Coming down the stretch he played perfectly – fairways and greens. He never panicked or looked out of control. His mental game is rock solid and gave some of those other guys a lesson.
#5: Never gives up: He shot 75 in round one and nobody would have been surprised if he missed the cut. His next three rounds where within a shot or two of the best scores of the day. Goes to show that one bad round can be just that – a bad day.
#6: A pioneer: Peter Senior has been using the long putter for the best part of 25 years. It’s common now (but not for long) but when he started using it he would have been an outcast. I can only imagine the strange looks and ridicule he would have received. To stick with it would have required plenty of courage. He broke ground so others could try it years later.
#7: Plays the game: I know he has a golf coach and probably tweaks around with his swing. But to me Peter Senior is the ultimate golfer. He chooses a club, dances into the ball and then hits it. There’s nothing complicated or fancy – he plays the game. I wish more younger golfers could take a leaf from this book. I’m not sure on this, but if given the chance to go play golf or hit balls on the range, I’m sure Senior would choose the course.
#8: Plays quickly: There’s absolutely no stuffing around. He gets on with it. Maybe this ability comes with experience but he seems to have been playing like this for years. If only more could do the same. Some of the pros take an agonisingly long time to choose a club and hit the ball – it’s painful.
#9: He has other interests: Golf is not his everything. He certainly likes competing but family and other interests take a priority. With many up and comers being driven hard to practice and play, it seems we can get a bit carried away with this golf thing. There’s more to life than chasing a ball and I’m not sure how many have the right golf-life balance.
#10: Great role model: I’m worried that traditional coaching is going to stop golfers like Peter Senior coming through. Today kids are taught how to eat, train, practice and swing the club. Individuality is discouraged as that ideal model is drummed into them. But Senior has proven (again) that there is no perfect model – that learning to play golf your way is most important. I hope his victory will inspire others to walk their own path and play the game in a way that truly motivates them. Maybe some of the coaches can get on board too?
Good stuff Peter Senior. You’re a bloody champion!