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!

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10 Comments

  • Andrew

    Reply Reply December 10, 2012

    It was great to watch Peter Senior yesterday he never seemed to get flustered when he missed greens he just chipped it close and knocked the puts in. You could see other world class players getting annoyed by the wind, but Peter Senior seemed to have gone out there with the thought that he wasn’t going to let it affect him.

    There is a similar 45 year old on the Asian Tour who keeps winning,Thaworn Wiratchant

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=k83QMw4TCto

    He has done this so effectively with arguably the most unorthodox looking swing out there on tour. Thaworn’s full swing has been described as having more “planes” than Thai Airways. So his swing is not aesthetically what most swing coaches teach but it produces a predictable ball flight and it’s repeatable.

    But he doesn’t win only because he is a birdie machine but because he is without doubt the best short iron, wedge and putter on the Asian Tour which makes him one of the best scrambler and low scorer on the Asian tour as well.

    When asked why he never tried to change his self taught swing his comeback was “My swing served me well as an amateur (won the Thailand and Singapore Amateur in 1987) as it has during my professional career.

    Why would I use someone else’s swing”? Hard to argue with that!

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply December 10, 2012

      Andrew: I like it. I’ve always enjoyed watching the Asian Tour because of the different golf swings. Brilliant stuff….

  • Steady

    Reply Reply December 10, 2012

    Peter Senior is a golfer from an era that doesn’t analyse every mm of their swing a, watch their diet or pump wieghts in order to be the best.
    This mindset of “because every other golfer is doing it” has over complicated a simple game.
    Golfers these days as you said Cam are athletes. Really. Compare a 100m runner to a golfer in physique.
    Look at Craig Parry I wouldn’t call him a athlete but a great golfer yes.
    The reason why the Europeansand the yanks are good at golf is because they get the ball n the hole in fewer strokes.
    Golfers world wide can have the best equipment, best traing and facilities yet if you don’t the tools ( as in to play on auto pilot ) you will get beat by an opponent who knows how to win.
    Peter Senior had about 6 putts yesterday inside 3 feet and made them all) that’s how you win.

  • Troy Vayanos

    Reply Reply December 11, 2012

    Cameron, I was lucky enough to play a round with Peter Senior about 5 years ago through a mutual friend.

    He’s top bloke and is enjoying some great success in the later stages of his career.

    I think he said it best yesterday when he said ‘he’s a fighter’. He loves the grind of a golf tournament and the tougher the conditions the better.

    Even during a social round with him you could see he was really trying his best and wanted to play well.

    His competitive juices are still as strong as ever!

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply December 11, 2012

      Good stuff. Would be good to see the old boy play.

  • cam280

    Reply Reply December 11, 2012

    I guess it depends on what you consider a bad round, and when you have a bad round?. Poor old John Sendon certainly had a bad round at the wrong end of the event.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply December 11, 2012

      and he wasn’t the only one. Certainly was a tough day at the office it has to be said. Funny enough, Tom Watson had the best score of the day…

  • Grayden Provis

    Reply Reply December 11, 2012

    “Funny enough, Tom Watson had the best score of the day…”

    At age 63!! And a bloke aged 53 wins the thing!

    “Old dogs for hard roads” as a mate of mine used to say.

  • Neville Greenwell

    Reply Reply March 8, 2013

    Hi Cam, My thoughts were all of the above, plus I remember thinking while I was watching him that he hardly has a backswing or a follow through yet he hits the ball as well as anybody and on that last day he appeared to have the best short game on the planet.

    Cheers,
    Neville.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply March 8, 2013

      Nev, he certainly played great. Despite him being such an awesome player for such a long time, you won’t find him being used as a model in any of the coaching manuals. Shame really…

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