Why Wells Fargo leader actually is looking forward to retirement
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — You’ll have to search far and wide to find a more conflicted player on the PGA Tour than John Peterson.
Peterson, who stormed to the lead at the Wells Fargo Championship with an opening-round 6-under-65 Thursday at Quail Hollow, doesn’t really care if he keeps this up and wins the tournament, which would happen to be his first victory as a professional.
Because Peterson is fully prepared — yearning, in fact — to retire at age 29.
“I know a little bit has been said about me retiring if I don’t make the necessary money for my medical starts [extension], and all that’s true,’’ said Peterson, who turned pro in 2011. “If I don’t make it, I’m not playing golf anymore. I don’t really have a ton to lose, so I’m kind of free-wheeling it right now. I’m just kind of playing golf.’’
Peterson, who said jokingly that by the time he played his final hole Thursday his gallery consisted of “only like seven or eight people and a golden retriever,’’ played so well that he carded consecutive eagles on Nos. 7 and 8 (the 16th and 17th holes of his round) to seize a two-shot lead. That has him ahead of some of the PGA Tour’s biggest stars including Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed and Tiger Woods.
Peterson, who had surgery on his left hand in 2016, is playing on an eight-tournament PGA Tour “major medical extension’’ this year because of the procedure. He’s played in five of those events entering this week and has two more after the Wells Fargo to earn either $318,096 or 237 FedExCup points to secure his playing privileges for the rest of this season.
To get to $318,096 this week, he’ll need to finish in a three-way tie for fourth or better. To get to the 237 FedExCup points, he’ll need to finish in a two-way tie for second or better.
Here’s the crazy thing: Either way, Peterson doesn’t care.
In fact, he sounded on Thursday like a guy who would prefer not to win this week to become exempt for the rest of the year. It’s sounds like Peterson wants his decision to be made for him.
“I just don’t enjoy the travel out here very much,’’ Peterson said. “I just like being at home and I like being around my family and friends more than I like chasing it around here.’’
Peterson’s Plan B is going into business with friends in real estate development in Fort Worth, Texas, where he lives.
“Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate it out here,’’ Peterson said. “I just kind of want to be a dad and like be around my kid and my family more often and 35 weeks a year on the road is just not for me.’’
Peterson’s high-water mark as a pro came in the 2012 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club, where he finished fourth.
“It didn’t really hit me that I could play out here until the U.S. Open in 2012,’’ Peterson said. “I mean, obviously I shocked everybody there and shocked myself.’’
Now it seems shocking that a player with the skills and experience Peterson has is so prepared to walk away in the prime of his career. Not even days like Thursday, he said, offer enough of a pull to stay on Tour.
“I’ve never made back-to-back eagles in a tournament and I don’t think I’ve done it in practice, either,’’ Peterson said. “So I’m telling you about something that I’ve never done before right now. So no, there’s not enough days like this.’’
After a pause, Peterson continued.
“I’m going to try to win this golf tournament … I promise you,’’ he said. “I’m going to do everything I can to win, but if it doesn’t happen, whatever, you know? Either way’s fine with me.’’
Peterson, who’s active on Twitter, might as well have ended that last thought this way: #conflicted.
Source: Read Full Article