John Peterson had a lead in the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open until Hideki Matsuyama and Matt Kuchar passed him up. Peterson’s time on the PGA Tour has been pretty disappointing. Peterson turned pro in 2011 after winning a national championship at LSU; since that time he’s entered 73 events, made the cut in 40 and has only two top 10 finishes to his name. One of those was at the 2012 U.S. Open which earned him an entry spot into the 2013 Masters and U.S. Open. Since 2014 Peterson has finished in the top 25 in events just 11 times before suffering an injury in 2015 that sidelined him for the entire 2016 season.
Before that injury Peterson famously took a Happy Gilmore swing while in last place at the CIMB Classic in 2015. By all accounts he appeared to treat his professional career like an extended college career and after the first round of the Phoenix Open he admitted as much.
“”When I got hurt last year,” Peterson said after the first round at TPC Scottsdale. “I missed all of last season. I had hand surgery right here and I was watching these guys on the couch and it really made me miss it. I started missing it and I said, you know, when I get back out there, I’m going to give it a go. I’m going to work like it’s my job again and stop being such a, you know, mediocre player out here.”
“In my opinion, I have severely underachieved … I just haven’t really given it my full effort since I have been out here. I just kind of treaded water and do just as good as you can and hadn’t really treated it as a job,” he said. “I guess I just let my college career carry over into my professional career. … I didn’t care what I did. I didn’t care if I hit a bad shot. It didn’t bother me.”
Maybe it was the time off away from the game and his peers and colleagues that made Peterson realize that he has the skill and potential to play on a Tour that most golfers will never get a shot at or maybe it was his recent wedding that made him realize it’s time to commit and treat golf like an actual job, but one thing is certain, he seems glad to be back and really wants to win.
“I want to win, man. I want to win,” he said.
Whether or not Peterson can win this week remains to be seen, but it is good to see someone playing well after a surgery and long layoff.
[Via Golf Channel]