That’s all that stood between John Peterson this past week in the PGA Tour event at The Greenbrier (the resort which was the Saints’ former training camp home in West Virginia) to retain his PGA Tour conditional status for the rest of this season.
It may be all that stands between Peterson, 29, and the self-imposed end of his professional golf career.
The former LSU Tiger and 2011 NCAA champion had an excellent showing at The Greenbrier, tying for 13th at 9-under par 271 with, among others, two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson (with Lafayette’s Ted Scott carrying his bag, per usual). He earned 52.12 FedEx Cup points and $121,363.
The problem is, to keep his card through the rest of the season based on his current major medical exemption (Peterson underwent major hand surgery in 2016) Peterson needed 52.7 FedEx Cup points.
In other words, he came up short by 0.58 points. A fraction. If he had managed to go one stroke lower at The Greenbrier, he would have tied for 11th and made it easily.
Peterson could have made up that one stroke virtually anywhere. As it turned out, on the 16th hole Sunday, Peterson missed a birdie putt from 4 feet, 7 inches.
“The system,” Peterson tweeted Sunday night, “is brutal, and aggravating. Maybe there’s an error in there …”
Unfortunately for him, the math checks out.
Peterson could still keep plugging to try to keep his PGA Tour status by winning enough money in this fall’s Web.com Tour playoffs.
But he admitted the week of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April that with a wife and baby boy named Luke at home, part of him has had enough of chasing the sun across the PGA Tour and back again. Part of him wants to “retire” to his cattle ranch outside his native Fort Worth, get into the real estate business, settle down.
At first blush, apparently Peterson will stick to his earlier announced convictions.
“It’s been a fun ride,” said Peterson, whose top PGA Tour finish has been a tie for fourth in the 2012 U.S. Open at Olympic in San Francisco.
“I don’t have that desire to practice eight hours a day anymore,” Peterson said back in April. “I’m almost 30 and I don’t have the desire to work out at 6 a.m. and eat right and practice all day and come home and be tired. Life means more to me than grinding over a 4-foot putt.”
As it turned out, a 4-foot putt might have made all the difference.
On to a brace of other local golf related topics:
Major Toms and an overdue ‘Senior’ moment: Let’s here it for the old guys (like me). Fellow 51-year old David Toms, the former LSU All-American and 2001 PGA champion, broke through last week for his first Champions Tour victory in a major way. Toms won the U.S. Senior Open at The Broadmoor (the golf resort in Colorado Springs, not the high school) by a stroke over fellow former Zurich Classic champions Jerry Kelly and Tim Petrovic, along with Miguel Angel Jimenez.
This week the inaugural U.S. Women’s Senior Open will be contested at historic Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton, Illinois, with former LSU All-American and 1986 college player of the year Jenny Lidback in the field. While it’s great to see the senior women finally getting their own big USGA prize, though it’s a shame it had to come 28 years after the first men’s senior open in 1980.
Speaking of LSU golfers: It’s been a banner season on the PGA Tour’s lower-level circuits for former LSU golfers as well. Sam Burns, splitting his time between the PGA and Web.com tours, is currently 11th on the Web.com money list, with a win in April in Savannah, Georgia. If he stays in the top 25, Burns earns his PGA Tour card for the 2018-19 season. Fellow former Tiger Ben Taylor also won on the Web.com Tour in February in Colombia and is 14th on the money list. Meanwhile on the PGA Tour’s Mackenzie Tour in Canada, former Tiger Zack Wright doesn’t have a win, but three second-place finishes have him atop the tour’s Order of Merit with $65,300 in earnings.
It’s been a great season for everyone it seems except former Tiger Smylie Kaufman. In the final group at the Masters two years ago and a winner in Las Vegas on the PGA Tour in 2015, Kaufman withdrew last week at The Greenbrier after an opening 79. Kaufman, who in May was in Baton Rouge trying to rehab his game with LSU director of golf Chuck Winstead, has made the cut in only one of his last 20 PGA Tour starts. Barring a serious reversal of fortune in the season’s last seven weeks, Kaufman will be relegated to trying to earn his 2018-19 PGA Tour privileges through the Web.com Tour playoffs.
Farewell to a friend: Howard Arceneaux loved golf. He loved his family and being a newsman much more. Arceneaux died Thursday after battling cancer for several months. He was a sportswriter and sports copy editor for the State-Times and The Advocate, and most recently the paper’s correspondent in the Felicianas. In between he ran his own publications, taught journalism classes at LSU, served as advisor at The Daily Reveille and did public relations work. Howard was passionate about telling stories, whether it was covering Southern basketball during the high octane Ben Jobe era or a board meeting in St. Francisville. He will be dearly missed.