Peter Senior will make golfing history when he fronts up for his 30th Australian Masters event this week but the 49 year old has lost none of his passion for the game.
Senior is a two time winner of the Masters and will line up as the only player to have played in all thirty Australian Masters tournaments since the first event was played at Huntingdale in 1979.
“It has been a long trip and I have enjoyed every one of them,” Senior, who won the title in 1991 and 1995, said this week. “Thirty years sounds like a long time but I’ve still got a few left in me.”
Senior feels he has been playing well lately with good finishes in the Western Australian PGA and a second at the NSW PGA.
He was feeling confident when talking to media about the upcoming big three Aussie tournaments, including the Open, the PGA and the Masters, and even suggesting that “if I can putt a little better than I have been” anything could happen.
“Or you could do a Robert Allenby and win all three of them,” he said.
The putting would have to be going exceptionally well for that to come to pass but it is a measure of the competitive spirit Senior has displayed in 30 years travelling the globe.
Whatever has been happening for him overseas, Senior is a household name in Australian golf because he has returned home every summer to play in front of home crowds. The fact hasn’t been lost on his legions of fans, making him a crowd favourite and the name ‘Senior’ synonymous with the Australasian Tour.
“One thing I always said was that I would come back to support the Australian Tour, no matter where I was or what I was doing. I have foregone some really good tournaments to come back and play our events, but I wanted to do that.”
Senior said that whilst his thirty years sounded a lot, he has lost none of the desire that has brought him so much success and popularity in the game since he first turned professional in 1978. Whilst he plays less tournament golf these days, he intends to continue with his career on the senior’s circuit when he turns 50 next July.
“I love the game. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I am doing, corporate days, pro-ams, I still enjoy being on the course. The main reason I stopped tournament golf was to spend time with my kids in their school years.
“I figured that when I turned 50 I would still have the opportunity to play. Sitting at home and doing nothing for the first couple of years was really hard, but deep down the desire is still there.”
Senior is keen to try his luck on the Seniors tour in the US next year but knows it will be tough with “about 500 guys” competing for the eight available spots.
If anyone can do it, Peter can.
The First Round of the 2008 Sportsbet Australian Masters starts on Thursday with the first groups teeing off at 7am.
The morning groups include Craig Parry, John Daly and Finland’s Mikko Ilonen teeing off the tenth tee at 7:10am – now that will be a sight to behold.
There will be free to air television coverage on all four days of the tournament on the Seven Network, check your local guides.