PETER LONARD was in a reflective mood this week ahead of the 2013 WA Open Championship.
The Aussie veteran, one of the most experienced players in the Tour of Australasia event which tees off on Thursday, was happy to be home.
“I love coming home to Australia to play. The last couple of years where I was struggling for survival on the PGA TOUR I had to miss out, it killed me,” the 46 year old said.
Arriving at Mount Lawley Golf Club this week, Lonard was looking forward to playing in Perth after a break from competitive golf.
“I haven’t played a lot of competitive golf but I have still practiced every day. Not with a lot of intensity but just keeping my finger in the pie,” he said.
“This week will be a test to see how I go. I will be rusty as far as playing on the course but swing wise I will be fine.”
Spending 2013 competing on the Web.com Tour in the US, Lonard had a disappointing season but felt like he was starting to find some form.
“I played terribly for nine months of the year,” he said. “Probably the last three to five weeks I played alright. But I had dug myself such a hole that I couldn’t get out of it.”
“It’s a fresh start this week so hopefully I can get it going and kick on.”
[quote style=”boxed” float=”right”]There is a lot more to playing golf on Tour than being a good golfer. You have to manage your time, deal with the travel, stay off the booze and stop chasing chicks.[/quote]
With 12 Professional victories to his name, Lonard is one of the most revered players in the field.
“Tournaments like this are where I started golf and it brings back a lot of great memories. It was a lot of hard work when I had nothing and no money.”
“It’s really a lottery ticket as to who is going to play golf for the rest of their career.”
“Out of the bunch when I started I was probably the least expected to still be playing when I was 46,” he added, still unsure of what his future may hold.
“Looking into the future, career plans, I don’t really have any.”
“If you had asked me this when I was 24 I would have said that at 45 I would retire, live in Australia and relax.”
“Now I am 46 and I probably should have retired five years ago but I am still going.”
For Lonard it’s the competitive spirit that saw him win on the PGA TOUR that has him continuing his career as a Touring Professional.
“There is nothing better than playing golf under pressure. It’s a great game for testing your nerve.”
“Even if it’s just once a year that you have to hit that shot to win a tournament or to make a cut. When you do, the sense of achievement is more than enough to keep me going. Plus I still like to show up the young kids every now and then.”
Lonard began his career in golf via the PGA Traineeship and was impressed by third year PGA Trainee Jack Wilson’s efforts to win the WA Goldfields PGA Championship.
“When I was a Trainee you were lucky to get into a pro-am let alone a four round tournament. All in all to win one is quite something. Jack has a lot of mines to dodge in the future but this is a hell of a good start.”
Asked of his advice to Wilson and the next wave of Australian golf stars Lonard has some interesting words of wisdom.
“There is a lot more to playing golf on Tour than being a good golfer. You have to manage your time, deal with the travel, stay off the booze and stop chasing chicks.”
“There are a lot of ways to ruin a good golf career. Some guys manage to navigate their way through it and some guys get ruined by it.”
Nick O’Hern hoping for a turnaround
Other well-known Australian golfing names involved this week include former Australian PGA Champion Nick O’Hern and 2003 US Open runner-up Stephen Leaney.
O’Hern is back at what was is his home club after a marathon flight from a very disappointing year in the US.
He was hoping a good showing back home might turn things around.
“I didn’t keep my card this year which was the first time ever,” said O’Hern, who has played on the US PGA TOUR since 2005.
“I probably played as good as I ever have this year but the putting let me down.”
“I have a full schedule on the Web.com Tour next year which will be good. I will try and work my way back on to the PGA TOUR. It will be a good challenge.”
The John Hughes Nexus Risk Services WA Open Championship tees off at Mount Lawley Golf Club on from 10 – 13 October.
Entry into the tournament is a gold coin donation with all proceeds going to Carers Australia.
WA Open Championship LeaderboardWA Open Leaderboard