Peterson content with or without golf careerThe Honolulu Star-Advertiser — Ferd Lewis The Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Jan. 13--There might be 144 stories, one for each entrant, in the Sony Open in Hawaii and, then, there is John Peterson, who is deserving of his own country-western song.
The 28-year old Peterson even looks the part, more resembling a good-time municipal player from his hometown of Weatherford, Texas, than touring PGA pro in a five-way tie for second place. In a battle to keep his playing privileges, Peterson sits three strokes off the leader, Brian Harman, with a 10-under-par 130 after two rounds at Waialae Country Club.
He has a camouflage hat, National Shooting Sports Foundation shirt, a caddie toting a weathered 10-year-old bag, sans logos, from his college days and a whatever-happens mind-set.
What he doesn't have is a sponsor.
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"Wearing Nike shoes, Under Armour clothes, Shady Oaks hat ... I'm all confused," Peterson joked after shooting a 6-under par 64 Friday.
What Peterson, who has never finished higher than a tie for 11th (2015) on the PGA Tour, should be is feeling the mounting pressure of having to reach $350,000 in earnings in a deadline of 8 starts in order to retain his place on the PGA Tour this year. That he is out here today is only because he was granted a major medical exception for 2016 carpal surgery on his right hand that will expire shortly.
"They shaved down the bone and the tendon was rubbing against the bone and it was about a seven-months recovery," Peterson said, displaying a slight scar.
He would have attempted his comeback in October at the start of the season, but, well, there was the birth of his first child, a death in the family. "There was a lot going on ... and I just wasn't practicing, I wasn't going to be ready. So, I just figured I'd start fresh in 2018," Peterson said with a what-me-worry shrug of the shoulders. "And, I got to do a lot of daddying, hunting and a little farming, so that was a bonus, too. Life's been great, man."
Besides stocking the larder, there was also perspective to be gained with fatherhood. "I told my wife, 'You know, I've had a few good years out here (on the tour) and I don't want to do this forever.' Now that I'm a dad, I hate the travel part of this. I'm not ever going to be a FaceTime dad, ever," Peterson said.
"So, if it doesn't work out, these eight events, I'll probably be done," Peterson said. "That's why I don't have a sponsor and all that. But if it works out, I'll keep going."
Peterson said, "I'm already kind of planning for both, so we'll see what happens. I'd like to keep playing golf, but if I don't, it is great. I've got a little farm. I've got a little boy. I've got a great wife. I'm in a good spot."
It is that outlook that has, in part, fueled his rise here. "Man, it's just attitude. If my attitude is good, I'm going to play good. I've never been in a better spot lifestyle-wise than I am right now so that probably has a lot to do with it. My wife is here. My boy's here. My in-laws are here."
In summation, Peterson will tell you, "I've got eight events in which to make $350,000. If I do, great. If I don't, who cares?"
Peterson says, "I'm just out here free-wheeling it. We're enjoying it, I've got 32 rounds and we'll see what happens."
Spoken like a line in a country-western song.
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