John Sen­den – life be­gins at 40

Inside Golf - - People - DavidNew­bery

YOUNG guns Rory McIl­roy and Ja­son Day might be the hottest golfers on the planet right now, but that won’t stop John Sen­den be­liev­ing he can win this month’s US PGA Cham­pi­onship.

The for­mer Aus­tralian Open cham­pion will tee it up in golf ’s fi­nal ma­jor at the Atlanta Ath­letic Club (Au­gust 11-14) se­cure in the knowl­edge he has done ev­ery­thing he can to give him­self the best pos­si­ble chance.

Sen­den even made a fly­ing visit to Bris­bane to see his long-time coach Ian Triggs, who is de­lighted with his pro­tégé’s game go­ing into the PGA Cham­pi­onship.

Triggs, who re­cently set up his Ian Triggs Golf Academy at Brook­wa­ter, said Sen­den was play­ing “ex­cep­tion­ally well”.

“He’s has proved that over the last 10 months by be­ing on the leader­board 90 per cent of the events at some stage,” he said.

“Phys­i­cally and tech­ni­cally John is re­ally well-or­gan­ised so it’s just a mat­ter of be­ing pa­tient.

“He’s re­ally start­ing to get some great con­sis­tency in his game and, like most peo­ple near the lead, just needs that lit­tle bit of a break to to­tally com­pete.

“I think the US PGA Cham­pi­onship suits his game. He went close in 2007 when he fin­ished fourth be­hind Tiger Woods.

“The event is be­ing played at a place called Johns Creek so I think that’s a bit of an omen.”

Sen­den, who won the John Deere Clas­sic on the US PGA Tour in 2006, said he felt con­fi­dent go­ing into the US PGA Cham­pi­onship.

The tall Queens­lan­der turned 40 in April and be­lieves it’s the start of a new chap­ter in his life.

“I’m 40 years old now so I’ll be play­ing us­ing my ex­pe­ri­ence.”

I ask him if he will put him­self in con­tention if his put­ter is red hot.

“Ab­so­lutely, you need to be putting well and it’s a mat­ter of be­ing hot in the scram­bling depart­ment as well,” he said.

“In fact, ev­ery part of your game has to be in place, al­though the strong­est battle is men­tally.

“My re­sults in ma­jor cham­pi­onships haven’t been bril­liant, but I have had a fourth place in the US PGA so it’s there.

“You saw what Rory McIl­roy did in the US Open. He had a great attitude all week and kept press­ing for­ward, com­mit­ting well and that’s where I need to be.”

Sen­den be­lieves his big­gest chal­lenge will come from proven young per­form­ers like Day and McIl­roy as well as a num­ber of ex­pe­ri­enced vet­er­ans.

“Rory (McIl­roy), Ja­son (Day) and Amer­i­can Rickie Fowler are the men to beat now and are look­ing the goods at the mo­ment,” he con­ceded.

“ They are all play­ing very well and so is Bubba Wat­son.

“And then you’ve got the vet­er­ans like Phil Mick­el­son, Steve Stricker and Tiger, who has been a lit­tle bit up-and­down, but they have the ex­pe­ri­ence to win the PGA Cham­pi­onship.”

Asked to rate the rest of the Aus­tralians’ chances, Sen­den s aid: “ Ja­son Day i s ex­tremely fo­cussed and so is Adam Scott, who has un­fin­ished busi­ness in the ma­jors.

“ Aaron Bad­de­ley is go­ing great, Geoff Ogilvy is play­ing well and ( Robert) Al­lenby and ( Stu­art) Ap­pleby have been solid t heir whole ca­reers.”

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