Peter­son con­tent with or without golf ca­reer

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - SPORTS - FERD LEWIS

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-yearold bag, sans lo­gos, from his col­lege days and a what­ever-hap­pens mind-set.

What he doesn’t have is a spon­sor.

“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 in­laws 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.

John Peter­son

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