Well, that didn’t last long.
John Peterson, the former NCAA individual champion and PGA Tour player who last year retired from pro golf at age 30, has decided life in real estate isn’t as exciting.
Peterson told ESPN Radio Baton Rouge on Wednesday that he was inspired by watching the Masters, particularly Tiger Woods’ victory and Patrick Cantlay’s strong play, and quit his job immediately. He teed it up in a Monday qualifier this week for the Web.com Tour’s Dormie Network Classic at Briggs Ranch in San Antonio but didn't qualify.
"Sometimes you've got to take a step back to realize what you had," said Peterson, who was a three-time All-American at LSU and won the 2011 NCAA individual title. "I was in an office for seven months, and it was fine when I started, I was paying the bills. Then the Masters came along, and I'm watching this kid Patrick Cantlay, who in 2011 finished second to me in the national championship when he was at UCLA, and he's finishing ninth in the Masters. It's on TV, and I beat him, and I beat him a lot, and I'm just like, 'Man, that could be me.' And then Tiger wins, with his story, it was just so inspiring, honestly.
“And I quit my job, seriously, the next day after the Masters.”
Peterson played last season on the PGA Tour on a major medical extension. He failed to fulfill the requirements and then couldn’t keep his card via the Web.com Tour Finals.
“It’s been a hell of a ride,” Peterson tweeted back then. He earned just more than $2 million on Tour while notching just two top-10s in 93 career starts.
Initially, Peterson appeared to enjoy the new career. He tweeted about how he was able to spend more time with his wife and two young kids at home in Dallas, though he irked fellow Tour pros Chesson Hadley and Kelly Kraft after responding to a tweet by Hadley, in which Hadley complained about a flight delay and how he hadn’t seen his family in three weeks.
“Hey man, the money ain’t always worth it,” Peterson said to Hadley on Twitter. “I saw my family today, and yesterday, and the day before that, and that, and that, and that, and that. #fam.”
Kraft rushed to Hadley’s defense.
“Don’t knock us on the @PGATOUR for living our dream of playing golf at the highest level,” Kraft tweeted at Peterson. “Especially when you know damn well you would be too if you didn’t lose your status.”
Peterson said Wednesday that he deleted his social media before his comeback “because of what might come of it.”
“I spent two and a half, three years of my PGA Tour career not really giving it everything I had,” Peterson said. “With life and babies and everything that came with that, I wasn’t able to really concentrate 100 percent on golf, and now that we are done with our second kid, if I’m gonna do it, now is the time. … It’s gonna be a long road back, but I’m ready for it and know I’m good enough to compete at the highest level.”
Peterson has no status, which means he’ll need to rely on sponsor exemptions and Monday qualifiers. There is also the mini-tour route, which is a grind in of itself.
“I’m taking a big risk,” Peterson said. “I don’t really have any place to play right now 100 percent, so I got to qualify and stuff. But I will get back, I know I will.”