When did you start playing golf?
I was about 7 when I started, I could go to the club my dad was at once a month, but I couldn’t join a club till I was 12. I played a lot of different sports. Started playing a bit more at 13, and at 14 I was consumed by the game. I knew then I wanted to do something in the golf industry. I was +1 when I was 16, I attended the Australian Institute of Golf, which I describe as college golf without the school. You know there was 6 guys selected from across the country, the government paid for us to practice. There was a lot of really good players coming thru so, if you played well in Australia you got opportunities to play in Tour events there. But you have to be in the top 6 or so. We had a lot of guys, Cameron Percy, Geoff Oglivy, that went on to play on European tour and Japanese tour.
You had a decorated amateur career, what are some things you remember about that?
I got the opportunity to represent my country, and with that came invites to pro tournaments. I played a dozen pro events before I turned pro, the Australian Masters, Australian Open, Greg Norman Classic which was a European Tour event. And I played well in those as an amateur. I finished 7th in the Australian Masters, 8th in the Greg Norman Classic, 11th in the Australian Open which was won by Aaron Baddelely who was an amateur.
I finished 3rd at the Eisenhower cup as an amateur, Bryce Molder won it, Paul Casey came 2nd, Luke Donald was there, that was my last event as an amateur.
You turned pro later then some of your other countrymen, what was reasoning behind that?
I turned pro when I was 24 which was kind of late, Baddeley and others turned pro at 18 or so. I wanted to do well in pro events as an amateur before turning pro to prove to myself and potential people that wanted to back me that I could do it. Playing as amateur and doing well in those events and doing well got me a lot more exposure then it would have if I was a struggling pro.
What help did you have when you turned pro?
Yeah, I was sponsored by a telephone company and a bank. But it took the pressure of me of having to do well the first few weeks. And with that mindset it really freed me up, I finished 4th in the Australian PGA in my first pro event and I was able to play well enough to get some starts on the European Tour, and I transferred that into finishing 118th on money list which gave me limited status, 115th got full card at that time. And I played a couple years over there and stayed in the same category really. I wanted to play the Challenge tour the 3rd year over there and try to obtain full status, and I played like 8 weeks there but at that time courses were a lot different, courses were a lot softer and not much strategy and it didn’t fit my game very well.
What was ultimate goal, was it to get to the PGA Tour or stay in Europe?
My goal was really just to make a living playing golf, and that’s why I am still in the game, I am coaching now, I just love it.
How did you get to the web.com tour?
So, I went home in middle of ’04 or end of ’03 and I was home for about a year, playing Australian events and trying to get fit and figure out what the next step was. I was probably in the best shape physically of my life and was playing well, finished top 10 on the money list which got me exempt to the final stage of Q school. I played pretty well at Q school, if I would have shot even in the last round, I would have got my PGA card, but I didn’t, PGA West was hard at that time. So that put me on the web tour. And I kept my card every year. I finished top 30 on the money list 4 out of 6 years before I got to the PGA Tour. Which a lot of people would have been disappointed with, but I had never been on the PGA Tour before, so I didn’t understand the magnitude of how well you got looked after on the PGA Tour. But if you haven’t had something you couldn’t know what you’re missing.
I had read that you said that, now that your older and have looked back do you have a different perspective?
Sure, I wish I had got out there sooner. You get to drive nice cars every week, everything is at your fingertips.
Are you proud of your career?
Yes, I did it for 16 years, enjoyed every second of it, my body broke down a little bit last couple years. I had carpel tunnel and a thyroid problem. But you know to play 16 years against the best competition out there and keep status I am proud of. To get to see the places I’ve been is amazing. The cultures of different places I have been.
Do you know many countries you played in?
I have played in 30, and many I have been to multiple times. For web you know we went to Columbia, Panama, Mexico. You know not many people get to see the places I have seen and its only because of what I did for living.
I noticed you played an APT event last year, how was that?
I played 1 event last year to kind of scratch that itch, but physically I couldn’t do a full season. The event was about 50 miles from my house. And I started out good, but then the drive and the walking started to get to me, I don’t think I’ve walked 4 rounds of golf since 2016. By the 3rd round I felt like I was just waving my arms at the ball.
Any desire to give it ago at 50 for the Champions Tour?
You know at this point that’s a long way off, I don’t really want to think about being 50. I did 16 years and if that’s what it is that’s fine, I enjoyed every second. I would have to get in much better shape and right now I don’t have desire to go play, the kids are too good, and it would take a lot of effort to be competitive on a regular basis again. I feel like I am hitting the ball better now I think because with teaching you must do more research on the swing.
What do you shoot today on a casual round?
I played a few weeks ago, I played 3 courses, 1st one was decent, I shot -4. Second one was pretty easy, and I shot -6, and Friday I shot -8 and I bogeyed 2 of the easiest holes. My game is still pretty good, its just my body doesn’t hold up.
Could you put a week together?
Yeah, I probably could, but to having to be away from my family half the year to compete with 23-year-olds doesn’t sound too fun to me, I’d rather drop my kids off at school.
The longest consecutive time you have been away from your family?
My wife is better at recording that than I am. But when my son was on the way I think she said I was away 6 or 7 weeks in a row. So that’s tough on her to do everything. Its much harder on the family then me, I was kind of used to it, I had lived most of my adult life away from my family.