The 53-year-old Senior is officially the oldest player to ever compete in the Nedbank Golf Challenge. The previous record was held by Tom Watson, who was 49 when he played in the 1998 tournament.
The winner of 31 tournaments worldwide has qualified for “Africa’s Major” through the expanded criteria that includes a place in the 30-man field for the winner of the 2012 PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit.
Senior played only three tournaments on the 2012 PGA Tour of Australasia, but topped the Order of Merit with his victory in the Australian Open. That triumph in Sydney made Senior the oldest winner in Australian Open history, eclipsing by some distance the previous record held by another Australian legend, Peter Thomson, who won in 1972 at the age of 43.
More significantly, Senior’s victory came against a field including current Masters champion Adam Scott, current US Open champion Justin Rose, eight-time Major winner Tom Watson, and 2006 US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy.
“Peter Senior represents exactly the beauty of the new format of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, in that we have a wonderfully diverse field that showcases some incredible depth in world golf,” said Alastair Roper, the Tournament Director for Sun International’s Nedbank Golf Challenge.
“Peter may be 53, but Tom Watson’s performances in the Open Championship have shown the world how competitive you can still be against the younger generation.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Senior’s countryman Ogilvy, who said, “Peter is awesome. He’s the most enthusiastic performer. He’s still more than competitive and there’s lots to learn from him.”
In 2010 Senior proved how competitive he still is when he won the Australian PGA Championship at the age of 51, and his triumph in last year’s Australian Open puts him in venerated company. The great Sam Snead was 52 when he won the PGA Tour’s Greater Greensboro Classic.
Senior will join the deepest field in Nedbank Golf Challenge history, with 30 players vying for a total of $6.5 million at the Gary Player Country Club from 5-8 December.
When Peter Senior won the Australian PGA Championship in 1989 amidst an incredible run of victories, his brother Jeff sent him a telegram. “Congratulations. Please send $100 000 by Monday”.
It was a humorous reference to the business the two brothers had just started, and the need for a little cash injection. According to Jeff, his brother always played better when he was under a bit of pressure.
Senior has remained competitive throughout a career that is often held up as the perfect example of longevity in this game. His mere presence in the 2013 Nedbank Golf Challenge field is a shining example of this.
As a winner of 31 titles worldwide, Senior has distinguished himself as one of the most celebrated Australian golfers in history.
Peter and his brother Jeff were introduced to the game by their father on a nine-hole course in Singapore, where their father was stationed as a former English SAS member. As an amateur, Peter was a regular winner with a game based on pure natural talent, and without the benefit of a single lesson. He turned professional at the age of 18 and won his first tournament in the 1979 South Australian Open. He went on to win four times on the European Tour.
Senior is a longtime user of the controversial long putter, which he was introduced to by Sam Torrance. “I first used a long putter back in 1989 in the British Masters at Woburn. After a first round 74, which included 38 putts with a regular putter, I found myself on the putting green with Sam Torrance, and he let me try one of the very first models that he had been tinkering about with. It wasn't a pretty thing, but after a few minutes it seemed to work, so I decided to give it a go. The next day I shot a 66, and the long putter has been in my bag ever since. In fact, that same year was probably my best ever. I went home to Australia and won six times, including the PGA Championship.” He even has a boat named “Broomstick”.
Armed with a swing that he says is currently more consistent than it’s ever been, Senior could well be a factor in the 2013 Nedbank Golf Challenge.
“I always take heart watching Tom Watson nearly winning the British Open when he was 60 years of age against probably the best field in the world, so there is no real age limit to winning golf tournaments. We are lucky that we play a long-life sport and I am looking forward to the next couple of seasons,” says Senior.
Born: 31 July 1959.
Turned pro: 1978.
Family: Wife – June. Children – Krystalle, Jasmine, Mitchell.
Special interests: Fishing, reading, entertaining.
Career highlights: A winner of 31 tournaments worldwide. Winner of the PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit in 1987, 1989, 1993 and 2012. In 2012 he became the oldest winner in Australian Open history at the age of 52. In 2010 he won the Australian PGA Championship at the age of 51. Played for the International Team in the first two Presidents Cups.
2013 highlights: Has enjoyed solid performances in the senior majors, finishing tied 11th in the US Senior PGA Championship, tied 14th in the US Senior Open and tied third in the Senior Open Championship. Has twice finished n the top three on the Champions Tour this year.
2013 Majors: The Masters – Did Not Play. The US Open – Did Not Play. The Open – T79. The PGA Championship – Did Not Play.
NGC record: Debut.