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.
Senior qualified for the 30-man field by virtue of winning the 2012 PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit. His victory in last year's Australian Open at the age of 53 made him the oldest winner of this event in its history. He also beat current Masters champion Adam Scott, current US Open champion Justin Rose, eight-time Major winner Tom Watson, and 2006 US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy to that title.
And in December, at the age of 54, he will be 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.
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.