16 Jul 18
The Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open qualifier continues to tick a box by producing great storylines, the main one from this year's event at Longniddry featuring Peter Whiteford.
The Fifer held a European Tour card for six seasons, including five in a row, and amassed career earnings of £1.4 million, including a bumper pay-day when he lost to Australian Brett Rumford in a play-off in the 2013 Ballantine's Championship in Korea.
However, his last main Tour appearance had been nearly two years ago, partly due to the fact he’s not capable physically due to having arthritis in both hips and also because he’s working as an assistant PGA professional at Linlithgow.
“My hips have been deteriorating over the last wee while," said the 37-year-old, who came through the two-round shoot-out at Longniddry, where the event was supported by VisitScotland, along with fellow PGA Pro Jamie McLeary, as well as Duncan Stewart and Conor O'Neil.
"Last year, I just felt it wasn’t enough to do less practice and play fewer events. I felt that was for better players than myself. That is the reason I chapped it on the head.
“The injury is the same one Andy Murray had basically, so there is treatment. You can get it done pretty quickly – but it’s quite expensive. And there are no guarantees I would get back on Tour.”
Boosted by his qualifying success, Whiteford opened with a five-under-par 65 in the $7 million Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open before agonisingly missing the cut following a second-round 74.
“That was as nervous as I’ve been for a wee while,” he admitted of teeing up in an event featuring Masters champion Patrick Reed, world No 3 Justin Rose and five-time major winner Phil Mickelson.
“As much as I enjoy working at Linlithgow Golf Club, any professional athlete who stops misses the buzz, the adrenaline and all the rest that comes with it. That’s the bit I found hard to deal with when I finished playing.
"I competed in the qualifier because, to be honest, there was a bit of money in that as well.
‘You don’t earn billions being an assistant professional so, for me, that was a chance to earn a few hundred quid.
‘You always think you can qualify, being an old head, having been out here and maybe being more experienced. I would never not try to qualify.
"It's the adrenaline that you miss. The lifestyle of a professional golfer is different to a bog standard life. It's a great life. It's hard at times obviously. I've seen the good time and the bad times as a professional.
"It's hard to be in a shop rather than playing, but a few of the members were out there wacthing me today and I'm normally marking them down for who has got their sweep and 2s money in."
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