Interview: Peterson excited to be first exempt Tour player in Masters

Peterson ranks 27th on the money list after four finishes inside the top 36.
April 08, 2013

First-year member John Peterson will make Tour history next week at the Masters Tournament.  Research indicates the 23-year old from Ft. Worth, Texas is the first exempt Tour member to secure an invitation to the Masters. Peterson earned the spot as a result of his T4 in last year’s U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. After four solid starts on the Tour this year (T28, T36, T16, T10), the three-time LSU All-American and 2011 NCAA Championship Division I medalist gets his final prep for Augusta National this week via a sponsor’s exemption at the PGA TOUR’s Valero Texas Open in San Antonio. 

PGA TOUR Communications staff member Royce Thompson visited with John on Wednesday in San Antonio to get his thoughts on playing in the Masters, representing the Tour and more. His 2013 Tour stats are featured after the Q&A.

Q: How is it going to feel to be carrying the banner for the Tour during the week of the Masters?

A: I think it’s really cool for the Tour.  I’m not sure if it’s ever happened before where an exempt player has gotten to play in the Masters. Next week I will have a little bit of a leadership role for the Tour, you might call it, which I think is cool because it’s never been done before, and it’s kind of cool to have that notoriety.

It’s going to be different having started the year on the Tour and played the first four events out there. Those were very different courses than this week (San Antonio) and next week (Masters), but I think the competition is very good out there ( Tour). I wouldn’t put it quite as high as this (PGA TOUR), but the guys that usually win (on TOUR) have come through the Tour. If I go out there and play well it shows how good the guys really are out on the Tour.

Q: How have your first four events on the Tour been this year?

A: They’ve been good. South America was good. I made all four cuts, but I just really haven’t contended on Sunday yet. I had the lead in Louisiana after the first round but had a bad second and third round and then a mediocre final round. I didn’t really put four together, but I’ve seen progress. I usually start slow at the beginning of the year and then I tend to get better as the year goes on. So, I just have to put four (rounds) together. I haven’t done that yet.

Q: How do you feel the Tour prepares you for the PGA TOUR?

A: I think the traveling is huge. You come out of college and you play one week a month. So you get ready for that one week and then you’re done. You can really narrow your practice to that week. Out here you’re playing and traveling every week, you’re traveling Sunday night or Monday and you just have to figure out what is best for you. I figured out that my day off is Monday, so I usually take Monday off and then I’ll get back after it on Tuesday. But just getting acclimated to the travel I think is the biggest part. I think the Tour helps everybody adjust to the lifestyle on the PGA TOUR.

Q: Anyone in particular you’re looking forward to playing a practice round with at Augusta?

A: I think I’m playing with David Toms. We’re playing the Par-3 together. Anytime we are in the same tournament we try and get a practice round together because I’ve looked up to him for a long time and he’s a fellow LSU Tiger. So it will be fun for two different generations to play with each other next week. I also think we are going to try and have a crawfish boil at my house. We are going to bring a little Louisiana to Augusta. Other than that we are just going to treat it like a normal tournament. It’s just another tournament when you boil it down.  

Note: Peterson was paired with Toms in the third round of the 2012 U.S. Open when the younger LSU Tiger aced the par-3, 13th hole at Olympic.

Q: Who is going with you to Augusta next week?

A: My family is going to be there. They (Masters) only gave me eight tickets. So you really have to be careful who you give them to and I have a big family, so I ran out of tickets pretty quick.”