By: Leigh MacKay

LIV Golf Miami begins its fifth of 14 events this Friday at The Blue Monster at Trump Doral. Thirteen teams of four will vie for the $3M first prize ($750K apiece) of the $5M purse, and these 52 individuals plus Wild Card additions Anthony Kim and Hudson Swafford will be shooting for the $4M gold medal from the $20M treasury.

This Wednesday of practice rounds at the famed layout along with assorted range work, short game drills, and putting exercises provided a more relaxed approach for the professionals as they prepared for the 54-hole shotguns this weekend.

I exploited this day of relative calm for my own purposes and tracked down one of New England’s most proficient golfers ever, Peter Uihlein, and coerced him into a short but revealing interview. I am a fellow New Englander and had followed Peter’s green scorchings for many years before I first met him in March, 2012, at the Puerto Rico Open, his first professional event.

Peter, now 34, lived in the Herman Melville whaling village of New Bedford, Massachusetts, and grew up under the tutelage of his father Wally, CEO of Acushnet Company. I know almost all of us contributed to Peter’s upbringing with our purchases of Titleist and Foot Joy goods, but I don’t begrudge the boy a single penny of that money I spent.

I just take a little more credit than I probably should for his golf achievements!

Peter learned the game at the Country Club of New Bedford, a classic Donald Ross par-69 venue. His two POY awards in the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) along with other sterling youthful exploits earned him a scholarship in 2008 at Oklahoma State University alongside redoubtable teammates Rickie Fowler, Morgan Hoffman, Talor Gooch, and Kevin Tway.

When he left OSU at the end of 2011, he had accumulated a 2009 Walker Cup 4-0 record, the 2010 US Amateur at Chambers Bay, WA, on his 21st birthday, the 2011 Ben Hogan Award for the best collegiate golfer in the nation, and 2011 1st Team All-American status.

He turned pro in December of 2011 and then played in that 2012 Puerto Rico Open. He missed the cut—but not many thereafter. He joined the European Tour in 2013, had 8 Top 10’s, and was named the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year. He won the Tour Finale in 2017, which propelled him onto the PGA Tour, where, in his first year, he won $1.8M and finished 64 in the FedEx Cup standings. In 2018-19, he won $840K to finish 133 but lost his card, which he regained for the 2021-22 season.

However, Peter joined the LIV Golf tour in June of 2022, where he first played on Brooks Koepka’s Smash team, then on Dustin Johnson’s Aces, before starting the 2024 season with Bubba Watson’s Range Goats. He has had 13 Top 24’s, 8 Top 10’s, and three “Trips to the Podium” for his three 2nds. In his 26 events with LIV Golf, Peter has earned a total of $24,845,926. Even Herman Melville would be impressed with the size of that catch! Now it’s time to catch Peter’s thoughts on what’s happening in his world.

(Photos all by Victoria MacKay)

PU: Life’s great! LIV does an unbelievable job for the players and the families, which really resonates with the players. LIV makes sure my wife and kids are comfortable during an event. Originally, I had to make a difficult decision, but now I love every minute of it.

(Photos all by Victoria MacKay)

PU: A lot of factors went into it. I wanted to return to the European Tour, but COVID put an end to that idea. Then I got on the PGA Tour again, but I wasn’t as happy as I had hoped to be although I loved my time on the Tour. And when LIV was in the offing, I thought it would be a good fit. A major point was the international travel because my wife Chelsea and I certainly enjoy that lifestyle. The timing proved to be perfect, and LIV became an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

PU: Yes, we talked about it. I don’t want to speak for him, but he believes that competition is a motivating force, and he was never one to back down from a fight in his professional life. He felt like LIV was the right decision at that point in my career, and he said go for it.

PU: To finish in the Top 10 each year in the Order of Merit. The fields are getting better, and the players, as you know, are quite good. So that one goal will be a tough one to fulfill.

PU: It is a different experience. We are a new Range Goats team with Bubba, Thomas, and Matthew. And we have all done our own thing for a long time so that now we are trying to get used to each other. Bubba is an excellent captain and a good mentor, and I love the team concept, and it is fun. I would like LIV to place more emphasis on the team play. I do love the fact that I can wear shorts!

Peter Uihlein – on camera at the 2022 LIV Golf Team Championship at Trump Doral – Photo by: Greg Wise

54 or 36 or 90 holes make no difference to me. Tell me how many to play, and I am all in. Yes, the shotgun is fair. We are all out on the course in the same conditions, so I am greatly in favor of that aspect.

PU: No, not at all. I think the LIV players are well past that point in their concerns. The talk surrounding the “merger” with the PGA Tour doesn’t affect me either. The golfers should be concerned with playing golf in the competitions, and the business people are the ones who should be concerned about the workings within the system. That’s my opinion.

PU: I did get to play with Ernie Els, and the first time we played I shot 60 with him at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland! I always liked Ernie’s demeanor and swing, total composure, and global presence as I was watching him play as I was growing up. So playing with Ernie was always a treat for me. And I admired Adam Scott, too, for his personality and his performance and our relationship. And Sergio, too! Although he is bit more different than those two—more charismatic, a swashbuckler, perhaps.

PU: Oh, a good question for great memories! In no special order, let me see: Lake Karrinyup CC in Perth and The Gorge GC in Adelaide—Australian golf is pretty cool. The Albatross Golf Resort in Prague, home of the Czech Masters. Hong Kong GC, a special favorite. Walton Heath GC in the UK. And Valderrama GC in Spain. By the way, my favorite course in the USA is just down the road from the CC of New Bedford in Plymouth, MA—Old Sandwich, a Coore-Crenshaw masterpiece.

PU: Oh, yes! Of course! I root for them all. But mainly now I will follow the Red Sox and the Pats, and I have also adopted the Miami Marlins because I live in Jupiter, Florida.

PU: Yes. I have lived in Florida now for a long time, but I am still a New Englander at heart, and I am proud to be from Massachusetts. And I am proud to represent the blue-collar people, the hard workers like those that I grew up among in New Bedford. It’s a wonderful part of the world for me.

Leigh MacKay

As a caddie, greenkeeper, and Ouimet Scholar from Marshfield Country Club on Boston’s South Shore, Leigh developed his love for the game at an early age. The BA from Amherst College and MA from Dartmouth prepared him for his 36-year career in education, most of it teaching Advanced Placement English and coaching varsity golf. In 1986, a sabbatical from teaching students to writing stories for “Golf World” magazine prepared him for his second career in golf journalism. Leigh is a low-handicap golfer who has won the Golf Writers Association of America’s championship seven times. He is currently a member of Southers Marsh Golf Club in Plymouth, MA, and PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, FL.

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