John Peterson, a former PGA Tour pro who retired, un-retired, then re-retired from professional golf last summer, is making a comeback. The former NCAA D-I individual champion made the announcement on Wednesday on the radio show “After Further Review,” hosted by Matt Moscona on 104.5 FM ESPN Baton Rouge.
Peterson was last seen competing on the Web.com Tour, one last-ditch effort to retain his PGA Tour card. In four starts between August and September, Peterson made just one cut, a T-56 at the DAP Championship. Since then Peterson has been working “from dark to dark” in the real estate business, a life that Peterson was happy to sign up for when he called it quits. But as he watched the Masters earlier this month, he couldn’t help but imagine himself roaming the fairways of Augusta with guys he used to compete against.
“Sometimes you’ve got to take a step back to realize what you had,” Peterson told Moscana. “I was in an office for seven months, and it was fine when I started, I was paying the bills. Then the Masters came along and I’m watching this kid Patrick Cantlay, who in 2011 finished second to me in the National Championship when he was at UCLA, and he’s finishing ninth in the Masters, it’s on TV, and I beat him and I beat him a lot and I’m just like man, that could be me.
“And then Tiger wins, with his story, it was just so inspiring, honestly. And I quit my job, seriously, the next day after the Masters.”
Peterson’s cat-and-mouse game, straight out of the playbook of Brett Favre, has been going on for quite some time now. Here’s a brief timeline of the 30-year-old’s last year-plus:
January 2018: Peterson opens with rounds of 66 and 64 in his first of only eight starts he had on his major medical extension. He went into the weekend tied for second, three back of leader Brian Harman, but faltered in the final two rounds, shooting 74 and 69 to finish in a tie for 47th.
February 2018: Peterson makes one start at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, finishing in a tie for 57th. Two weeks later, he withdraws from the Honda Classic with a neck injury.
April 2018: Peterson returns from injury at the Valero Texas Open, shoots rounds of 76 and 73 to miss the cut. The following week, he ties for 34th at the Zurich Classic alongside teammate Cody Gribble.
May 2018: With only three starts remaining on his major medical extension, Peterson announces that if he doesn’t earn the $318,092 needed to retain his PGA Tour card, he plans to retire. After opening with a 65 at the Wells Fargo, the former LSU standout appeared poised to put his retirement on hold. But he was doomed by a second-round 77, eventually finishing in a tie for 42nd.
June-July 2018: In his final two starts at the FedEx St. Jude Classic and the Greenbrier, Peterson finished T-45 and T-13. Two decent results, but not enough to keep his card, coming up 0.58 FedEx Cup points short. Peterson hoped there was an error in the “brutal” system, but that wasn’t the case. He appeared to be at peace with his decision to retire, but he came out of retirement one week later to play in the Barbasol Championship, gaining a spot in the field as an alternate. Peterson tied for 21st, ending the season inside the top 200 of the FedEx Cup standings, which made him eligible for the Web.com Tour Finals.
August-September 2018: Peterson misses four of five cuts on the Web.com Tour and “officially” retires for good.
April 2019: According to the Monday Q Info Twitter account, Peterson attempted to Monday qualify earlier this week for the Web.com Tour’s Dormie Network Classic at Briggs Ranch. With 12 spots up for grabs, Peterson cards a 68 that put him right on the bubble of getting in, but he ultimately came up just short. Comeback rumors immediately began to swirl on social media, and Peterson made them official with Moscana on Wednesday.
Unlike Favre, Peterson won’t be able to just slide right back into a job. He now has work to do to try and earn any kind of status on a tour, and he sounds confident he will.
“I’m taking a big risk, and I really don’t have any place to play right now 100 percent, so I have to qualify and stuff. I will get back, I know I will. It’s just kind of a regret watching the guys that I played with my whole life finish top 10 in the majors and just knowing I can do it.”
For the full interview on “After Further Review,” you can listen here beginning at the 2:34:00 mark.