Peter Senior earned $1.4 million on the Champions Tour in the United States this year -- seventh on the money list -- and did it mostly with his 17-year-old son, Mitchell, as his caddie.
Senior, the defending champion at the Australian PGA Championship, which begins Thursday, said he offered Mitchell the job thinking it would prevent the youngster from getting bored on family trips to a few events that Senior played in Melbourne earlier this year.
Despite having no previous experience, the partnership jelled and they were together for most of this year, Senior’s second on the Champions Tour.
“The girls (19-year-old twin daughters Krystlle and Jasmine) were fine because they had shopping, but Mitchell had nothing to do and I didn’t want to see him sit there,” Senior said Wednesday. “He was a bit shaky the first couple of weeks … but he got better and better and after about four or five weeks he just settled into it. He did better than I ever thought he would.”
Asked if his son got the customary 10 percent of his earnings, Senior said: “yes, the normal caddie pay,” which would work out to be about $140,000.
But Senior lamented the state of the U.S. dollar versus the Australian -- the Aussie dollar has been worth about five cents more than the greenback for most of this year, a big difference from other periods during the veteran Senior’s career when an Australian dollar was worth only 60 U.S. cents.
“The first time I’ve won U.S. dollars, and they’re worth nothing, that’s great,” Senior said.
LEARNING FROM SHARK: American Rickie Fowler played nine holes with Greg Norman in a practice round, not the first time the two have played together. And not the first time that Fowler has been impressed with Norman’s willingness to impart his vast knowledge for the younger generation.
“I play a little bit back home in Florida with him,” Fowler said Wednesday. “He has a lot of golf knowledge and hopefully I can pull anything out of him that he will share with me. It’s been a lot of fun to get to know him and spend as much time as possible with him.”
Fowler said Norman is aware of what he can -- or can’t -- do against the younger generation.
“He knows his capabilities right now and he respects that a lot of the young guys can get past him,” Fowler said. “But he is still one of the best drivers in the golf world. Of the times that I have played with him, I am not sure that I have seen him miss many fairways, maybe one or two.”
But Fowler reckons that Norman still has a competitive streak that he’ll never lose.
“Oh yeah, a true competitor never loses that killer instinct,” Fowler said.
Fowler will play the Franklin Templeton Shootout in Naples, Fla., hosted by Norman from Dec. 7-11. The week before, he’ll be at Tiger Woods’ tournament, the Chevron World Challenge, in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
ADAM AND ANA: Adam Scott and Serbian tennis star Ana Ivanovic continue to maintain a relationship despite widely scattered travel on their respective tours. With the WTA tennis tour quiet, Ivanovic has joined Scott for the past several weeks Down Under.
At the Presidents Cup in Melbourne, Ivanovic dressed in the “wives and partners” gear each day. On the Saturday morning when Scott and K.J. Choi lost their foursomes match 3 and 2 to Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson, Ivanovic and Choi’s wife, Kim Hyun-jung, walked together inside the ropes and Ivanovic stopped frequently despite often heavy rain to sign autographs.
She’s accompanying Scott this week. When Scott indicated he hadn’t had time to play the course before Wednesday’s pro-am, he was asked by a cheeky journalist whether he hadn’t “trained Ana to do the washing.”
“There’s only one thing I can do in the house … is operate the washing machine and iron,” Scott said. “So I get my points up doing that myself.”