EXCLUSIVE: Peter Uihlein – “one of New England’s most proficient golfers”

Peter Uihlein, 34, is in the prime of his professional golfing career, having earned status as one of Massachusetts most accomplished amateurs, on his way to perhaps becoming New England's best player ever.

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

On Wednesday at the famed layout, players showed up to work using the practice range to work on their short game and putting with a bit more relaxed approach as they prepared for the 54-hole event 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 Uihlein (l) finished third behind winner Cam Smith (c) and Dustin Johnson (r) at LIV Golf Invitational Chicago Sunday September 28, 2022, and at the time Uihlein became the face of LIV Golf and how quickly fortunes can change upward for a pro golfer.

Peter, now 34, lived in the Herman Melville whaling village of New Bedford, Massachusetts, and grew up under the tutelage of his father Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet Company. I know almost all of us contributed to Peter’s upbringing with our purchases of Titleist and Foot Joy products, 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.

New Bedford, Massachusetts-born and bred Peter Uihlein shown here in photo dated August 29, 2010, when he won the prestigious United States Amateur Championship at Chambers Bay, Washington. (PHOTO: USGA)

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 eight Top 10’s, and was named the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year. He won the Web.com Tour Finale in 2017, which propelled him onto the PGA Tour, where, in his first year, he won $1.8 million and finished No. 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 tour in June of 2022, where he first played on Brooks Koepka’s Smash GC team, then on Dustin Johnson’s 4Aces, before starting the 2024 season with Bubba Watson’s Range Goats. He has had 13 Top 24’s, eight Top 10’s, and three “Trips to the Podium” for his three 2nds. In his 26 events with LIV, 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 up with Peter on what’s happening in his world.

Leigh MacKay: How has life been treating you on the Liv Tour?

Peter Uihlein: 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.

LM: You had regained your card on the PGA Tour in 2022 but joined LIV in June. What influenced that decision?

Branden Grace of Stinger GC, Team Captain Dustin Johnson of 4 Aces GC and Peter Uihlein of Smash GC pose on the podium after being named the top three golfers for LIV Golf at the LIV Golf Invitational – Miami at Trump National Doral Miami on October 30, 2022. Photo (Eric Espada/Getty Images)

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.

LM: Did you discuss the decision with your dad?

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.

LM: What goals have you set for LIV Golf League?

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.

LM: What is the camaraderie like on the Range Goats? Do you enjoy the team concept? That you can wear shorts? That the tournaments are only 54 holes? That the tee time is a shotgun start?

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! 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.

LIV Golf’s Peter Uihlein sits down for a one-on-one interview with golf writer Leigh MacKay.

LM: Are you concerned at all whether the LIV Golf League will eventually get Official World Ranking Points? What are your feelings about the possible but not definitive LIV merger with the PGA Tour?

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.

LM: You have said that Ernie Els, who you followed growing up, is someone you greatly admire. Did you get to play with him often on the European Tour? What other pros did you get to play with, whom you also watched in your youth?

PU: I did get to play with Ernie, 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.

LM: With your yen for international travel what are your favorite courses around the globe?

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.

LIV Golf Miami signage displayed on course at LIV Golf Miami at Trump National Doral Miami April 5-7.

LM: Do you still root for the Bruins, Celtics, Patriots, and Red Sox as you did when you were a kid?

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.

LM: Final question, anything you would like to say to your many New England fans who have watched you develop into one of the best professional golfers in the world?

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. New England is a special part of the world for me.


(PHOTO CREDIT: Vicky 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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