Senden and son ready to tackle Queensland PGA - PGA of Australia

Senden and son ready to tackle Queensland PGA

If John Senden cops a bad break during the Queensland PGA Championship this week in Brisbane, turning to his caddie for sympathy may not help.

If anything, a putt that doesn’t break, a lip he doesn’t clear or a less-than-ideal lie in the rough pales in comparison to what his caddie has been through the past six years merely to carry a bag around Nudgee Golf Club.

Because Senden’s caddie this week is his 19-year-old son Jacob, who six years ago faced the fight of his life when he was diagnosed with brain cancer.

Senden is not making his first start in the Queensland PGA for more than 25 years for ceremonial purposes or to forge memories with his son he feared they would never get to share, but he has a reminder close at hand just how fortunate they are to be doing this together at all.

“There was some time back then when we didn’t know whether he was going to make it,” Senden said on Wednesday.

“Being together this week has definitely been an inspiration for me especially, and for other kids out there watching him grow over the last six years.

“He’s got stronger and stronger every year with great doctors and great medical in the US and also another couple of doctors out here in Australia.

“He’s been looking good and feeling like he needs to take it by the horns now and go and live his life.”

Having graduated from high school in Dallas, Jacob is now taking a year to experience the world before refocusing his attention on further study.

With friends considering their own careers in professional golf, Jacob has not ruled out more caddieing in future but for now will lug the bag for Dad both this week and at next week’s Nova Employment Australian Senior PGA Championship.

And while he might get the odd gentle reminder from Dad about where to stand and how to proceed under certain rules, Jacob brings a unique perspective and infectious attitude that makes any poor golf shot easy to forget.

“You can either see it positively or you can see it negatively and for me, I always saw it in the positive way,” said Jacob.

“Whether it was a joke that I could have died yesterday or could die tomorrow, died and came back to life. I just made it a real build-up moment for me.

“The famous saying is with lemons make lemonade. I use lemons to make lemonade and put some extra sugar in to spice it up a bit more.”

When Jacob was first diagnosed, Senden stopped playing for the first time in his career.

In some ways he is still trying to recapture the form that he had prior to taking 18 months off but is determined to get back to his best.

He will use his career moneylist exemption on the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia to play both the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship and ISPS HANDA Australian Open and sees the next month as a chance to play his way into form that he can take back to the Champions Tour in the US in 2024.

“I want to play as long as I want to,” said Senden, the 2006 Australian Open winner who lost the 1997 Queensland PGA in a playoff to Lucas Parsons.

“I feel like if I’m fit enough to play and the form’s good I’ll keep on trying to go out there and play with the Champions Tour guys in the US.

“I always enjoy playing in Australia. That’s something that has always been a bucket list for me, coming back to Australia and doing the job.

“I feel like the golf courses in Australia are fantastic and I love playing at home.

“Why not come out here and give it your best shot?”

The Queensland PGA Championship tees off from 6.25am AEST Thursday morning at Nudgee Golf Club.

Round 1 draw

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