Arthritis-hit Peter Whiteford ‘ecstatic’ to be in Scottish Open

The players who won spots in the ASI Scottish Open at Gullane (l to r): Conor O'Neil, Peter Whiteford, Duncan Stewart and Jamie Mcleary. Picture: Kenny Smith
The players who won spots in the ASI Scottish Open at Gullane (l to r): Conor O'Neil, Peter Whiteford, Duncan Stewart and Jamie Mcleary. Picture: Kenny Smith
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Peter Whiteford may be hampered at times with arthritis in both hips but he bounded into Gullane with a spring in his step after qualifying for this week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.

The 37-year-old Fifer held a European Tour card for five seasons in a row and lost in a play-off to Australian Brett Rumford in the Ballantine’s Championship in Korea in 2013. He also shared the lead heading into the final round of the weather-curtailed Scottish Open at Castle Stuart in 2011 before finishing eighth at the same venue the following year.

However, his last main Tour appearance was nearly two years ago and he’s not even played on the Challenge Tour this season, partly due to the fact he’s not capable physically and also because he’s working as an assistant PGA professional at Linlithgow.

“I’ve probably only played 10 rounds this year,” said Whiteford, pictured, who earned his spot in the $7 million Rolex Series event through a weekend qualifier at Longniddry.

“My boss, Calum Lawson, gave me the week off to get ready for the qualifier so 
I hit a lot of balls in preparation for that and also The Open qualifier.

“I hit the ball nicely at The Renaissance Club actually, a lot better than I did at Longniddry, so it was a bit disappointing not to do a bit better in that but Sunday definitely made up for that.

“Due to injuries, I’ll need to be careful how many balls I hit this week. That’s the reason, after all, that I had to stop playing in the first place. I’ve got arthritis in both hips and they get painful the more I practice, so I will have to try to do a good job managing my time this week.

“Look, I’d love to keep playing and there are times when I have sleepless nights thinking about whether or not I should be giving it a go again. But it’s not just about playing 18 holes. There’s all the practising you need to put in six days per week. It just became a waste of time for me in that respect but this week is definitely a bonus for me.”

Whiteford, who has career earnings of around £1.4 million, added: “I’m super ecstatic to be here. It will be nice to see a few old faces and my wife, Gabby, will be happy as she will be able to catch up with all the WAGS. It’s a chance to earn some money this week but career-wise it’s not the same as it used to be for me.”