First bursting onto the scene as an amateur at the 2006 Australian Masters, Aaron Pike took 12 years to win his first professional event. But the talented Queenslander didn’t take long to add a second, winning the NT PGA last October. Here, Pike talks winning at home, cooking, cricket and his friendship with Jason Day.
Missing your debut at The Open but winning at the course you grew up at must have made for a surreal year.
It is easy to get lost in the what ifs, but that is not going to help me. Although I don’t pretend that these things don’t exist, I wasn’t able to let myself to go down that rabbit hole.
Winning Darwin, irrelevant to the year or the time we are going through would have been incredible, but in 2020 even though it wasn’t a 100 percent full field, the players that were there were top notch.
You had to beat one of your best mates (Michael Sim) in a playoff, what was that experience like?
He was staying at my family home. It was a bit weird, but in all honesty Simmy and I have been playing each other for a can of Coke, $5 or lunch for years on Tour, and I know it might sound a bit stupid but it was exactly the same.
You have done a lot of work on your mental game, is that something you are taking as great preparation for the future?
Absolutely. Heading up to Darwin, I spoke to a few people and they asked how the game was. I told them that my coach and I are working so hard at the moment, I am playing and I am going to try my absolute best but golf game wise I am not where I want to be.
But I immediately turned that around and said: ‘What I have been doing is working on the mental side of things so much more so than I have in the past and my only goal for the week is to do my absolute best possible job I can do mentally’.
Although I never want to discredit the people I was playing against, I feel like many would have played better that week golf-wise but mentally, that was the best I have ever been.
Yourself and Jason Day are good friends, so too his caddie Luke. You have gone over and visited them a few times. Does seeing how hard Jason works, but also the life he has, help to drive you?
Seeing what Jason’s achieved on the golf course and subsequently achieved off the golf course, I could never ever begrudge him, because I have never seen anyone in any professional sport work as hard.
To see what he has done, and to know that I probably never worked as hard as what he did early on, never pushed as hard and did the things that he did, I know sort of why I am where I am now.
There still is time and you can still do those things, but I have a level of admiration for him, because you meet the guy and you don’t even realise that he is worth what he is or that he has done what he has done.
And now I get to pick the brain of a former World No.1, a major champion, top-20 all-time money list.
You rate yourself pretty highly in the kitchen, what’s your best dish?
You’re not wrong, I do rate myself (laughs). I love to just tinker and mess around with things, so some of the things I have made once and never been able to replicate.
I love slow cooking meat and I love doing my own dry rubs and glazes. My Asian-style pork belly, is top notch. Or my honey mustard, slow roasted pork fillet.
Finally, you were a promising leg spinner as a kid but chose golf, looking back, are you happy you made the right call?
In all honesty, probably 10 years back I actually thought about potentially going back and playing a little bit.
It was probably Dean Jones, a good friend and mentor to me, he said ‘Look, I’m not going to tell what you should or shouldn’t do, but you’re unbelievable at golf and I think it would be a travesty if you walked away from it and didn’t give it everything you could’.
And that is probably a reason why I am doing the things I am now mentally and physically to try and change that.