Date: December 17, 2012
Author: Steve Orme at Coolum, Omnisport

Popovic does it for his dad

Daniel Popovic says his father Radi&aposs battle with terminal bone cancer put golf firmly in perspective as he attempted to seal his life-changing victory at the Australian PGA Championship on Sunday. The world No.1251 showed tremendous courage throughout a dramatic final round to claim the prestigious Kirkwood Cup by four shots over Rod Pampling and Anthony Brown. He bounced back from a disastrous double bogey at the par-three 8th with birdies at the 12th and 17th holes to card a three-under 69 and complete a rare wire-to-wire victory at the Palmer Coolum Resort. Speaking after his final round, an emotional Popovic revealed he thought of his dad constantly during the biggest round of his golfing life and drew strength from his old man&aposs courage. “Because of what he is going through at the moment, I&aposll come home from a bad round of golf or something and say &aposgolf is so hard&apos but he just says &aposlook what I&aposm going through, you&aposve got nothing on what I&aposm dealing with&apos,” Popovic said. “And it puts everything into perspective when I think about that. (I didn&apost think about him) over every single putt but when I doubted myself I got that thought in my head and that brought me back on track. “That&aposs all I was telling myself all day, &aposthis isn&apost difficult&apos. That putt on 17 that was such a difficult putt but I was telling myself that &aposthis isn&apost difficult, you can do this&apos. “That is the difference of why I am so confident and do back myself and do push myself so hard on the golf course now.” Asked what his win will mean for his dad, Popovic, replied: “For him it&aposs going to be a relief and he said he is so proud of me and so is my mum … he is going to be over the moon and I cannot wait to give him a big bear hug.” On top of his $225,000 winner&aposs cheque, the 26-year-old&aposs breakout performance earned him a five-year exemption on the Australasian and One Asia Tours, as well as entry to the WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club next July. While yet to finalise his 2013 schedule, Popovic is considering returning to Europe, where he played the third-tier tour this year, in a bid to achieve his ultimate goal of reaching the US PGA Tour. “2013 is going to be completely different to what I had planned two weeks ago. Two weeks ago I entered Q-School (for the PGA Tour of Australasia) for next season and was thinking I would just play one tour because of my father&aposs illness,” he said. “But now next year is just going to be bigger and better and hopefully he keeps pushing on as well. “I&aposll play every single tournament that I can, try to win every tournament that I play in obviously and just keep grinding away and try to get to the eventual goal. “My goal with golf is to win a major championship in the world and I don&apost feel it is that far off. “Mentally I&aposm there but there are a couple of things with my game that I do need to improve on such as chipping and pitching. “I&aposm going to walk away from this week thinking &aposI&aposm not too far off, if I keep doing the right thing I&aposm going to get there&apos.”