Pat Perez enters this week 95th in the FedExCup standings. (Petersen/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
NORTON, Mass. -- The FedExCup Playoffs are all about survive and advance.
Pat Perez is looking at the big picture, though.
“It’s a do-or-die situation,” said Perez, 95th in the FedExCup standings coming into Deutsche Bank Championship. Only the top 70 after this week advance to the next event. “But if I get there, I get there. If I don’t, I don’t and get to go home for a month and then start back up.
“I’m looking forward to next year and getting some things figured out and having a great year next year.”
That’s not to suggest he wouldn’t like to make it to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, or next week’s BMW Championship. His bigger concern is improving his putting.
“My putting has been too damn inconsistent this year; it’s killed me,” said Perez, who spent all of Tuesday morning at TPC Boston working on his alignment. “If I putt well, I finish high. If I don’t, I don’t play well.”
To his point, Perez has missed the cut in each his last four starts after tying for sixth at The Greenbrier Classic in July.
For the year, Perez ranks 92nd in strokes gained-putting. From inside 5 feet, he’s 154th. He’s also outside the top 100 from 5-10 feet and 10-15 feet.
And even when he has played well, his putter has at times cost him.
Perez finished eighth at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance, but a few short missed putts early cost him later. The difference between, say, fourth in the tournament and where Perez finished was worth 47.5 FedExCup points, or about 10 spots in the current standings.
At this point, every little bit helps. Perhaps a return trip to TPC Boston -- a course Perez says he likes a lot -- will spark something.
Three times he has finished in the top 30 here, including in 2008, when he had three rounds in the 60s, and in 2009m when he carded a second-round 65.
But he'll need to do better than that this week to survive.
“At certain points, you have to make putts on the back nine,” Perez said. “I made them the week I won (in 2009) and that was the difference.”
It will also determine whether he stays in the Playoffs or not.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Pat Perez withdrew during Thursday's first round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial with a shoulder strain.
Perez, who started his round off the 10th tee, had played seven holes and was 2 over when he withdrew after making a par at the par-3 16th.
"He said he hurt his neck last week at the (HP Byron Nelson Championship) and he was in pain," said playing partner Brendon de Jonge. "You could see from the start. He tried to play through, but you could see he was hurting."
Perez was making his ninth career start at Colonial. He also had to withdraw in this event 10 years ago after the first round.
Perez enters the weekend two shots off the lead at Harbour Town. (Lecka/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- After a double bogey on the 16th hole Friday at Harbour Town, the old Pat Perez might have continued his slide and bogeyed his way in.
But this is the cooler, calmer Perez, who has been working this season with mental coach Chris Dorris in Phoenix.
The idea, Perez said, was to try to turn negatives into positives.
"It's hard, especially for me, because I've done it my whole life," Perez admitted. "But to say, 'That's not going to bring me down, let's try to make 5 instead of 6.' And the next hole it's basically done."
It worked Friday.
Perez parred each of his next two holes to shoot 71 and enters the weekend just two shots off the lead.
"I'm trying to stay level, which is always, for me, trying to stay on a high," Perez continued. "I've really worked hard on it this year. I don't have the ups and downs."
That was evident in more than just Friday's round, too.
After a double-bogey 7 on No. 5 in the opening round, Perez made par on the next hole. He then went on to make five birdies on the back nine to close in 31.
"I didn't really let it affect me," said Perez, who'd hit his second shot into the water on the 540-yard hole. "I just kind of laughed at it. I couldn't believe somebody could play a hole that bad and I did."
The rest of them, he played well.
Perez hit 11 of 14 fairways in each of the first two rounds and has just 52 total putts to go with 13 birdies so far.
Said Perez: "I didn't think I'd make a lot of birdies, but I seem to be hitting it closer than I ever have out here."
And staying calmer than ever when he hasn't.
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here .
2013 PREVIEW: Pat Perez's scoring average improved nearly half a stroke in 2012 yet he only had one top-10 finish, his lowest total in the last six years. Statistically, he was strikingly similar in driving distance, GIR and strokes-gained putting so figuring out why he didn't contend more often will be key next season.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: His low round was a 63 on Sunday at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation but it followed a 74 that was Perez's season in a nutshell. He did shoot three rounds in the 60s at the HP Byron Nelson Championship where the Arizona State product tied for ninth. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Pat plays with emotion and I can’t tell you if that helps or hurts him. I have seen him get mad and turn that anger into birdies. I have also seen it go the other way. Pat is an entertaining player to watch, he laughs a lot on the course and also shows frustration. You never have to guess his mood. One thing never in doubt, is his athletic ability. He is a very talented player. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: Logged eight of his nine top 25s by the first weekend in June, but would go on to earn just $1.064 million. Since establishing himself on the PGA TOUR, he's never really had to worry about his status, but he hasn't blown us away in salary games, either. Limit to his proven supporting role. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finish||T-9th||HP Byron Nelson Championship|
By the Numbers
Cuts made: 18
Rounds played: 77
Top-10 finishes: 1
Money List rank: 94th
Driving distance: 75th
Driving accuracy: 69th
Greens in regulation: 96th
Strokes gained-putting: 60th
Scoring average: 42nd
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
What is your prediction for Pat Perez in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know.
Check out the top five shots of the week from The Barclays, featuring highlights from Roberto Castro (ace), Rickie Fowler, Pat Perez, Tiger Woods, and winner Nick Watney.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Rory McIlroy romped to an eight-shot win at the PGA Championship thanks to some game-sharpening in the last few months with swing coach Michael Bannon and putting advisor Dave Stockton. A swing that had gotten just loose enough was tightened, and we saw the results.
The results were also helped by some key tweaks in his Titleist arsenal.
McIlroy led the field in driving distance at Kiawah Island with an impressive 311.5-yard average, all with a Titleist 913D3 prototype driver. McIlroy was first fit for the new driver last month at home in Ireland before the Irish Open, using his two-year-old 910D2 as a base point.
“This one just performs so much better,” McIlroy said at the Irish Open. “I’m getting less spin, which is great in the wind, and it carries 15 yards further in calm conditions.”
Think he knew with that quote that he was ready for The Ocean Course?
McIlroy’s other new additions include a 17-degree Titleist 910F 5-wood (with a Fujikura ZCom Pro 95 graphite shaft), first put into play two weeks ago at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. That replaced a 503i 2-iron he played at the British Open and an 18-degree 906F 5-wood he had in the bag since turning pro. McIlroy also had his 712 MB irons replaced at Firestone after the grooves were getting worn.
Besides leading the field in driving distance, McIlroy led the field in birdies (20), was 10th in putting average (1.688) and 13th in greens in regulation (67 percent).
MAJOR WRAP: McIlroy also played a Titleist ProV1x ball, joining Bubba Watson (Masters) and Webb Simpson (U.S. Open) as major winners with the ProV1x. Ernie Els won the British Open with a Callaway Hex Black Tour. As far as winners’ full product lines, Titleist owned half the major count with McIlroy and Simpson, while Watson carries Ping and Els is with Callaway.
CRISIS AVERTED: Would you be nervous if your longtime putter broke during a Tuesday match before the year’s final major? That’s what happened to Keegan Bradley when his Odyssey belly putter, “The Tooth”, snapped while playing with Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler.
During play, the “spud” broke, a piece that secures the putterhead to the shaft. Fortunately, an Odyssey rep at Kiawah came to the rescue and used the old shaft with a new White Hot XG Sabertooth head. Voila, the “Tooth 2.”
“No worries at all,” Bradley said last week. “It’s amazing, with my old shaft it looks the exact same, there’s no difference.
Bradley and the Tooth 2 finished T3 at the PGA.
MORE NEW STUFF: Pat Perez, in the picture at the PGA for the first two rounds before finishing T21, used a new TaylorMade Ghost Spider prototype putter. … Peter Hanson finished T7 with the same Ghost Spider prototype and a new 18-degree TaylorMade Rescue 11.
WINNER’S BAG: McIlroy at the PGA
Driver: Titleist 913D3 (Mitsubishi Diamana proto 70X, 8.5 degrees)
Fairway woods: Titleist 906F2 (13 degrees), Titleist 910F (17 degrees)
Irons: Titleist MB (3-9)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM4 (46, 54, 60 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron GSS
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
This Sunday is Father’s Day. Each day this week, PGATOUR.COM will take a look at some unique father-son moments involving PGA TOUR pros. Here is today’s Ultra Father-Son Moment presented by Michelob Ultra:
For Pat Perez, having his dad announce him on the first tee at Torrey Pines as a professional golfer was a very special father-son moment.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- Pat Perez wasn't exactly having an out-of-body experience Friday at Riviera.
Perez didn't feel particularly well, though -- at least not until he got down to business and two-putted from 56 feet at the first hole. That birdie was the first of five Perez made at Riviera on the way to a 65 that left him one shot behind Phil Mickelson after two rounds of the Northern Trust Open.
Even after he signed his scorecard, though, Perez said he wasn't exactly sure how he managed to go so low.
"I woke up this morning, didn't really feel that good, and I
told my caddie on the range, I can't really feel my body,”
Perez said. “My body feels weird, I don't know what's going
on. I don't know if it was breakfast or what, but I don't feel that
great. We'll see what happens.
"I birdied (No.) 1 and hit some pretty good shots. Didn't hit it great, I just putted pretty well. That was about it."
The 65, which matched Jarrod Lyle for the low of the tournament so far, landed Perez in Saturday's final group. The last time he played with Mickelson was at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, and "I lost," Perez was quick to point out before adding one caveat.
"I'm not playing him," he said. "Obviously he's playing well, and I'm going to have to play awful well to beat him this weekend. I'm not worried about him. It'll be fun to play with him, but you know, I know that I have to play well out there to beat everybody else, as well."
Perez only hit five fairways on Friday but still managed to find 12 greens in regulation. He was opportunistic when he got there, too, using just 25 putts to rank first in distance of putts made and fourth in strokes gained putting.
"I didn't hit it like you'd think I would," Perez conceded. "I didn't drive it all that great. I just scrambled well. I put myself in the right places to make par or birdie."
Perez has made the cut in his first five starts, three times finishing in the top 25, and he ranks 29th in the FedExCup. He credits his consistent play to the switch to the belly putter he made last October at the suggestion of his good friend, Tommy Armour III.
"(He) was all over me for a year to change, and I didn't want to try it," Perez said. "I've tried some before, but I didn't really like it. I didn't get the right one. We went down to Cabo, and he was down there with it, and he was all over me on it. You know, it was just incredible how the ball rolled and how I was just making everything. I said, well, I'll try it.
"... It was really nothing that stopped me from doing it, but once I got comfortable with it, it was great."