January 23, 2014
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- Perez had five birdies and no bogeys in the opening round at Torrey Pines. (Laberge/Getty Images)
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Pat Perez has been on the PGA TOUR for 12 years but Thursday said it feels like it's only been about 12 weeks.
Translation: He's excited again.
"I would like to make the next 12 (years) a lot better," Perez said after an opening-round 67 at the Farmers Insurance Open, where he's three shots off the lead. "Everything is kind of just coming together."
Perez changed equipment in the offseason (from TaylorMade to Callaway), has a new coach (Joe Mayo), a new agent and is engaged again.
Mayo has been as big a factor as anyone.
Prior to working with the instructor, Perez never really had an understanding of the physics of his swing.
Mayo, who Brian Gay credited in his own win at PGA West a year ago, began working with Perez late last year after a chance meeting at TPC Scottsdale. The light bulb went off for Perez.
"I had always gotten kind of pieces of what the swing is supposed to be like and I always kind of went off of feeling, which was OK but it wasn't the complete swing," Perez said. "Joe has really made me understand in the last two and a half months why things do what they do.
"Now I've really kind of rededicated myself to hitting it better. I think I can actually get better now understanding this stuff."
It showed Thursday.
Perez was bogey-free on Torrey Pines' South Course, and he was just one of three players in the 60s on the more difficult of the two venues in play this week.
"It's just time," Perez said, speaking about his game.
Perhaps it is.
Two weeks ago, Perez tied for eighth in Hawaii. In his last start before that, he finished 16th in Mexico.
Though he has had a string of top-25 finishes here, he has never won this tournament.
"I don't think my time is anywhere near the end," Perez said. "I feel stronger, better than I have ever. I've got a whole new focus and understanding and things are coming together in my life now that everything feels great."