TOP 30 PLAYERS TO WATCH
No. 22: Pat Perez
It took longer than some expected, but he finally has found the groove with his game
December 09, 2017
- December 09, 2017
Inside the PGA TOUR
Pat Perez posts career season in 2016-17 on a medical exemption
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
Pat Perez is an overnight success story, 20 years in the making.
That explanation makes as much sense as anything else when you delve into why Perez, 41, is just hitting his stride at an age when others start eyeing PGA TOUR Champions eligibility.
“I'm such a different person than I was 17 years ago, even like five years ago,” Perez said after winning the CIMB Classic in Malaysia on Oct. 15, his second TOUR win in less than a year. “I'm learning how to play the game and learning how to play my own game and stay within myself and that kind of stuff.
“I'm a late bloomer.”
Perez seemed like a can’t-miss kid when he beat Tiger Woods by eight shots in winning the 1993 Junior World Championship at Torrey Pines. But something always got in the way, and today Perez would call that something immaturity.
But the tipping point came when he underwent shoulder surgery in March of 2016. He lost his equipment contract, and when he got healthy and received a sponsor’s exemption into the no-cut CIMB Classic nearly eight months later, he was determined to prove the doubters wrong and make the most of his second chance.
He did. Perez knocked the rust off at TPC Kuala Lumpur to start his 2017 season; finished T7 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas; and won the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.
The rest is history.
Newly eligible for all four majors, the World Golf Championships and the TOUR Championship, Perez did have one unchecked box on his to-do list last season: He failed to make the U.S. Presidents Cup team.
Oh, well. There’s no sense in peaking too early. Now that he’s in full bloom, he should have plenty of other opportunities.
BY THE NUMBERS
How Pat Perez ranked in Strokes Gained statistics during his last full season on the PGA TOUR.
Current 2017-18 position: 2nd
Playoff appearances: 10
TOUR Championship appearances: 1
Best result: 15th (2017)
INSIGHTS FROM THE INSIDERS
PGATOUR.COM’s Insiders offer their expert views on what to expect from Pat Perez in 2018.
TOUR INSIDER by Ben Everill
How can you not love the renaissance that is Pat Perez? Seemingly left for dead by fans and sponsors once a shoulder injury derailed him 18 months ago, Perez has pulled himself off the canvas with two wins inside a 12-month period. The OHL Classic win last fall kick-started it all but the CIMB Classic win this fall might have been even more impressive. Perez refuses to ride into the sunset quietly. He’s primed to teach the youngsters a few more lessons yet.
FANTASY INSIDER by Rob Bolton
As much as he's rewritten expectations not to dismiss a 41-year-old post-shoulder surgery, he's reminded us that some molds are unique. How apropos. The three-time PGA TOUR winner who happily beats to his own drum aligns exceptionally well with the counterculture that exists in fantasy sports. You want him on your team and you need him on your team. Best of all, he's shown no signs of slowing down.
EQUIPMENT INSIDER by Jonathan Wall
Perez added the company's 0341X 3-wood the week he won the CIMB Classic, as he liked the penetrating ball flight it produced during testing. Only member of PXG's staff playing the company's game-improvement 0311XF model (3-4), in addition to 0311 mid and short irons (5-PW). Prefers the bounce and offset the XF model provides.
STYLE INSIDER by Greg Monteforte
Perez marches to his own beat. This is reflected in his unique style. His William Murray Golf threads, Jordan kicks, flat brim lids, and long, flowing hair help him to stand out from the crowd. You do you, Pat.