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ASM Interview: PGA Golfer Pat Perez

By Chris Bello on December 31, 2005

Pat Perez, pictures, picture, photos, photo, pics, pic, images, image, PGA, tour, golf, pro, golferPGA Tour star Pat Perez worked his tail off to get where he is today. The road to stardom certainly did not happen overnight for this four-year veteran. If anything, this journey began when he picked up his first club as a 3-year-old and will continue until he tops that leader board consistently. A born perfectionist and competitor, Perez has that hunger to win — and win often.

Sacrifice, dedication and hard work were the recipe for his success. That along with a boatload of confidence that stems from a healthy dose of personal faith. Perez rolled the dice and left the game for a short while in the late '90s, getting a job as there were bills to pay and not enough time to dedicate to the game he loved. He did so knowing he'd be back — and within a year, he was.

Perez fought through the adversity, made his breaks and a few years later found himself in the most elite of elite groups; a card-carrying member of the PGA Tour.

I know all this because I'm fortunate enough to have witnessed the inspirational journey first-hand. I've known 'Double P' almost ten years now. After his stint at Arizona State, we were roommates in San Diego for three years and remain the closest of friends.

I witnessed his life on the road during the years (now called the Nationwide Tour.) I saw him grind it out in even smaller tournaments — doing all he could to play the game he loves for a living. Driving from San Diego to Vancouver for a Canadian Tour event, only to drive home a day later and hop a flight across the country because he learned he had conditional status in a tourney.

Pardon the pun, but stories and situations like that were par for the course as Perez did everything in his power to earn a spot on the PGA Tour.

Every smaller tournament was a stepping-stone to the main stage. Nothing was going to stop him from getting to the big show. This kid has always had the fire and is primed for a breakout season in 2006. Bank on it.

Over the past four years, the rest has become history.

In December 2001, Perez was the medalist at Q-school and he earned his PGA Tour card — beating out hundreds of other determined players. Since then, thirteen top ten finishes — seven of those in the top five and a two-time runner up. Most impressive last season was a tie for sixth at the PGA Championship — a Major which Perez had a legitimate shot at winning down the stretch.

I sat down with Double P to discuss his goals heading into his fifth season on the PGA Tour, his rededication to fitness, his generous heart regarding up-and-coming players on smaller tours, as well as which off season Major League Baseball buddies have the least game on the course.

ASM: Tell me a little bit about Q-school in 2000 versus 2001. I recall your disappointment after third stage in 2000 and you vowing to earn your card the next year.

Perez: As crazy as it sounds, I literally visualized it happening. I think I finished somewhere around 26th on the Tour in 2001 with conditional status. Only the top fifteen get their PGA Tour card, so I was exempt from first stage and headed up to Seaside (up near Pebble Beach) for second stage. I played Blackhorse and finished second there. A week later I headed down to West Palm Beach with my coach, Mike Owen. Within a week, I was the Medalist and finally had my card. 2000 was a disappointment, because I came so close and really expected to get it done that year, but fell short. I won the 2000 Ozarks Open ( Tour) and was mentally prepared to get my card going into 2001. When I didn't, I put it in my head that I'd be on the PGA Tour in 2002 and never looked back. I didn't want to grind it out on the Tour again. I was ready for the next level.