So, to realise he waited for just 23 tournaments to win for the third time - at the 2017 CIMB Classic to kick off his 2017-18 campaign - cements a level of pride that Perez doesn’t even try to hide. In his 16th season, Perez had qualified for the 2017 TOUR Championship for the first time, a 41-yearold trying to keep up with the mega-powerful generation nearly half his age.
“My game’s a lot harder to play than Dustin Johnson’s or Jason Day’s or Justin Thomas’s - guys who fly it 320,” said Perez. “If you look at some of the players I beat, I’ll take that as hell of a compliment.”
His win at TPC Kuala Lumpur in October of 2017 was followed by a stretch of stellar work - a fifth in South Korea at the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES, a share of fourth in Hawaii at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and later in April a second-place finish in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans team event.
Thus, after having played 15 years without a TOUR Championship berth, Perez just missed making it a second straight appearance - further proof that the rejuvenation of his career is one of golf’s nice stories, one that is rooted in a maturation process that he doesn’t deny “took a lot longer to develop” than with most people.
“I just have a new perspective on life,” said Perez, who recently played well in Carnoustie (tie for 17th) in just his fifth chance at The Open Championship. That is one of the new perks to this new-found success, the opportunity to play in the Majors, and Perez doesn’t take it lightly. Not after a big chunk of time (seven seasons, 2010-16) when he teed it up in just three of 28 Major championships, not when guys of his generation - 48-year-old Phil Mickelson and 42-year-old Tiger Woods - have done so much more.
No, sir. The “new” Pat Perez remembers very well how the “old” Pat Perez made things so much more difficult than they needed to be. And the “new” Pat Perez, who along with his wife, Ashley, recently welcomed the birth of their first child, Piper, in September, recalls how the “old” Pat Perez was less enthusiastic about embracing responsibilities.
It is all a part of who he is on this late roll of success. The arrival of his child might very well alter his schedule for early in 2018-19, but Perez is committed to enjoying the ride and maintaining perspective.
“I’m just a 42-year-old guy who had a great year for once (2016-17) and I’m just hoping to continue and see how much better I can get,” he said.