ASM Interview: PGA Golfer Pat Perez - page 3

By Chris Bello on December 31, 2005

Pat Perez, pictures, picture, photos, photo, pics, pic, images, image, PGA, tour, golf, pro, golferASM: What's changed since your rookie season? You've really gone from a green 20-something to that next level player. What have the last four seasons taught you — about being on Tour and what it takes to succeed?

Perez: More discipline and more desire. I'm five years into it now and I've learned a lot being out here. I'm always thinking of ways to work on my game. I never relax. I can't. It's not my nature. The longer you're out here the more you realize what it takes not only to just keep your Card, but what it takes to be great. You know you need to be on top of your game 100 percent so you can compete week in and week out with the best in the world.

ASM: John Daly was recently asked who his closest friend on the PGA Tour is and he named you. How did that relationship come about? You went from mentor and pupil your first season to now calling yourselves peers and friends.

Perez: It just kind of happened. I guess he saw a lot of me in him. He's had his share of bad press, being misunderstood, whatever. We caught up early in my rookie season (2002) a few weeks after Pebble Beach that year. He reached out to me at the Bob Hope and a week later we played a practice round at the Phoenix Open. He invited me to a BBQ that night at his RV and that became a trend that season. I spent a lot of time just hanging out on his bus, chatting and getting to become good buds my first few years out here. Him and Todd Fischer are probably the guys I hang out with most on the road. One thing I'm really trying to take from him is his patience. He has this ability to not let things bother him. He always tells me to just slow down and to enjoy it more out there. Don't sweat the small stuff. I'm still trying to get my arms around that, though.

ASM: Jason Gore surprised a lot of people on Tour last year after winning a few Nationwide tourneys. The two of you have been friends for years. He lost his Tour card soon after you earned yours and he hit a rough patch. There's been talk that you logged some serious cell phone minutes talking with him and getting his spirits up. What were you telling him in a lot of those late-night calls?

Perez: Gore lost his card in 2003 and he was headed to the Buy.com tourney in Boise. He'll be the first to tell you he was playing horribly. He called and said he needed to talk — and ninety minutes later we got him where he needed to be mentally. Sometimes that's what it takes — a good chat with a bro who's going at the same pace as you and chasing the same dream. It seemed like he was almost being too 'proper' you know? Befriending a lot of guys to the point where he was almost losing his competitive edge. I just reaffirmed to him that he had the game to go out there and beat all of them. It wasn't personal — just get after it. Play his game. It's a competition — get out there and compete. After that he went out and won back-to-back tourneys and it was on. Obviously 2005 was his breakout year. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

ASM: Are you working with any players currently? Last time I was in Scottsdale you had some Nationwide and Gateway Tour guys over the house — as well as some alums and former teammates from your 1996 National Championship team at Arizona State.

Perez: I'm not really working with anyone. I'm just trying to help some of the guys. My brother Mike moved to Scottsdale earlier in the year and lives down the road. He played on the Gateway Tour last year and got to third stage (Q-school) this year. I tell him to bring the guys over for BBQs and to just hang out. My place sort of has that bachelor pad feel. Pool, hot tub, fire pit, pool table, plasma screens, video games and what not. The guys will ask me to help them with some aspect of their game. I'll hook them up with clubs, balls, clothes — whatever. I know how it is. It wasn't too long ago that I would have appreciated the advice or equipment. It's the same with a handful of guys from the Arizona State days when I was there — Scott Johnson and a few others. Some of them are still local and are either on the Gateway or Nationwide Tour, trying to make it to the PGA. I'll lean into them a little bit about the work ethic, if it's lacking. There's a lot to do out here in Scottsdale, but that doesn't mean you need to hit the bars every night. If you want to make it, you have to sacrifice some. Give up some things. Get out of that comfort zone. They all personally have to determine just how bad they want it. Some guys get comfortable in their lifestyle. Do they just want to make enough to get by, or do they want to be that next level guy... make the Tour, make the big money, etc.? I tell them you can't be afraid to succeed. Embrace it. Make it happen. Nothing should be more important in their lives than trying to earn their PGA Tour card. Go out and have fun after they've accomplished their goals — not before.