(Pat Perez Golf)
I WELCOME BACK PAT PEREZ TO ARMCHAIR GOLF. Currently ranked 58th in the world and 50th in FedEx Cup points, Double P is having another solid year on tour that includes two top tens and about $800,000 in earnings after 13 events.
That said, Pat is looking to kick it up a notch or two. Following is what he told me about his off-season, health, game and life on tour.
ARMCHAIR GOLF: What was the takeaway from 2007, your sixth season on tour?
PAT PEREZ: I got more comfortable being in the hunt, after six years. I actually learned to enjoy the thrill of the hunt when I was near the lead. Taking advantage of my opportunities. Closing things out. It’s a lot more fun that way instead of overthinking shots and letting everything get to you.
ARMCHAIR GOLF: Any highlights from the off-season?
PAT PEREZ: It was a while back now, but no real highlights. Just gearing up for another season. The time flies by so quickly. Family and friends come out to Scottsdale to visit. It’s just time to decompress and catch up with the people I don’t get to see all year when I’m on the road.
Installed a new gym set up in my house as I was starting to work out with Joey Diovisalvi and I knew he was going to kick my ass. Had a small set up, but needed to revamp things so I took over one of my spare rooms and made it a full-on gym this time around.
ARMCHAIR GOLF: How’s the elbow?
PAT PEREZ: Elbow is better. Haven’t had any issue in a long time, thankfully.
ARMCHAIR GOLF: How’s your physical conditioning, in general?
PAT PEREZ: Better than it’s ever been. Seriously. Joey beats the hell out of me, in a good way. The guy is as intense as they come and is 1000% committed. He wants me in better shape than I even want myself, I’m sure. A lot of focus on stretching and staying limber –- but with the same intensity every time. Doesn't matter if I have to go early and we’re working at 4 a.m. or if it’s early evening after playing 18.
He’ll kill me if I get this wrong, but it’s sort of a “power training workout,” something like that. He designed a program for me to get the most out of my game. Building up strength to produce the best shots. A lot of bandwork, rotation, a lot of chest/back stuff, squats, quads and hamstrings, core training. He really focuses on the “fast twitch” muscles and building extra speed.
ARMCHAIR GOLF: This is the second straight year you’ve started strong at the Sony Open. Is it the course, the start of a new season, both?
PAT PEREZ: I’ve always liked the Sony, and after being home for a month in December I get cabin fever and am ready to get back out there and compete again. I like the course, but I also think it’s just a great way to kick off the season –- winter in Hawaii and back on tour competing again.
ARMCHAIR GOLF: How many events do you plan to play in 2008? Any favorites on the schedule?
PAT PEREZ: I’m going to play a ton. I played something like 27 last year and that should be the case again in 2008. I definitely dig the Buick (Torrey Pines), the British, PGA Championship and the Colonial. This year it’s all about the U.S. Open. I have to get in there. That’s the biggest of the bigs for me. Back home in San Diego, that’s my main goal in life right now.
I need to be top 50 by the Memorial and I’ll be in. I need to pull that off. Every week counts between now and then and I can’t imagine not playing that one. I’m also busting my ass to make the Ryder Cup team. That’s another long-time dream of mine and could be a reality if I get some things done. I need to play well in the majors this year, get higher in the points standings. A win would solidify it, but even without that I need to keep busting my ass out here every week. Every round counts.
ARMCHAIR GOLF: What would it mean to you to play the U.S. Open in your hometown (Torrey Pines)?
PAT PEREZ: Everything. Seriously.
ARMCHAIR GOLF: What are your working on?
PAT PEREZ: Trying to hit it straight, always.
ARMCHAIR GOLF: You’re a veteran who has now gone around the circuit several times, put in the practice and travel time, learned the courses, signed the autographs. What keeps you excited about the tour and the game?
PAT PEREZ: Being in the hunt. Playing in the big events. Trying to climb in the World Rankings and in the FedEx Cup points. I’m competitive in everything I do, so to get to “compete” at something for a living is intense. Being on the tour itself is exciting. I love the lifestyle, the doors it opens and the people you come across. I’m still amazed how many people love golf. Aside from the average fans, the actors, rock stars, pro athletes –- it’s crazy.
More Pat Perez here:
2007 interview, part 1
2007 interview, part 2
-The Armchair Golfer
(Special thanks to Chris Bello at Pat Perez Golf for coordinating this interview.)