PGATour.com Talks About Perez’ Swing Change

PGATour.com’s Brian Wacker did a write-up on Pat Perez and some off-season swing changes. Perez began working with coach Joe Mayo by chance last December, with TrackMan technology proving to be the missing link in the Tour veteran’s game:

In Pat Perez’s first dozen years on the PGA TOUR he had no understanding of why he hit the shots he hit  a shocking admission for a guy who once dusted Tiger Woods by eight shots at Junior Worlds and who has gone on to have some of the best ball-striking skills in the game.

But in golf bad shots are going to happen, and when they began to pile up for Perez, his blood would boil and internal thermometer spike, which would sometimes lead to a club being spiked, too. The mercury nearly burst last year in Las Vegas, where Perez missed the cut by eight.

“When I left Las Vegas, I really didn’t know whether I could even play anymore,” Perez said. “I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.”

Worse yet he didn’t know how to fix it. Not exactly a comfortable feeling when hitting golf balls is your job.

“It was so frustrating to hit bad shots and not understand why you hit them,” Perez said. “If you don’t know why it’s insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Not knowing how to fix it would drive me nuts, and that’s (part of) why I’d get so pissed.”

Then Perez met Joe Mayo, a self-proclaimed TrackMan maestro who teamed with Grant Waite three years ago to help teach players the physics of ball flight.

Mayo, who grew up playing baseball, basketball and volleyball, didn’t start paying golf until he was 18. Less than a decade later, however, he quit the game when he saw little improvement despite countless hours of lessons.

Then in 2007 after moving back to Tennessee when his father was diagnosed with cancer, Mayo was reading about an application of Doppler technology that had the capability to measure golf club movement in time and three-dimensional space. He always had an interest in physics and mathematics and the new product proved a perfect marriage to re-kindle his love for the game.

Mayo had met Waite through a mutual friend and eventually Perez late last year when their paths crossed at TPC Summerlin. Mayo was working with Jeff Quinney when Quinney asked Perez if he wouldn’t mind hitting some shots using TrackMan. Seeing Perez’s natural speed in his swing, Mayo told Perez that he could make him a better player.

“I’ve heard that speech a million times,” Perez recalls telling Mayo. “But I thought it couldn’t get any worse.”

He had just missed four straight cuts in his last five events, including the one in Las Vegas. What he quickly discovered through Mayo was that he was a whopping eight degrees out-to-in on his swing, which in layman’s terms is a lot for a TOUR player and was causing an inconsistency that forced Perez to use his gifted hand-eye coordination to make up for such a big gap.

“(Joe) made a couple quick changes and in 10 minutes (Pat) was flushing it,” said Perez’s longtime caddie Mike Hartford. “It literally all happened that day.”

Added Mayo: “I’ve seen a remarkable change. Everybody has always known about his physical talent, but he also has the unique ability to adapt quickly.”

What has happened since is that Perez has not only gained an understanding of why his golf ball goes where it does but he has in turn been more consistent and on occasion put himself in contention.

Perez tied for eighth at Waialae in January and two weeks later finished runner-up at Torrey Pines. He has since added four more finishes in the top 20 and arrives in Charlotte  where he held the 36-hole lead three years ago before finishing sixth  having made 12 straight cuts, the longest streak of his career.

There have been some individual moments of greatness that have stood out, too.

Like when he shot a final-round 64 on a windswept morning at Harbour Town two weeks ago. Among his shots that day was a 4-iron approach into the teeth of it on the difficult finishing hole, where Perez made par and executed the type of swing he wouldn’t have been able to last season.

Perez’s putting has also dramatically improved and one could certainly theorize whatever improvements he has made with his full swing have taken at least some pressure off his short game.

“For first time ever he finally understands his golf swing,” Hartford said. “We can come up with a game plan whereas before it was sort of like we just went with what we had that day.

“Now he can hit pretty much any shot. This is the best I’ve ever seen him play.”

Other factors — new equipment and a new fiancée, whom he’ll get married to later this year  have played a role, too. But as the cliché goes, knowing is half the battle.

“It’s helped my mental approach because now I actually understand,” Perez said. “It’s got me in a nicer peace of mind. I know I’m close to winning.”

Which is a lot more than he has known the last dozen years.

 

Tee Times & Perez’ History At Quail Hollow

PGA Tour professional Pat Perez is back in action at this week’s Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina this week. 

Perez was last in action at the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, South Carolina two weeks back—the highlight being a Sunday round of 64 in some pretty rough conditions. 

Perez enters this week 35th in FedExCup standings and 104th in the Official World Golf Rankings.

In twelve previous years on the PGA Tour, Perez has played the Charlotte event as Quail Hollow ten of the past eleven seasons—the past three as the Wells Fargo. 

Perez finished T32nd last year, but missed the cut in 2012. Before that, a career-best T6th run in 2011. 

As the Quail Hollow Championship, Perez missed a cut (2010) and wrapped T65th (2009).

The previous six seasons, Perez was T12th (2008), missed cut (2007), didn’t play (2006), missed cut (2005), T21st (2004) and missed cut (2003). He didn’t play the event as a rookie in 2002. 

Perez tees off #1 at 8:40 a.m. ET on Thursday, paired with Troy Matteson and Jamie Donaldson. Friday’s go-around has Perez going off #10 at 2:05 p.m. ET.  

Follow all the action here, at PGATour.com and @PatPerezGolf on Twitter, where #TeamDoubleP will live-tweet the round.  

 

PatPerezGolf.com: Throwback Thursday

PGA Tour professional Pat Perez coming correct with another gem for Throwback Thursday here at PatPerezGolf.com. This shot is another mid-1980s classic, with a shirtless Perez swinging around his oversized Prince tennis racquet—somewhere around La Costa in North County San Diego, most likely. Check back next week for another Throwback Thursday classic at PPG.

Perez Fires Final Round 64 At RBC Heritage

Pat Perez didn’t pick up a win at this year’s RBC Heritage, but when it’s all said and done arguably put together one of the tournaments best rounds with a final round 64 on Sunday—under tougher conditions than the afternoon groups will endure. 

Perez carded nine birdies—ten over a sixteen-hole span going back to Saturday’s final hole—at one point getting to eight-under Sunday afternoon, before a bogey on 17 ended a stellar fifteen-hole run. 

Perez opened the day with a bogey on one. After hitting his drive down the left side, Perez hit wedge with his second shot, unable to get 9 iron over the trees. He hit his bunker shot to within 11 feet, missed the par putt and settled for five. 

A good drive on two was followed by 5 iron, which Perez hit to 45 feet and closed with a solid two-putt for birdie. From there, a drive into the left rough on the par-four third, where Perez hit 8 iron to the left of the green and chipped in for birdie. 

After a par on four, Perez hit a good tee shot on the par-five fifth and sent his second shot short and right, chipping up and leaving his shot one foot from the hole, where he tapped in for birdie. 

A good drive on six had Perez hitting 8 iron to within four feet, where he knocked in his third shot for birdie.

Perez two-putted for par on seven, but responded with back-to-back birdies on eight and nine. 

After a solid drive on eight, Perez blistered a 4 iron to the right fringe and dropped a 13-footer for birdie to get to minus-four. On nine, another good drive was followed by l-wedge that flew 64 yards, leaving a nine-footer for birdie. 

Perez parred ten and eleven, but came strong with birdies over three of the next four. 

On the par-four twelfth, Perez ripped his drive and with 141 yards, hit 9 iron to 14 feet and drained a birdie. On thirteen, Perez hit hybrid off the tee and wedge 114 yards, leaving a six-footer for a solid three. 

Perez played it conservative on fourteen, going 7 iron at the front of the green and two-putting for par. 

On the par-five fifteenth, Perez drove right into the trees and hit a second shot lay-up from the waste area with 4 iron to 104 yards. From there, pitching wedge to six feet where he rolled the day’s final birdie.  

Perez went par-bogey-par to close, missing a six-footer on seventeen, dropping back to seven-under on the day. On eighteen, a solid drive left him 184 yards out, where he hit 4 iron to the front fringe, two putting for par. 

Perez averaged 275.3 yards driving distance in the final round, with a driving accuracy percentage of 69.64 and 69.44 greens-in-regulation percentage. 

Perez will sit out the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, but will return early May to play five straight—starting with the Wells Fargo Championship, heading over to the Players, doing two in Texas and wrapping with the Memorial.

From there, the US Open qualifier the following Monday in Columbus. 

“Perez Has Best Round Of Year At Harbour Town”

PGATour.com’s Brian Wacker chimed in regarding a final round 64 by Pat Perez at Harbour Town Golf Links on Sunday at the RBC Heritage.

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — It has been five years since Pat Perez got his last (and only) win on the PGA Tour. Not that it bothers him.

“I’m know I’m close to winning,” he said Sunday following his best round of the year, a 7-under 64 on a windswept day at Harbour Town.

He wasn’t speaking in hyperbole, either. Perez had a half-dozen top 25s coming into the week and three of those were finishes in the top 10 — a tie for seventh at Pebble Beach, a runner-up in San Diego and a tie for eighth in Honolulu.

At the RBC Heritage, a couple of 74s earlier in the week kept him from being closer to the top of the leaderboard, but it vaulted him into the top 15 by the time he finished. Sunday’s round was also impressive as much for the nine birdies he made as for his 4-iron approach to a 5-yard window on the 18th hole to set up a closing par.

Playing partner Jonathan Byrd, who made birdie there after rolling in an 18-footer from the fringe, joked it was a “four-club wind.” Not quite, but you get the idea.

Perez wanted to get his approach anywhere within a handful of the green, and he did, leaving it just short before chipping to a few feet and sinking a three-footer.

It was the kind of golf coach Joe Mayo thought Perez was capable of when the two started working together in the off-season. Perez was skeptical but the results have given him confidence, and he now understands why he hits bad shots when he does.

Not that there were many of them on Sunday.

The changes Perez has made — he also switched equipment and recently got engaged — clearly have him moving closer to ending the drought. Not that going winless in that span weighs on him. Quite the contrary.

“A lot of great players don’t win every year,” Perez said. “Everyone bases it off it Tiger; that’s Tiger, he’s a different guy. Anyone who compares themselves to Tiger needs to find something else to do.”

The way Perez is playing, it won’t be long before he takes his name off that list.

Third Round 74 For Perez At RBC Heritage

Pat Perez entered the weekend plus-one on the day and wrapped Saturday with a tough 74, leaving him plus-five with eighteen holes left at this year’s RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links. 

Paired with Tim Clark and Andrew Loupe, Perez went off ten and parred his first three holes, before bogeying his next three. 

A tee shot down the left side on the par-four thirteenth forced a chip-out, due to the tree coverage. Perez sent his second shot 50 yards into the fair, and his third 115 yards to the green, missing a par putt. 

On the par-three fourteenth, Perez hit seven-iron and missed the green by the foot, kicking into the water. After taking a drop, Perez pushed his par putt and tapped in for bogey. 

A solid drive on the par-five fifteenth was followed by a lay up. With the number around 105, Perez hit his third shot to about 25 feet and would up three-putting. 

Perez delivered another solid drive on eighteen—into the rain and wind—and then went four iron from 199 yards out, pitched to within seven feet and missed the par putt. 

The front nine was again an exercise in patience and consistency, with Perez earning a string of hard-fought pars before closing the day with a clutch birdie on the day’s final hole. 

Perez hit his drive down the right side on the par-four ninth and then hit sand wedge to 25 feet and drained the downhill putt for birdie, wrapping three-over on the day at 74. 

Perez averaged 276 yards in driving distance on Saturday, with a 70.37 greens-in-regulation percentage and had a 66.67 driving accuracy percentage in the third round. 

Sunday’s final round tee time is set for 9:01 a.m. ET, where Perez is paired with Jonathan Byrd.  

Perez Fires Second Round 69 At RBC Heritage

Pat Perez fired one of the better rounds of his season with a hard-fought 69 on Friday, getting him to plus-one entering the weekend at the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, South Carolina. 

After three straight pars to open the morning, Perez bogeyed the par-three fourth but responded with birdies on three of the next five holes. 

Perez bogeyed the par-three fourth, hitting his drive right of the hole, chipped up and missed a five-footer for three. A hole later, Perez responded with a solid drive into the wind, laid up with four iron, nit nine iron 111 yards and dropped a four-foot birdie. 

After pars on six and seven, another great drive on eight was followed with a six iron from 179 yards out, leaving a 21-foot birdie putt which Perez dropped.

Another birdie followed on the par-four ninth. Perez hit hybrid and followed with sandwedge, leaving an eight-foot putt for a strong three, putting him at two-under on the day at the turn. 

Perez saved a great par on twelve, as the pin was tucked left side over the bunker. After his approach shot landed front green, Perez chipped with his l-wedge and made a solid up-and-down. 

The back nine was a test in endurance, with Perez stringing together nine straight pars, pushing a would-be birdie putt left on nine, getting out with a hard-earned 69. 

Perez: Opening Round 74 At RBC Heritage

Pat Perez fired an opening-round 74 at the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on Thursday. Perez started strong with birdies on eleven and thirteen—two-under after four—but found trouble before the turn as the PGA Tour veteran continues working through swing changes. 

Perez drove it into the left fairway bunker on sixteen and needed two tries to get out. His third shot was short of the green, where he chipped to within seven feet and pushed a bogey putt left. 

Perez hit a solid drive on the par-four eighteenth, but sent his second shot into the left hazard and again needed two attempts to get on the green, where his bogey put slipped right of the cup. 

The day’s third birdie came on the par-five second. After hitting a solid drive 200 yards shy  of the hole, Perez went with five iron to the right green side bunker, leaving his third shot five feet from the hole where he went on to sink a four-footer. 

Back to one-over on the day, Perez strung together three straight pars before another double bogey.

After driving right into the trees, with an unplayable lie, Perez chipped out his third shot and faced a 13-footer for bogey, missed and settled for another double. 

Perez went on to par eight, hit a solid drive on nine and sent his second shot 123 yards, leaving an eight-footer for birdie, sending it wide. Perez dropped the five-inch par putt, finishing three-over on the day and taking it straight back to the range to work out the kinks. 

Friday’s second round tee time is set for 8:50 a.m. ET and Perez is again paired with Brendon de Jonge and Billy Hurley III, going off of number one at Harbour Town Golf Links. 

PatPerezGolf.com: Throwback Thursday

Another “Throwback Thursday” offering here at PatPerezGolf.com with Pat Perez sharing another gem from the family album. This one’s from somewhere around 1987, taken at Lomas Santa Fe in Solana Beach, California.

As for the Reebok high-tops—there are no words for that magic. 

Tee Times Announced For RBC Heritage

Tee times are set for the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, South Carolina and Pat Perez has drawn the favorable late Thursday / early Friday set-up.

Perez is paired with Brendon de Jonge and Billy Hurley III and go-time is 1:20 p.m. ET for round one and 8:50 a.m. ET for the second round. Follow all the action here at PatPerezGolf.com.