Pat Perez may have been one of the lower-profile players to join LIV Golf for the 2022 season, but he made a significant impact both in his contributions to 4 Aces GC winning the season-closing Team Championship and the fact he won over $8m in his debut season.
It is highly unlikely that, given his success and higher profile, he regrets the decision to leave the PGA Tour for the Greg Norman-fronted organisation. Nevertheless, in comments he made in February that have resurfaced, it seems hard to believe that he was just months from making the switch.
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Speaking during February’s Genesis Invitational, Perez’s allegiances seemed firmly with the PGA Tour, and he had plenty of praise for commissioner Jay Monahan, too. “Our purses are going up. Jay Monahan's done a phenomenal job getting our purses to go up. Jay and the Tour, from what I understand, is doing a phenomenal job," said Perez.
He also had criticism for the then rumoured breakaway, saying: “They talk about growing the game. I don't see how that group over there is growing the game. The Tour has done phenomenal things. They do phenomenal things for the communities that we go to. They have programs for underprivileged now. That's how you grow the game.”
Had to pinch myself today when reminded by @TheShotgunStart that Pat Perez - yes, Pat Perez - said all THIS… in February of this year 🤯 pic.twitter.com/FssIC2ZcuYDecember 13, 2022
Perez also appeared to be comfortable with his future on the PGA Tour and beyond. He said: “I would never say anything bad about the Tour because I've had an unbelievable life doing it, and I still have the Champ Tour to think about it. I'm exempt on the Champions Tour for as long as I want to play. That's an unbelievable type of retirement thing on top of the retirement package that we have already. I've got no reason to b*tch about anything. I'm kind of one of those lucky guys that I think I see it the right way.”
Two players who remained unequivocal in their support for the organisation all year, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, also received Perez's backing. He said: “I think the way Tiger's approaching it is phenomenal. I think he understands where he made all his money.
"You know, I would follow his lead more than anything. If he doesn't want to do it, Rory doesn't want to do it and if you don't have the top kids doing it, I just don't know how much water it's going to hold anyway. I don't know how long it's going take. I just don't know how much water it's going to hold anyway. I don't know how long it's going take. They're not going to follow Phil [Mickelson], they're not going to follow [Bryson] DeChambeau unfortunately."
Of course, the reality turned out quite differently. Perez, who won three times on the PGA Tour, signed with LIV Golf for a reported $10 million in June - just four months after his glowing appraisal of the PGA Tour and its most vocal supporters.
The American was not the only player to pledge his allegiance to the PGA Tour before u-turning. Among others, Bryson DeChambeau vowed his loyalty to the PGA Tour in February before joining LIV Golf in June, while the PGA Tour revealed a statement on behalf of Dustin Johnson declaring his commitment to it. However, he too signed for LIV Golf in June in time for its inaugural tournament at London’s Centurion Club.
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Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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