He's a familiar face on the PGA Tour, but many are getting their first look at the colourful American at Carnoustie


Who is Pat Perez?

Much of Friday has felt like a Major Saturday ‘Moving Day‘ at the Open Championship Carnoustie, and there’s one man making a significant charge up the leaderboard who many won’t be too familiar with – America’s Pat Perez.

The man with locks to rival Tommy Fleetwood opened with a 69 yesterday, and despite a dropped shot on the last hole, his second-round 68 will earn him a late tee time on Saturday.

Last year, at Royal Birkdale, Perez made his first appearance at an Open Championship since 2008, but it was to be a short stay on the north-west coast. However, this is his second Open at Carnoustie, after the 42-year-old finished in 20th spot in 2007 – his best finish to date.

Who is Pat Perez?

Who is Pat Perez? He’s a strong contender for The Open at Carnoustie [Getty Images]

Despite venturing across the Atlantic for The Open on just four previous occasions, the man from Phoenix has won three times on the PGA Tour, the last of those coming at the CIMB Classic last October.

Perez claimed his first PGA Tour victory at the 2009 Bob Hope Classic, before enduring an seven-year baron spell, which came to an end at the OHL Classic in November 2016.

British golf fans may just be getting used to the charismatic American, but regular viewers of the PGA Tour will know he’s very much underrated – and not shy in offering his opinion.

In February last year, he was critical of Tiger Woods, saying on a radio show: “He knows he can’t beat anybody,” he said, when an injured Woods wasn’t competing. “He’s got this new corporation he started so he has to keep his name relevant to keep the corporation going.

“So he’s going to show up to a few events, he’s going to try to play…he’s going to show the Monster bag, he’s going to show the TaylorMade driver, he’s gonna get on TV. He’s got the Nike clothes, he’s gotta keep that stuff relevant.”

Perez later cleared the air with Woods, but he remains someone who’s always willing to offer his opinions.

Just this week, he was quick to take a shot at the USGA following the way it set up Shinnecock Hills for the US Open last month, which made the course more brutal than ever.

“They [The R&A] do it right, not like the USGA,” he said, when analysing Carnoustie. “They’ve got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you’ve got the greens receptive.

“They’re not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn’t. The course is just set up perfect.”

Those “perfect” conditions have enabled Perez to force his way in to contention, and he’s looking to beat a best Major finish of tied sixth, which came at the PGA Championship in 2005.

Should he succeed, he’s not the kind of man to let anyone forget about it.