Over the years, Bill Murray has become the ultimate distributor of life-wisdom. Memes are shared daily where knowledge and advice from the man, the myth, the Murray make their way onto social media feeds and inspiration boards.
One of the more-commonly posted Murrayisms; “The secret is to have a sense of yourself, your real self, your unique self”—a tidbit shared with TimeOut London back in 2013 when Murray was promoting the soon-to-release, Hyde Park On Hudson, where he played wheelchair-bound former president Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
For those who took the time to dig up the quote in its entirety—Murray further quantified the sentiment by further explaining, "And not just once in a while, or once a day, but all through the day, the week and life. You know what they say: ‘Ain’t no try, ain’t nothing to it but to do it.’”
Over the past couple of years, PGA Tour veteran Pat Perez learned to tap into his real, unique self and as a result, “trying” turned into “doing”—proven again this past weekend when the William Murray ambassador won his second Tour event in under a year. Perez claimed the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, dusting the competition by four strokes and seemingly in control after following up a Friday round of 65 with an even-better 64 on Saturday.
Much like last season’s fall series win at Mayakoba, Perez’s early jump on a new season means he’ll again start the year in Maui at the Tournament of Champions; restricted to golfers who won on tour during the previous calendar year. The victory in Malaysia also punched Perez’s ticket to the 2018 Masters Tournament, as well as full exemption through the 2020 season.
Charmed living for a 41-year old coming off of major shoulder surgery who had only won once the previous 14 years.
Prior to this recent run of success, Perez would be the first to admit he spent his first decade-plus as a professional straddling the fence, living with a foot in both words. Perez uncomfortably tried to play the part and fit into the “average Tour pro” box—holding his tongue and trying to bottle up his emotions; that lack of authenticity ultimately bleeding into his game.
None of it was “real” or “unique”, but political correctness has its place in the corporate golf space and Perez seemed backed into a corner.
For many, winning usually comes first—the spoils of success, the accolades and acceptance ultimately leading to true authenticity. For Perez, the opposed proved true.
Laid up for four months recovering from labrum surgery, some soul-searching took place. Newly 40 years old, dropped by his club manufacturer and knowing that a medical exemption would result in 15 starts to earn back full status; time was of the essence and going through the motions no longer an option.
“What better place than here, what better time than now”—a quote from one of Perez’s favorites, Rage Against The Machine, rattled around his head when mulling over the magnitude of a comeback.
Perez earned a spot in last year’s CIMB Classic courtesy of tournament director Todd Rhinehart, who appreciated Perez’s support of the event in year’s passed. For the injured comeback kid with only a handful of guaranteed starts, Malaysia was a no-brainer last season—“Free money and free [FedExCup] points” as the TPC Kuala Lumpur-played event is a no-cut tournament.
Perez wrapped T33 last season and carried the momentum to Las Vegas where he finished T7 in the Shriners Hospital for Children Open. A week later, a come from behind win at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, where a third round 62 put Perez in position to make a Sunday run. Perez’s final round 67 bested leader Gary Woodland, who shot 70 and finished two strokes behind the winner.
The win at Mayakoba gave Perez new life in 2017. Over the next three events, T3 in Maui and T4 at the Farmers Insurance Open. In the eight events that followed, Perez cooled but still racked up for Top 25s. In early May, T2 at the Wells Fargo Championship on the heels of a career-best T18 in Augusta—his first Masters showing since 2010.
Perez struggled to score in a few majors over the summer—missed cuts at the U.S. Open and The Open—but a T28 finish at the PGA Championship served as a hard-reset with the FedExCup Playoffs on the horizon. Perez finished T34 at The Northern Trust and followed it up with a T6 finish at the Dell Technologies Championship—which ultimately pouched his ticket to the TOUR Championship, where Perez finished 16th. There was also a T12 finish at the BMW Championship the week before Atlanta’s finale.
By season's end, Perez jumped from 333rd in the Official World Golf Rankings and 222nd in the FedExCup standings to 33rd in the world and 11th in the FedEx, over the span of a year. After there recent win in Malaysia, Perez is currently 2nd in the FedEx, while his OWGR is at a career-high; 20th.
As good as Perez’s on-the-course performance proved in the post-season, it was the media tent at East Lake where authenticity—that true, unique self—was on full display in perception-changing fashion. When asked about his swing, Perez was next-level candid.
“I don’t like the way my swing looks on film. I think it looks terrible. There are so many positions I don’t like. I hate the follow-through, I get left, lean, my knees are in. There are so many things I just don’t like about my game.”
With the faucet officially in the “on” position, Perez shifted his focus to competitors half his age and the Tour’s golden children, while continuing to speak his truth.
“It’s frustration because I see these guys, perfect builds—they’re tall and they’re skinny and they’ve got all this strength. Then there’s me, who kind of waddles around. I don’t like working out. I like to sit and kind of do nothing.”
Less than a month later, minutes after walking off the 72nd hole after a tap-in par for his third career victory—Perez’s newfound authenticity continued. This time, it was GolfChannel’s Aaron Olberholser who asked if the win would result in resetting goals for the 2017-18 season as a newly-crowned champ.
“I’m not going to change anything,” Perez said with half a chuckle. “I’m still not going to workout. I’m still going to have a bad diet and I’m going to enjoy myself.”
Spoken like a man finally sitting on top of the world after spending a lifetime trying to fit into someone else’s box.
When we preach about the William Murray way of life, or share life advice from the mind of Bill—there’s a longing that somehow, somewhere it will resonate for our tribe in pivotal life moments.
Pat Perez has taken that concept and brought it to life; dominating both work and life on his own terms in an authentic manner that is Bill-approved.
Congrats, Champ. You did it your way, which makes victory that much sweeter.