WHO NEEDS LUCK WHEN YOU HAVE MURRAY-STYLE CHARM?
Two major sporting events, apparently.
Pat Perez's inaugural trek to Augusta took place in 2003 on the heels of a tremendous rookie season with six Top 10 events—including two second place finishes—spread over 30 events. That stellar run by a 26-year old Perez paved the way to his first Masters the following March, where the second-year pro finished T45, making the cut but going 79-75 over the weekend.
From there, a five-year drought before Perez would get another look at Augusta National; punching his ticket in 2009 with a late-January win at the Bob Hope Classic in Palm Springs. This time around, a 75-79 kept Perez from playing all four days and it’d be another dry spell before the fiery veteran would earn another crack at that tradition unlike any other.
Fast-forward to 2017 and Perez was Augusta-bound again; this time the experience will be even sweeter than the last two go-arounds, due to redemption and the path taken.
Shoulder surgery for a torn labrum in April 2016 came a month after Perez celebrated his 40th birthday. It also occurred on the heels of some of the worst golf the pro had played in his career; all related to the arm-numbing pain that plagued him for the better part of a year.
Six months of rehab followed; as did the multi-million dollar question—could Perez return to form? Never did the spirited veteran expect to be better than before, yet that’s just what happened.
Retooling his swing with coach Drew Steckel, Perez shortened and tightened things up—coming back with a new, more-effective swing that would limit the impact on his body, as well as something that could carry him onto the next phase of his career.
Perez earned a spot in the CIMB Classic, courtesy of tournament director Todd Rhinehart, who chose to reward Perez for years worth of support for the Malaysian-hosted event. Without that invite, Perez looked to kickoff his season in Hawaii—protective of the 16 starts he’d been allotted for a medical exemption.
Instead, a T33 finish got the juices flowing and two weeks later Perez rolled his way to a T7 finish in Las Vegas, setting the stage for the unthinkable; his second career victory three events after recovering from surgery.
The 21-under finish at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba earned Perez full exemption for the 2017 season—paving the way to last season’s career-best T18 finish at The Masters. After back-to-back rounds of 74, Perez shot 70-71 over the weekend (the hot streak carrying over to the Wells Fargo Championship and a T2 finish.)
Stellar play defined the rest of the season for Perez—who reached the TOUR Championship for the first time in his career, while also climbing to 3rd on the Official World Golf Rankings, which punched his ticket back to Augusta in 2018. As if that good fortune weren’t enough; Perez returned to the scene of last year’s opener in Malaysia and won his third PGA Tour event; the CIMB Classic.
One win over 16 seasons and then two in less than a calendar year. Inconceivable for a 40-plus-year-old journeyman who was on the brink of extinction prior to his shoulder diagnosis.
All that’s to say this year’s return to Augusta is special for Perez. Aside from reaching the Masters in back-to-back years, he also does so at 42 years of age and knocking on the door of fatherhood—his wife Ashley set to give birth to their daughter this September.
Knowing what this year’s Masters meant to Pat, William Murray Golf worked with our pro to design an Augusta-themed polo; something no apparel brand had ever done for Pat in his 17 years on Tour.
“When the team at William Murray told me they wanted to honor my Masters appearance with a custom green polo this year, I was thrilled,” Perez beamed. “Every year out here at Augusta you see brands doing something special for their guys. We knew we had one shot to make a splash and I love what we came up with regarding, ‘Just A Trim’. It’s Masters-classy, but also has that Murray vibe in line with what Bill and the brothers would dig.”
“Just A Trim” goes on sale prior-to Perez’s opening round at Augusta National. Thursday’s opening round tee time is set for 9:47 a.m. ET and should the shirt bring good luck, Perez said fans could see it again over the weekend.
“If things are going the way we need them to go out here, you can guarantee the shirt makes another appearance over the weekend. Fact.”