More known for his temper than his golf game in the past, Pat Perez has re-invented himself in both personality and game. The 41-year-old Perez is moving from the ranks of career journeyman to established veteran and player, having won twice within the span of one year. He broke an almost-eight-year victory drought when he captured the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in November 2016, and followed that up with a win at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia this past October. He currently sits at #1 on the FedEx Cup points list. Perez gained a reputation as a hothead earlier in his career after some questionable on-course behavior, such as smashing his club into the ground after poor shots. Many speculated that his temper cost him several victories and limited his potential as a golfer. In recent years, Perez seems to have calmed down and has harnessed that inner fire, playing better golf in the process. He missed most of the 2015-16 season after having shoulder surgery, but Perez said the surgery gave him new-found motivation. It may have also helped his golf game, as his he was forced to shorten his backswing about two feet. As late as July 2016, he was capable of only hitting his driver 190 yards, but that didn’t last long. Just four months after not being able to hit the ball any farther than the average 18-handicapper, Perez found victory for the first time since 2009. Whether he will remain a force in professional golf for the remainder of the year is always speculation, of course, but given how he’s changed his outlook and game, it’s likely he will be a contender for more wins heading into 2018.
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