desert classic


DUBAI, Jan 23 — Pat Perez is floored by the exponential growth of Dubai, saying the city is a lot bigger than he had thought ahead of making his first appearance in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club.

“I have always wanted to see Dubai because of how much it has grown over the years. I just wanted to see what it looks like. It’s a lot bigger city than I thought it was. It’s been just great,” said the world number 17 after playing a practice round at the Majlis course.

“The weather is fantastic and so is the course. It’s cool, too, to see all the buildings around and everything. I’m excited about it. I think it’s awesome and I look forward to a good week,” said the 41-year-old American, who is paired with European number one Tommy Fleetwood and Thomas Pieters for the opening two rounds.

Nicknamed The Volcano, Perez has been plying his trade on the PGA Tour since 2002, but the 2017 season marked a major step forward. It took him 182 starts between his first win in 2009 and his second, at the OHL Classic in November 2016 at Mayakoba. The wait for No. 3 at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia was just 24 events later.

Attributing his remarkable career-resurgence to his support staff, he said: “I have got an incredible group with me. My wife is amazing. My caddie has been with me since high school and my coach; I have a great circle going on.

“Everything off the course is so peaceful. We have a baby coming in September. I have a whole different outlook at 41 than what I had at 24. I have won three times and I have gotten into the top-20 in the world. Life is fantastic and it’s carrying on in my golf.

“I have got my game in a spot where it’s never been. I’m playing my own game. I’m not worried about the long hitters and watching them sit 6-iron to a par 5 and I’ve got 3-wood. I’ve gotten past all that. I do I what I do and I’m just kind of staying in my own zone.”


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