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January 23, 2018

Pat Perez

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

CLARE BODEL: Welcome, everyone, we have with us here today the world No. 17, Pat Perez. Pat, playing your first time here at the OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic. It's early in the week but what have you made of things so far?

PAT PEREZ: A lot bigger city than I thought it was. But it's been great. Weather's fantastic. Course is fantastic. Just I've always wanted to come here. It's been exciting to be here so far and I look forward to a good week.

CLARE BODEL: You've played a few European Tour events the last year or so. HOW have you enjoyed the new destinations?

PAT PEREZ: I really have. I haven't really been in a position in my career to kind of go out from the PGA TOUR because I've kind of had to struggle -- not struggle, but the main focus for me was to keep my PGA TOUR card once I had a job. But once you get inside the Top-50, you can kind of go that route and try to play some more world events and play against different players and kind of see how you really stand up against everybody.

Q. Does that mean that we'll see you more often in Europe and other places?
PAT PEREZ: I don't know about "more." I was going to try to play maybe five total. You know, my main goal is still the PGA TOUR and FedExCup and that kind of stuff.

You know, you really have to play incredible on both tours to manage both. A lot of travel, a lot of time. I've seen obviously Rory does it and Justin Rose and a lot of the top players do it. I don't know if I'm necessarily that category, but I'm just trying to -- I've been on Tour 17 years now. Never really had a chance to see the world and play other events.

So I'm just going to really take this year to do a little bit more. I'm hoping to play about three more, maybe four. But depending on the schedule and what's going on, you know, during the year.

Q. Have you put your finger on where your recent run of form has come from? Such an amazing start to your season, as well.
PAT PEREZ: I said before, I've got an incredible group with me. My wife's amazing. I signed with a new agency with Carlos and Irek at Impact Point. My caddie has been with me since high school and my coach, Drew; I have a great circle going on.

I signed with PXG a couple years ago which I find is the greatest clubs in the world. I really enjoy having a company behind me that I haven't really had in the past.

I don't know, I'm at a different point in life. I'll be 42 in March, and, I don't know, life just seems different. Everything off the course, such peace, we have a baby coming in September. So I just have a whole different outlook at 41 than I did at 24. 24 was, you know, let's see if we can get on Tour, let's see if we can keep our card, let's see if we can win, this and that.

Now I've won three times and I've gotten into the Top-20 in the world, it just seems -- I don't know, it's not that it's not as important. It's just that life is just different. I see more to life than just golf, and before, it was just always golf. You know, I wasn't really in a -- I don't want to say not a good place but I wasn't playing, I wasn't this and that, but now life is fantastic and it's carrying on in my golf.

But I've also got my game in a spot where it's never been, either. I know how I'm going to hit it every day. My short game has been pretty good. I'm just kind of finding -- 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.

You know, I do I what I do and I'm just kind of staying in my own zone.

Q. In the past, it seemed to be the case where some Americans at this time of the year, The Ryder Cup wasn't a priority. Has that changed and did Hazeltine play a sort of part in Americans attitudes changing towards The Ryder Cup?
PAT PEREZ: Not really for me. I won in Malaysia and I finished fifth in Korea and I didn't get any points for the American side. That kind of upset me a little bit; the fact that I'm 13 on the list, but I should be probably three or four.

So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth; the fact that you win on the PGA TOUR and you beat some good players, and yet you don't get any points because of whatever our committee has decided to do. So that upset me a little bit.

But you know, we've got so much time going into that, if I play well, I still might -- I've still got a chance to make the team. It's a long way away.

But The Ryder Cup, it's a big thing. It's in France this year, so every American wants to represent their country just like every European wants to represent their countries. You know, it will be exciting to play on a team. I think that's the only thing I'm really missing. Everybody wants to win a major but there's only four. Ryder Cup means that you've done something really good for two years to make a team, and you get to be with your fellow Americans and represent your country and try to bring home the Cup.

Q. In the time you've been out on Tour, do you sense an excitement now that maybe wasn't there in the past, the bad run of results and the win in Hazeltine and the win in Presidents Cup --
PAT PEREZ: Presidents Cup is different. I don't know why it's so different because there are good players on both sides. It's hard to believe that it's been so dominant for the U.S. I can't really figure out why the U.S. have struggled so much against the Europeans in The Ryder Cup.

But there's definitely more excitement. We have this new group of kids that we have, they are so close together and they are such a close, tight group, which I think the Europeans have always been, and I think there's a big part of that to it. Now we're seeing this new group with Justin and Jordan and Brooks and Dustin, they are all together, live close to each other, play all the time. I definitely think there's much more excitement for the Americans to go over there and prove something this year.

Q. Just coming back to this tournament, you've played the course. What did you think of it and whether it suits your eyes?
PAT PEREZ: It does. It's a desert course, which I live in Scottsdale, so we have all desert courses. The grass is pretty similar. They are small greens, but the layout's right in front of you. You hit it in your spot, hit it on the green. I think the layout is fantastic. It's cool, too, to see all the buildings around and everything. I'm excited about it. I think it's awesome.

Q. Is there a way that you would arrange The Ryder Cup points system differently whereby that wouldn't happen to you basically when you have those wins?
PAT PEREZ: In my opinion if you win the same year of The Ryder Cup, you should get the points. I don't understand, because -- I think the reasoning is a lot of top players don't play in those fall events and so our, whatever you call that, committee, I don't know what whatever it is, whatever they came up with --

Q. Task force?
PAT PEREZ: Yeah, task force. They don't think that those are worthy of points I guess for The Ryder Cup. I don't know, I've never been part of it. So if you win the same calendar year as the actual Cup, they should count. I don't know why they wouldn't.

Q. Have you been able to make that point to anyone?
PAT PEREZ: No. I haven't seen Jim at all. I haven't seen Phil, anybody that's part of it. I'm sure they are not really interested in my opinion anyway (laughter) so wouldn't really matter. It wouldn't really matter.

You know, all I can do is what I can do. I'm not really worried about -- I guess like I've said in the past, I'd love to win again, I'd love to be in contention in a major, try to even have a look at one would be incredible, and then get back to THE TOUR Championship, because that would set me up again next year to be in all those big tournaments and WGCs and majors and the big schedule that you want to play. That's really my focus.

Ryder Cup would be really the cherry on top because that means everything else already had happened and then I played well and then bang, I play THE TOUR Championship and then The Ryder Cup. They all kind of go hand in hand. So if I don't play well enough, then I don't get to TOUR Championship and The Ryder Cup's out, anyway.

You know, I'm not really focused on it. I'm having a great time in life right now. I'm having a great time on the course. Like I said, I've got really no stress right now. I'm just kind of playing and that's making it easier for me. But you know, if things go well, they go well. I would love to be part of it, but if I'm not, then, you know, I've never been in it, anyway, so I'm not really losing anything.

Q. How do you find the travel element of The European Tour versus the PGA TOUR?
PAT PEREZ: Well, the travel, it was tough coming over here. I had so fly with Sergio on his plane from (laughter) it's like, I had to go commercial from Phoenix to Austin, which was an hour and a half; and I had to get on that G5 and fly all the way over to Singapore and sleep the whole way, and same up here to Dubai. So it's been tough so far but I'm managing. And then I've got the Emirates going home on the 380, that should be tough.

It is different. I didn't sleep all last week, the 15-hour time change, it was very hard. I was up every morning at, you know, midnight, one o'clock and I'm staring at the ceiling, what am I doing until my one o'clock time. That's the hardest thing for me is the time change always. It's not necessarily the travel. The travel's kind of easy, but then the time change and trying to get used to it, especially just for a week or two is very difficult.

You know, it is what it is. Everybody does it. I'm just hoping to get a little better at it. The 15-hour time change is hard. The eight to ten isn't that bad for me, but you add those extra hours, and it's pretty tough. But I'm finally on the schedule now, so I should be good this week.

Q. Of the other tournaments you might play in, does one include The Scottish Open by any chance?
PAT PEREZ: Maybe. We were going to go to Ireland before The Open, anyway, to play. My partner from Pebble likes to go over there and he's going to take us over there and play a couple rounds.

I have wanted to play The Scottish Open, though. I hear it's a fantastic event. I'm kind of more interested in playing, is it next year where it's in Ireland, The Open, is that right? So.

I was thinking about playing next year before that one. But I haven't really -- I'm going back to the Porsche in Germany and I was going to try to play the one in -- the French, just in case I, you know, got hot enough, have a look at it. But I've heard it's a great event, great course.

Funny enough, I was in Paris last year during The French Open on vacation and I didn't know the tournament was going on. I should have planned it where I played the tournament and I could have done the whole thing. That would have been pretty smart but I didn't look at it that way. Maybe the wife wouldn't like that though too much. Vacation's not a vacation then.

I don't know. I'm going to try to piece it together. I'll go over it with my group and we'll see, you know, if things are going really well and I'm still staying high in the FedEx, maybe we can add a few more in. The camaraderie out here, the European group is fantastic. I have a lot of friends out here. I've had a lot of people come up and say, hey, great seeing you this and that, haven't seen you in a while. It's just a different vibe out here. It's great. I like it. I like it. It would be nice to mix in a few more.

Q. Just wondering how you think Tiger will do this week?
PAT PEREZ: I said last week, they asked me again, you know, with his ball speed, he has the ball speed to win now. With that 180 ball speed, that's incredible. You need that for that course because those courses, they are both over 7,400 yards now.

But you know, I really don't know. He has the ball speed. If he can get the driver in play, hit irons good like he has been. From what I've heard, seems to be in great shape. He's hitting it great. It will come down to his short game and how much rust there is and this and that, I don't know. I really don't know. The one thing he does have is all the experience from playing there for ever and obviously won there a bunch of times.

But we'll see. I'm as anxious as anybody to see how he does and hopefully, you know, hopefully he'll just come back and just kind of get rolling again and not have any problems and no more back, no more stuff, just kind of get back in the swing of things and play as long as he wants. That would be nice to see.

CLARE BODEL: Thank you.

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