PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The always-entertaining Pat Perez teed off in the day’s third group at The Players on Saturday and already had a flight home booked for Sunday morning with a second cut looming and a 2-over total.
But with the help of calm, ideal conditions he played 17 holes in 7 under par, a bogey at the last being his only blemish, to move into a tie for 10th place with the leaders still to tee off.
The 41 year old, who has never been shy with his opinion, spoke with a group of reporters after his round in what could best be described as Perez unplugged:
On TPC Sawgrass: “It's a hard course. Doesn't fit my eye on almost any shot, like everybody else. So you know who loves it? Maybe the winner on Sunday? That's about it.”
On the need for luck on the Stadium Course: “I hit a terrible shot on [No.] 4 and it just hit over the railroad tie. I turned a 6 into a 3. So I got lucky there. … It makes up for Thursday and Friday, I had plenty of [bad bounces].”
On whether the rain that’s forecast for Saturday will make the course a little softer: “No, it's like watering the street.”
On what motivates him: “To be told at 40, you can't do it, you can't come back, we don't really believe in you, this kind of stuff, it really can get you upset. And it's a hell of a motivator to come back after being on Tour that long and saying, you know what, I think the best is ahead of me.”
On how his perspective has changed since having surgery last year: “I'm literally not worried about it at all anymore. It's actually, I can't tell you how free I feel. I've never been this free to actually just kind of play.”