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Victor Perez, with big goals in mind, rockets to No. 2 in Euro Ryder Cup points

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Victor Perez didn’t play any golf in December as he looked to lay the foundation for what could potentially be a big year for the Frenchman.

The approach is already paying off.

“It's a great year ahead,” Perez said after winning Sunday in Abu Dhabi. “There's a lot of big things coming up. I've had a really good offseason. I've worked really hard…”

At that point he started to choke up.

“Sorry…,” he continued. “It's just great.”

One of Perez’s objectives is to earn one of the 10 PGA Tour cards up for grabs for top finishers on the DP World Tour, a benefit of the new strategic alliance between the two tours. Perez had tried to find his footing on the U.S. tour a couple seasons ago, but he made just six cuts in 12 starts. He has also made only half his cuts in 24 career Tour appearances, but he chalked up some of his struggles to the pandemic.

Now, though, Perez is ready to try again.

“Ideally, I think that's everyone's goal,” Perez said of making it to the PGA Tour. “I think the Tour has done such a great job giving us the opportunity. I was saying, I think it's never been easier to get on the PGA Tour for European Tour players because now we have those 10 cards. You have all the Rory McIlroys and Jon Rahms of the world that are on list but are going to be taken out, so it's really going to drop to, whatever, the 20th position and gives us a great category when you get to America. …

“I think there's a lot of Europeans that are starting to break through and go over there. I think, you know, you see guys at the Hero Cup last week playing very well, and then going back to the PGA Tour. That's inspiring and something that I think we all want to do.”


Highlights: Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Round 4

Highlights: Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Round 4

The second goal for Perez is to qualify for the European Ryder Cup team for this September’s matches in Rome. Two years ago, Perez was one of the last players left off the team that ended up losing to the Americans at Whistling Straits.

Perez’s victory in Abu Dhabi shot him way up both qualifying lists. He climbed 19 spots in European points, to No. 2, and another 19 places in World points, to No. 6.

Here’s a look at the current European qualifying picture:

EUROPEAN POINTS

  • 1. Jon Rahm
  • 2. Perez
  • 3. Rory McIlroy
  • 4. Alex Noren
  • 5. Shane Lowry
  • 6. Tommy Fleetwood
  • 7. Adrian Otaegui
  • 8. Tyrrell Hatton
  • 9. Rasmus Hojgaard
  • 10. Bob MacIntyre

WORLD POINTS

  • 1. Rahm
  • 2. McIlroy
  • 3. Viktor Hovland
  • 4. Noren
  • 5. Lowry
  • 6. Perez
  • 7. Otaegui
  • 8. Fleetwood
  • 9. Seamus Power
  • 10. MacIntyre

European qualifying, which will now see three automatic berths each from the European and World points lists, began at last fall’s BMW PGA Championship and will conclude Sept. 3, three weeks before the matches. Six captain’s picks will then be announced a day later.

Americans have been earning points since the start of 2022 and the top six players in points after this year’s BMW Championship on Aug. 20 will automatically qualify. The U.S. will also get six captain’s picks.

Here is a look at the current U.S. qualifying picture:

  • 1. Scottie Scheffler
  • 2. Will Zalatoris
  • 3. Justin Thomas
  • 4. Collin Morikawa
  • 5. Cameron Young
  • 6. Dustin Johnson
  • 7. Max Homa
  • 8. Tom Hoge
  • 9. Kevin Kisner
  • 10. Keegan Bradley
  • 11. Chris Kirk
  • 12. Hayden Buckley
  • 13. Brian Harman
  • 14. Patrick Cantlay
  • 15. J.J. Spaun