Pat Perez became the latest golfer to tell his tale on The Players Tribune by penning the article "You Don't Know Me" -- and what an entertaining trip down memory lane it is. Do yourself a favor and read the entire thing, which includes him talking about beating Tiger Woods by eight shots with borrowed clubs and the time when a 16-year-old Perez borrowed John Daly's driver to hit a shot while caddying for his group in a pro-am. But our favorite story involves the moment Perez decided to turn pro. Rather, the moment he decided to turn pro AND actually turned pro.
After helping to lead Arizona State to a national championship, Perez had lost his scholarship and was doing odd jobs for minimum wage. He was a 20-year-old amateur and not playing much golf when a family friend offered to sponsor him in some local tournaments. We'll let Pat, who has never shied from saying exactly what's on his mind, take it from here:
After eight months of barely playing golf, I won the first event I entered, a one-day tournament on the Golden State Tour. At the winner’s ceremony, the tournament director gave me a choice: I could either keep my amateur status, or I could take my winnings and turn professional.
I thought about it for a second.
“Well, how much is the check?”
“Five hundred bucks.”
Without a moment’s hesitation, I said, “F**! I’ll take the money!”*
Perez made a big decision for a not-so-big check, but it turned out to be a smart choice. The next day, Perez entered another tournament and won again, this time taking home two grand.
I’ve made $2,500 in two days, which is like three months of working at the range and driving someone around for minimum wage. S**, I can keep doing this!*
Nearly $20 million (and counting) in PGA Tour earnings later, we'd say that was a pretty good assessment.