Pat Perez’s eclecticism almost outweighs his staying power on the PGA Tour. Quietly, the long-haired, laid-back Perez has been around pro golf for nearly two decades, celebrating his 19th season on the PGA Tour in 2020. And while his endearment to fans has only grown during that time, the origins of his quirkiness date all the way back to his teenage days and a unique mentorship with one of golf’s great outsiders.
On GOLF’s Subpar, Perez told the story of his relationship with John Daly, which began when Perez was a 16-year-old caddie.
“I was caddying in a program and we used to sit out there on the lot and you’d hope you’d get somebody,” Perez told Subpar hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz. “They came out and said ‘John Daly’s here.’ And I said ‘Oh s—, that’s unbelievable!’ We get out there and someone tells [Daly], ‘Oh this kid’s pretty good and he hits it a long way.'”
Evidently, “pretty good” and “hits it a long way,” were two phrases that piqued Daly’s interest. He handed the teenage Perez his driver.
“We get out and John goes, ‘let’s see it,'” Perez said. “He was probably 25 yards ahead of us and I hit it by him about 15 yards. It was the same swing, that long swing, but it was [Daly’s] driver. That ultimate driver. It was a year after the PGA in ’92. So I hit it and I go ‘That’s unbelievable.'”
Not many people can lay claim to outdriving Daly at any point in their lives, let alone as a teenager, but Perez was undaunted. Years later, when Perez earned his Tour card, Daly remembered the teenage caddie from years earlier.
“I went up to him and I said ‘Hey it’s me, remember?’ And he goes, ‘Oh yeah brother, what’s going on?’ I talk to him all the time,” Perez said.
Over the years, an unlikely friendship has sprouted between the irreverent pair. Now, some 35 years later, the roles have flipped. Perez has formed a relationship with Daly’s son, John Jr., while the elder John still talks with his old caddie regularly.
“John’s amazing,” Perez said. “He’s just a big teddy bear. He’s got a soft heart for everybody. He wants to help everybody. He’s obviously had a few problems here or there but I love the guy, he’s like an older brother.”
Check out the entire episode below.
To receive GOLF’s all-new newsletters, subscribe for free here.