Tiger Woods has been a larger than life figure since his “Hello, world” moment in 1996. But really, his borderline deity status stretches all the way back into his junior golf days, before the cameras were on him at all times.
Woods famously won three-straight U.S. Junior Amateurs from 1991 to 1993, but there is one tournament he let slip away in those days — the 1993 World Junior Golf Championship, where he finished fourth. The winner? None other than PGA Tour mainstay Pat Perez.
“Tiger was a god in junior golf,” Perez said during a recent episode of GOLF’s Subpar podcast. “Everyone knew who he was, he was obviously the guy to beat. He was so much better than everybody.”
This fact made Perez’s triumph in 1993 all the more special.
“I’ve basically gotten my a** kicked by him for 36 years now,” Perez said. “But I’ve got the one.”
Perez alluded to an interview on YouTube where Woods was asked about Perez’s victory back in the day.
“He didn’t like it,” Perez said with a laugh. “He didn’t like that one.”
Ultimately, Woods got the last laugh. He followed his Junior Am wins with three-straight U.S. Amateurs from 1994 to 1996 and added an NCAA Championship while at Stanford. He then turned pro shortly thereafter and transformed the sport. The rest is history.
But Perez said he’s content with how things turned out in his career. Even without the laundry list of accomplishments that Woods has amassed, Perez has still managed to have a solid career with three victories and over $25 million in earnings.
“I don’t need to win 100 tournaments,” Perez said. “I don’t need to be this and that … I’m never going to be Tiger. I don’t even care about it. The crumbs are pretty good.”
Even 20 years into his PGA Tour career, Perez remains one of the most candid voices in golf.
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