The eye-catching tattoo on latest Tour winner? Here’s why it’s meaningful

Matthieu Pavon and his eye-catching tattoo

Matthieu Pavon won his first PGA Tour tournament in dramatic fashion on Saturday.

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Matthieu Pavon’s fist PGA Tour victory at the 2024 Farmers Insurance Open featured some drama down the stretch.

The 31-year-old Frenchman had a one-shot lead standing on the par-5 18th tee at Torrey Pines on Saturday. But his opening drive found the left fairway bunker, and his second shot traveled only about a hundred yards, leaving him a difficult 147-yard approach from thick rough.

Matthieu Pavon reacts after making par at Torrey Pines.
Matthieu Pavon hangs on for first PGA Tour win at Farmers Insurance Open
By: Jack Hirsh

Pavon’s caddie suggested laying up to give Pavon the best chance for a par and, potentially, a spot in a playoff. But Pavon had other plans.

“I was like, listen, Woody, like the lie doesn’t look too bad, I feel like I can do it,” Pavon said after his round. “He said OK, but it’s your call (Laughs.)

“It’s my call,” Pavon continued. “And I was so pumped at that time, I know I had the energy to lift that ball up on the green. I kind of aimed to the middle of the green knowing the face would close a little bit because it’s quite deep and thick. That ball came out like a butterfly and it really feed the slope on the green and left myself a nine-footer or something.

“That was the right time to prove I have the guts to finish that tournament and I did it so I’m so happy about that last hole.”

Where did Pavon get his world-beating confidence? Turns out, his inspiration is literally etched on the palm of his right hand in the form of a tattoo.

“The saliva that flows now will become the tears of joy tomorrow”: Pavon decided those words needed a permanent place on his body. And to whom is the quotation attributed? Pavon told the PGA Tour that the words came “from Harvard,” though the original source is unclear. But Pavon certainly received some much-needed inspiration from his tattoo over the course of the final round.

“It’s really a meaningful sentence for me,” Pavon told the PGA Tour. “And this is why I work hard every day, to get those tears back when I lift the trophy.”

Pavon said he often thinks about inspirational material during tournament play, including sentences he’s written down that help him stay grounded in the present moment.

PING G430 LST 3-wood held in hand on a golf course
Winner’s bag: Matthieu Pavon’s winning Ping clubs at 2024 Farmers Insurance Open
By: Ryan Barath

“You know how it is on the golf course, sometimes your head flies away a little bit and you have to get back to the present moment to refocus yourself,” Pavon said on Saturday. “Sentences like they are telling me why I play golf, why I’m here. They show me — they give me a little extra confidence. I think it’s really keen in sports, the more confidence you get, the easiest it could be and those sentences are there for.”

“The sentences, I read them like 100 times in only six holes,” Pavon continued. “Just focus on this. I raise my head and it’s me to play, OK it’s just showtime. You try to commit to the shot, very focused and just try to do your best, that’s all you can do really.”

Pavon pocketed a cool $1.62 million for his life-changing victory, in addition to a bevy of meaningful exemptions. While his future schedule will be ironed out in the coming days, Pavon is certain of one thing.

“Matthieu Pavon knows he’s going to go eat at Nobu tonight, that’s all I know,” he said. “And playing in Pebble next week.”

Golf.com Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.