Livewire - The New Pat Perez

When guys of his generation - 48-year-old Phil Mickelson and 42-year-old Tiger Woods - have done so much more, Pat Perez, the reigning CIMB Classic champion, is on this late roll of success

Pat Perez plays during The 147th Open Championship

To know Pat Perez is to understand the dynamics of his flavorful persona. That there can be two diverse sides to his PGA TOUR saga – one win in his first 378 starts; two triumphs in the last 85 tournaments - is in synch with the contrasting takes on his temperament.

Raw, volatile, rock ‘n roll, borderline crude, and a modern-day Rat Pack wannabe. That’s the image Perez has been assigned by some journalists who gravitate only to those storylines that have sex appeal. And the side of Perez that his friends and family know best - that he’s loyal and hard-working, determined and sensitive - well, it lacks sex appeal, accurate though it may be.

Which is OK with Mike Hartford, who happens to be the starting point whenever you get around to discussing Patrick Peter Perez. No one knows Perez better, and no one treats the man with greater respect, no one rushes faster to his defence on those times when it is needed.

“It should be obvious to people that if I’ve been working for him all these years, he’s got to be a good dude,” said Hartford, who has been Perez’s best friend forever and his caddie since 2000.

True, Perez doesn’t deflect the hard-living, rough-around-the-edges spotlight that so many are quick to shine on him - hey, it’s sort of cool to be portrayed that way - but he points out that Hartford indeed should be your go-to guy on all things about Perez.

“This guy has been with me… every step of the way. He’s loyal beyond belief. He’d be with me whether I won 25 times or just the (three times),” said Perez.