Pat Perez on Tiger Woods: 'He knows he can't beat anybody'

Pat Perez on Tiger Woods: 'He knows he can't beat anybody'

PGA Tour

Pat Perez on Tiger Woods: 'He knows he can't beat anybody'

In a way, Pat Perez and Tiger Woods have taken opposite paths. While the former has thrived, earning a long-awaited second PGA Tour win and then soaking up the Hawaii sun, following a debilitating shoulder surgery, Woods has crumbled in his comeback from two back surgeries.

Perez is pretty much always candid and that’s not exempted when he talks about Woods. The 14-time major champion recently suffered his greatest setback yet, withdrawing from scheduled starts at the Genesis Open and Honda Classic and cancelling a press conference ahead of the Genesis Open as doctors advised him to “just stay horizontal.”

In light of these recent events, Perez weighed in on Tiger on “Out of Bounds” – The SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio show he co-hosts with ESPN’s Michael Collins.

Get your popcorn ready: Perez did not hold back.

“(Tiger) knows he can’t beat anybody,” Perez said on the show. “But what he does he’s got this new corporation that he’s started so he’s got to keep his name relevant to keep the corporation going. So he’s going to show up to a few events, he’s going to try to play, he’s going to show … the Monster bag, he’s going to show the TaylorMade driver, he’s going get on TV. He’s got the Nike clothes, he’s got to keep that stuff relevant.”

Well, that’s blunt. But Perez is just speaking his truth. He furthered his point by referring back to the last time Woods played. You know, when earlier this month the 41-year-old opened in Dubai with a birdie-free 77 and then withdrew because of a back spasm.

“The guy shot 77! That guy can’t shoot 77,” Perez said. “What does he do the next day? ‘Aw my back’s gone.’ He knows he can’t beat anybody!”

“The guy can’t show up to an interview. … You think he thinks he can’t beat somebody? The guy can’t stand in an interview.”

To be clear, Perez isn’t dissing Woods. He’s just being honest about the shaky state of his game and health. Let’s also note the Perez did play junior golf with Woods in Southern California and, as we noted above, has a recent experience returning from injury. Perez, 40, also talked briefly about Woods’ impact, stating that the 14-time major champion is still the needle in golf and always will be until he retires.

“I don’t care what Dustin (Johnson), Jordan (Spieth), Jason Day, Rory (McIlroy), I don’t care what any of them do,” Perez said. “Tiger is the name. He is the game of golf as we know it today.”

But as for Woods’ immediate future, it looks pretty bleak. The next time he could conceivably play is the Arnold Palmer Invitational next month. If that doesn’t happen, we probably won’t see him until the Masters. And if he isn’t present at Augusta National, well…

“I don’t know. If he doesn’t play Augusta, it’s over!” Perez said. “Personally, I don’t think you’ll see him again this year.”

Some tough love there from Perez. But considering Woods’ current state, is there any other kind to give?

UPDATE: 7:23 p.m. ET

Perez went on the SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio show “Katrek & Maginnes on Tap” to clarify his previous comments. Here’s the full interview on Brian Katrek’s and John Maginnes’ show.

The gist was that Perez wanted to note he has major respect for Woods and is still in awe of what he’s accomplished. In fact, Perez, said “it sucks” to see Woods like this and he actually thought the 41-year-old might be done with golf by this time because he had already accomplished too much.

Perez reiterated, though, that at this moment, Woods looks nowhere near ready to play.

“I don’t know what happened with the interview thing, but they said he had to stay horizontal. It’s just common sense. If the guy can’t walk around, how’s he going to play golf?” Perez said. “When you’re Tiger Woods and you’ve beaten everybody for so long, you’re not going to come out and play mediocre. … Why would he do it? He’s been on top his whole life.”

Perez feels it’s unfortunate people have taken his comments the wrong way, and says, if anything, he’s a guy who’s constantly defending Woods.

“I’ve never badmouthed Tiger. I don’t badmouth him,” Perez said. “I stick up for him, even though he would never know that. I argue with people about him.”

Toward the end of the chat Perez possibly quipped(?) “maybe I’ll just cancel my show and all my other stuff so I don’t have to worry about saying something that is just a friendly opinion.”

His closing point unequivocally states his support for Woods even if he’s not sugarcoating the 14-time major champion’s current state.

“Hopefully people can move on and realize that I want to see Tiger come back just like them.”

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