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Perez staying positive amid hiatus

Perez staying positive amid hiatus

Victor Perez is determined to say positive while the golfing world is paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Victor Perez

The Frenchman was in the form of his life when the COVID-19 outbreak brought the sporting programme to a grinding halt.

Now, the World Number 40 is trying hard to see a silver lining to having his Masters Tournament debut and a potential first Ryder Cup appearance put on hold.

Perez followed his maiden European Tour title at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last September with two runners-up finishes in Rolex Series events and a tie for fourth in the WGC-HSBC Champions in his next six events.

That took the 27-year-old into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking and secured his place at Augusta National but the season's first two Major Championships have been postponed, with all other European Tour events either postponed or cancelled until May 28 at the earliest as the world comes together to fight the health crisis.

It will happen, my exemption is still there and I’ll play the tournament at some point and to be fair I might turn this into an advantage

“Health is far more important than any tournament but it comes at a difficult time because if maybe this had happened in December some of the big tournaments would not have been affected as much," Perez told the PA news agency.

Perez, who is based in Dundee where his girlfriend Abigail is a dentistry student, has at least had the chance to play Augusta National after making the trip to Georgia with his manager two weeks ago.

And he is hoping a possible change of dates to later in the year could work in his favour as he tries to become the first Masters rookie to slip on the famous Green Jacket since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

“Obviously I’m disappointed with the postponement like everyone else,” he added. “There were probably a few guys that took years to qualify and then the event doesn’t happen, but I’m planning on playing the tournament for the next 20 years or whatever.

“It will happen, my exemption is still there and I’ll play the tournament at some point and to be fair I might turn this into an advantage.

Victor Perez

“The tournament might be on a date that’s completely different than what everybody else is used to and I think it will make the course somewhat different to what everyone knows. Being a first-timer there could be an advantage I can get from it.

“We had rented a house and my girlfriend, my agent and my trainer were going to be there.

“Being my first Major I was trying to keep it really small, try to keep it as golf-related as possible like how I’ve been behaving ever since I turned pro, because I know the stress level is going to be as high as it’s ever been.”

Stress levels will also be through the roof at the Ryder Cup, with Perez currently occupying an automatic qualifying place for the European team due to face the United States at Whistling Straits in September.

Health is far more important than any tournament

Perez sampled the atmosphere as a spectator at Le Golf National in Paris in 2018 and is relishing the challenge of helping Europe attempt to retain the trophy.

“As a European it’s something that we take a lot of pride in and something that I’m really looking forward to,” he added.

“I can’t tell if cancelling tournaments plays into my advantage or not, time will tell, I just know that eventually the best players are going to be on the team and it’s going to be a matter of being prepared and executing when it happens.

“The atmosphere in Paris was amazing. It will be very challenging going on American soil and trying to defend the cup, but what a great challenge.”

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