Victor Perez was nowhere to be seen a couple of years ago, now he's on a possible fast track to Padraig Harrington's team at Whistling Straits

The hope at Le Golf National was that we would get one of the home favourites to make the European side. As it was the closest we got was Raphael Jacquelin and Gregory Havret getting the Thunderclap going on the 1st tee every morning.

The hazy memory of Victor Dubuisson seducing us all, and in particular his new best friend Graeme McDowell, at Gleneagles in 2014 was but a distant memory.

Now we have Victor Perez who, in September 2018, was still battling away on the Challenge Tour. A few weeks later he beat Bob MacIntyre in China, the Scot holing a ridiculous eagle putt at the 72nd hole a few minutes ahead of Perez making an equally unlikely birdie. Roll the clock forward to Whistling Straits and both may well be on Padraig Harrington’s side.

One big turnaround in Perez’s career came when he had just shot an 80 at Le Golf National in 2018 to miss the cut by a mile. He sought out plenty of advice and the best bit came from an unlikely source.

“I didn’t have my best stuff with me that week as I was trying to focus on playing ‘perfectly’,” he said. “The most impactful conversation was with Jimmy Johnson, who caddies for Justin Thomas. I asked him about how Justin plays so well so consistently.

“He explained the simplicity with which Justin approaches the game and how he focuses on his strengths to play his best golf. Once I started focusing on simplifying my decision-making process, my game took off to new heights.”

A collection of top-10 finishes, including the win in China, left him in third spot on the Challenge Tour money list.

A solid enough rookie season on the main tour then took off when he landed the Dunhill Links, now with Rory McIlroy’s former caddie JP Fitzgerald on the bag and just a few miles from his base in Dundee. It moved him up to 72nd in the world and in the space of the next six tournaments he picked up over €1.5 million thanks to further top-five efforts in the WGC in China and Turkey where he was part of that six-man play-off under the lights.

Perez ended 2019 the 45th best player in the world and with a pass to the Masters.

And now, with the golden tickets of the majors, WGCS and Rolex Series events a regular occurrence Perez will be much talked about when it comes to the Ryder Cup in September.

There’s far too long to get carried away but the University of New Mexico graduate is sitting very pretty. This year his first two events were a tale of two Sundays; a 63 in Abu Dhabi vaulting him up to a tie for 2nd before a 79 in the gusts of Dubai slipping him from the final twoball into 16th.

Should it happen he will follow in the footsteps of his countrymen Jean van de Velde, Thomas Levet and Dubuisson. At 6-foot-6 he’ll be one of the tallest, while other throwaway tidbits are that he doesn’t wear a glove which may be another European first.

And it may give Fitzgerald another Ryder Cup outing; the caddie who, in among all the McIlroy sideshows, was on Paul McGinley’s bag when he holed that putt at the Belfry in 2002.

Given where the pair of them were two years ago it would be some rise.

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