Perez set to launch title defence in desert rain

Rain could be a significant factor at this week’s Bob Hope Classic in La Quinta, California but defending champion Pat Perez plans to make the best of conditions.

By (Reuters)

Published: Wed 20 Jan 2010, 3:08 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 5:10 AM

The California coast is being battered by high winds and heavy rain this week and wet weather has been forecast for the first three rounds of the 90-hole pro-am celebrity event in its desert surrounds.

“It looks like the weather will put a damper on things,” American Perez, 33, told reporters on the eve of Wednesday’s opening round. “It won’t be exactly like last year but we’ll just make the best of it.

“I don’t think they get a whole lot of drainage here. We played La Quinta today and you could tell there was a lot of water sitting in one spot.

“The greens are in phenomenal shape so that’s not going to be a problem. It will just be a matter of standing water in the fairway.”

Asked if the gloomy weather might impact on the joy of returning as defending champion, Perez replied: “Not at all. It doesn’t do anything for me as far as defending because I’m still here and the tournament’s still going to go on.

“I have a lot of great memories from last year and it will be a good week. But it would be a better week if I won again.”

Perez clinched his maiden PGA Tour title at last year’s event, winning by three shots after taking advantage of a final-round collapse by overnight leader Steve Stricker.

Really Special

“No matter where you win your first (title), it’s going to be really special,” Arizona-based Perez said.

“It was really special for me because I grew up in San Diego and here (La Quinta) is halfway between San Diego and where I live. I had a lot of friends and a lot of family.”

Low scoring has become a tradition at the Bob Hope Classic where the players make the most of the relatively short courses used at four different venues in the California desert.

The four layouts used last year were the easiest on the 2009 PGA Tour and the Nicklaus Private course at PGA West had a scoring average of 66.984 — the lowest since the Tour began recording such details in 1983.

“This tournament’s really just about putting anyway,” said Perez, who fired a course record 11-under-par 61 at Bermuda Dunes during the 2003 tournament.

The $5 million Bob Hope Classic will be played over the 6,930-yard Palmer Private course at PGA West, the host venue, as well as La Quinta Country Club, the Nicklaus Private course and the SilverRock Resort layout.

Among those teeing off in a field of 128 for Wednesday’s opening round are former world number one David Duval and 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir, who will be making their first appearances on the 2010 PGA Tour.

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