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Mito Pereira ‘dream’ of winning on PGA Tour likely never to happen

Mito Pereira ‘dream’ of winning on PGA Tour likely never to happen

MARANA, Ariz. — When Mito Pereira sat in front of the “Full Swing” cameras one year ago and declared winning on the PGA Tour was “the dream of my life,” he had no idea what career-defining events were ahead.

The meltdown on the 72nd hole of the PGA Championship at Southern Hills; his closest friend, Joaquin Niemann, being lured to LIV Golf; Pereira himself finally making the move to LIV last month after months-long conversations.

“It’s fine for me,” Pereira said Wednesday on the range at the Gallery Golf Club where LIV Tucson starts Friday. “I feel good with this decision. The PGA is a great tour. I got my dream to play on that tour.

“Not winning on the PGA Tour … I still got two majors this year. I can still do it.”

Pereira turned pro in 2015. His rookie season on the PGA Tour was last year. He made 39 tour starts in his career with six top 10s. His greatest achievement also was his greatest failure, finishing third in last year’s PGA Championship at Southern Hills (which got him into this year’s Masters and PGA Championship) but surrendering the lead on the 72nd hole (more on that later).

But unless he wins the Masters or finishes in the top 15 in at the PGA Rochester, New York, in May, Pereira’s hope of fulfilling that dream likely is gone. Even he acknowledges there’s a chance he’ll never play on the PGA Tour again, not after Commissioner Jay Monahan informed his membership last summer that any player who joined LIV was suspended from the tour.

A path back to the tour has not been discussed and Monahan said last week that the tour’s position “has not changed.”

“I’m thinking we’re never going back,” the 27-year-old Pereira said. “Maybe it will happen but that will be the thought that I have.”

And Pereira has come to grips with that. Knowing the money from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund will keep flowing for as long as LIV Golf exists certainly helps. Pereira tied for 15th in his first LIV event three weeks ago at Mayakoba and earned $287,500. His total earnings on the PGA Tour were $3.7 million, $870,000 from last year’s PGA Championship.

With a world ranking that peaked at No. 41 last year (he currently is No. 50), Pereira likely will surpass that total sometime during LIV’s 14-event 2023 season.

But for Pereira, as important as the money, is the comfort of being around his closest friend. Rumors of Pereira leaving the tour started circulating in August when Niemann’s jump to LIV was…


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