There are moments in life that are unforgettable for different reasons. As one of the founders of a golf ball company, there have been countless moments, events and people that have been memorable…and then there is Xeve Perez. Xeve was a pint-size phenom when I first met him at the age of 6 while down in Augusta, Georgia. He has always loved our golf balls and for what he lacked in size and age he made up for in skill, politeness and personality. He was already a local star in Georgia and it was clear from an early age that Xeve was destined for something special. As I walked up to the driving range where he was practicing, I first met his mother Christine and father Miguel who are two of the most genuinely kind people you could ever meet. Christine grabbed Xeve’s attention and said “Mr. Bret is here Xeve.” He dropped his club and ran over and said “Hello Mr. Bret” and gave me a huge hug. I just about melted right then and there. We spent some time getting to know him and his parents and even got to celebrate his birthday at his favorite Hibachi restaurant in Georgia. He reminded me of what it was like to be a kid and, in an instant, made me a life long fan.
Now let’s fast forward 5 years to last week when Xeve (now age 11) and his parents arrived in Buffalo as he became the youngest person in the history of the International Junior Masters to be invited to compete. It is no wonder why either…he was ranked number one on the Georgia State Junior Golf Association tour among 13-15 year olds by the age of 9 and has been competing against kids 2 and 3 years older for as long as I have known him. At the IJM, he would be competing against some of the most talented young golfers in the world – nearly all of them between 15-18 years old. Every person at the tournament that met Xeve was impressed with his gentlemanly demeanor. He greeted everyone by removing his hat, shaking their hand, and a “sir” or “ma’am” is sure to follow. See what WGRZ had to say about XEVE.
He is as polite as he is funny…a personality that brings a smile to everyone around him. Don’t let his kindness fool you though, he is an absolute monster on the course, driving the ball further and with more accuracy than most of the adult golfers I know, with a mental toughness that shows maturity beyond his years and a competitive nature that drives him without the need for any outside encouragement. On the golf course he is astonishing, on camera…he’s a superstar. Whether it’s the Today Show, Kelly Clarkson, Steve Harvey or a local television station, Xeve is the kind of young man that everyone and anyone can root for and feel good about.
His performance at the IJM was impressive as he beat two outstanding golfers – 18 and 17 years old – in a match play format and making it to the semifinals where he remained competitive but ultimately lost to a 17 year old from Scotland. He will be back and we will be rooting for him. You don’t need to remember the name Xeve Perez, because in a few years you won’t be able to watch golf without hearing it! Xeve’s goal is to be the youngest player to ever participate in the Masters and we wouldn’t bet against him!