Matthieu Pavon’s ascent to the top level of professional golf has been a gradual yet determined progression since turning professional in 2013. This year, his dedication and skill propelled him into the top 100 of the world rankings for the first time, underscoring his growing stature in the sport.
Arguably more important than his recent rise into the top 100 of world ranking was his finish on the Race to Dubai. Through that, the Frenchman secured his 2024 PGA Tour card after an outstanding season which saw him clinch his first DP World Tour title at the acciona Open de España. The 31-year-old’s triumph was followed by two more top-ten finishes, culminating in a notable fifth-place tie at the DP World Tour Championship.
In hindsight, these results were vital in opening a doorway to new opportunity. Now, transitioning to the next chapter of his career in the States, Pavon reflects on his life-altering breakthrough with Will Kent, offering insights into his evolving journey.
WWG: What a great end to the year for you, 15th on the Race to Dubai. Did you feel like a strong finish like that was coming, or did the great form in 2023 take you by surprise?
MP: It was on the horizon for me. Before my win it was a really good year for me stats wise. With my team we were all very happy. It was the best year I had played so far on Tour. I’d had top tens before earlier in my career too, but only in the smaller tournaments. I was really waiting to have a big week and it came in Madrid. It looks like everything clicked together, and I surfed on that momentum for the last few tournaments of the year.
WWG: You also earned yourself a PGA Tour card for 2024. Has your life changed much because of this, or do you expect it to in the coming months?
MP: Yes, it’s going to change. There are many things to handle and to deal with. As I said, it’s a little bit like first day in a new school. You have a lot to learn. You’re going to discover a new world, and it’s going to be great. I can’t wait to learn and to see what positive experiences are waiting for me.
WWG: Have you sought the advice of any PGA Tour stars about what it takes to make it over in America as well?
MP: I talk to Billy Horschel a little bit. He’s a guy who comes and plays on the DP World Tour, so I try to reach out to him. I talked to him a little bit and asked to share some rounds together, some of his time, because he’s a very experienced guy. Billy has been very kind and I’m sure we will share some time over there on the PGA Tour.
WWG: What are your main goals now for 2024?
MP: We’ll see. This is a discussion I plan to have with my team. It’s going to exciting year for sure, as it would be nice to get to play in four Majors. But it won’t be next year, except if I start the year very well and get myself into the top 50 players in the world. But yeah, that’s the logical thing for me to progress to next. I’m top 100 in the world now so let’s try to reach the top 50.
WWG: What did you make of Jon Rahm leaving the PGA Tour to join LIV Golf?
MP: It’s sad that Jon left. For me, he’s the best player in the world right now. I love that guy, I love the way he plays and what he brings to the game. But now, when you have offers like this, it’s hard to say no. It’s just sad to see some of the greatest players in the game going to LIV and not being on the PGA Tour where I can’t compete with them next year. At the same time, it leaves some spots for me and I’ll try to sneak in.
WWG: What is your opinion on plans to roll the ball back?
MP: I don’t think we had to do this. I’m not a big fan of the decision. The highest ranked person decided for us, they should have asked the players first. There are many professionals on all the Tours across the world, and I think it would have been nice to talk with the players and let us decide.
WWG: If you don’t agree with the plans, how do you think the game needs to tackle the topic of players supposedly hitting it too far now?
MP: If it keeps going with distance then maybe we change things. I think the way the ball goes right now it’s very good and perfect for me. It’s a nice combination of distance and control. You can see low scoring, but not tremendously low in many big tournaments. I think it keeps the tournaments fun. I do think it will be same with a different ball, but I don’t have a clear picture of what it will be playing every shot 15 yards shorter.