Pernice was born in Kansas City, Missouri. He attended UCLA, where his teammates on the golf team included Jay Delsing, Corey Pavin, Steve Pate and Duffy Waldorf. Pernice was a two-time All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year in 1981. He majored in Economics and graduated in 1982.
Pernice won two PGA Tour events. His best finish in a major championship is T13 at the 1989 US Open.
After turning 50 in 2009, Pernice became the 15th player to win a Champions Tour event in his debut, winning the SAA Championship by one stroke over Nick Price and David Frost. In 2009 and 2010, Pernice played sporadically on the PGA Tour, earning conditional status for 2010 and 2011, while also competing on the Champions Tour.
Pernice rejoined the PGA Tour in 2012, after a tie for third in the Children’s Miracle Network Classic moved him to 121st on the money list. In his limited time, Pernice also finished 29th on the Champions Tour, earning him full status on both tours for 2012.