Perry sizing up Ryder Cup
By PGA Tour standards Kenny Perry is an old man. No, 47 is not old unless you are a little league baseball player and your coach is that age. Then 47 is old.
Kenny Perry is 47 and on the PGA tour, 47 is getting up there. Players can compete on the Champions Tour, formerly known as the Senior Tour, at age 50. Despite his years, Perry has been a frequent visitor to the leader board this season.
He had the 54 hole lead at the Players Championship before suffering an 81 in the final round. A week later he lost the AT&T classic in a playoff. Sunday he came through and won the Memorial, Jack Nicklaus' tournament at Murfield Village near Columbus. It was Perry's third championship in that event with the first one coming in 1991. Tiger Woods is the only other player to win the Memorial three times, but Woods only had to participate 10 times to get his hat trick.
But that is not the point. Perry has made it widely known that he wants to compete this September on the United States' Ryder Cup team. This year's event is at Valhalla Country Club in Louisville, Kentucky. Perry is from Kentucky and making this team to play in his home state is very important to him.
His candid discussions about wanting to make the team would indicate a certain amount of campaigning on his part, but so what? That is more refreshing than hearing some players who are selected complain about not getting paid. Perry's candor did illicit a response from Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger several weeks ago.
When asked about Perry's prospects of making the team, Azinger responded that playing well this year might not be enough, that Perry would probably need to win a tournament to be selected.
Harsh? Perhaps, but Perry took the words to heart and said after Sunday's win that when Azinger said he needed a tournament win, it changed his whole mind set. The win, by the way, vaulted Perry from 17th in Ryder Cup points to fifth. He also explained that his tournament schedule for 2008 was made solely with qualifying for the team in mind.
It was here where the veteran golfer lost me a little. Having been decidedly in Perry's corner watching Sunday's tournament, and fully behind him in his quest for a spot on the Ryder Cup team, I was taken aback when he said he wasn't going to play in the US Open in two weeks.
I am fine with Perry picking and choosing his events to enhance his chance to attain certain goals. He just lost me when he said he was bypassing the national championship because he doesn't play well at Torrey Pines. A lot of players opt out of the US Open for a variety of reasons, usually because the open venues are set up to humiliate a golfer, and a golfer not on top of his game wants no part of that. That said, Perry seems to be at the top of his game and seemingly should relish the opportunity to go for a US Open Championship.
When he said this during the CBS interview, none of the announcers nor analysts responded with my thought, so I guess it's cool, but I'm not sold.