Kenny Perry skipping majors: Inexcusable

It’s hard to bash Kenny Perry because he’s such a nice guy. But Perry deserves to be bashed. There’s absolutely no reason to justify why Perry is in Milwaukee this weekend seeking another fat paycheck and more Ryder Cup points. Perry has enough money to live like Louis XIV for the rest of his life, and he’s locked up a spot on the Ryder Cup team. So he should be in England trying to win the British Open. And last month he should have tried to qualify for the U.S. Open.
Perry has seemingly good excuses for his inexcusable recent behavior. Torrey Pines was too long and hard for him, so he had no chance to win. Months ago he committed to the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee, so despite being exempt for the British Open he wanted to honor his commitment to Milwaukee. He’s also said  it’s unrealistic for guys his age (47) to win majors.
Nice tries, those excuses, but they’re lame. Very lame. Don’t you think the folks in Milwaukee would’ve understood if Perry had told them he was skipping their event so he could go to Birkdale? More to the point, tour players who won’t play in majors, for any reason, should not be Tour players. There is nothing more important, challenging and rewarding than majors. Ask Tiger, who has often reminded us that nobody knows Jack Nicklaus’s Ryder Cup record, but everybody knows his major record. Even if a player doesn’t think he can win a major, he should play if he has the chance. You never know when lightning will strike, as Greg Norman (age 53) discovered that last two days at Birkdale.
Paul Azinger, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain, says he’s he doesn’t care about Perry ditching his national championship and the world’s open championship. I don’t believe Azinger, who’s probably just putting forth a cheery public image to support his Ryder Cup charge. But if Perry doesn’t have the motivation and the guts to compete in majors, and represent his country in the process, how’s he going to react to the suffocating pressure of having to drain a six-footer in the Ryder Cup?
As awesome as Perry has played this season, in the future I won’t remember his season for the multiple victories and meteoric rise up the money list and World Ranking. Nor will I remember how he performs at Valhalla in the Ryder Cup. I’ll remember the absurd and inexplicable decisions Perry made to skip two majors.

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by Kevin Cunningham