Saturday, January 31, 2009

I can’t wait to watch Kenny Perry during the FBR’s third round. On Friday he shot a smooth 63 to surge into a tie for fifth, and no one plays a more entertaining brand of smash-mouth golf than Perry when he’s on one of his trademark tears. At this year’s Mercedes Championship he admitted to woofing to other players that he never works out yet they still can’t hit it past this 48-year old country boy with a largely homemade swing.
Last summer, for a Ryder Cup preview story, I journeyed to Perry’s tiny hometown of Franklin, Kentucky. I was happy to play a round at Country Creek, the course Perry designed and built with his own money. The man himself was too busy to show me around but I did even better, as his 84-year-old dad acted as my caddie and chauffeur. Mr. Perry and I roared around in his pimped-out red golf cart, a Christmas present from his son, and on the couple of occasions when I made decent-length putts the old man tooted the horn and gave me a thumbs-up. On every tee box Mr. Perry would point to a faraway tree and say, "Just hit a high draw over that tree." Eventually I had to break the news to him that, unlike his son, I didn’t have a high draw I can carry 290 yards. There aren’t many trees on TPC Scottsdale but on Saturday I’ll be thinking of Mr. Perry every time Kenny blasts a tee shot.

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