By petedirenzo
Monday, July 14, 2008

The hottest golfer in the game, Mr. Ken Perry, is not playing in the British Open this week at Royal Birkdale. He's playing the Tour stop in Milwaukee instead. Good for him. Writers and other commentators are having a field day with his decision. Good for them.
This is exactly how it's supposed to be. Perry, independently owned and operated, chooses to play where he wants to play, for whatever reason. It's one of the greatest and most distinctive things about professional golf.
Those of us who type about the game get to second-guess him about his decision. The simple joys of a free press.
He made a commitment to play in Milwaukee early, before he became the most talked-about 48-year-old golfer since Tom Watson was 48 and was suddenly playing good golf again. Now he's honoring that commitment. It's hard to find fault in that.
Any of us can imagine what we would do in Perry's situation. My esteemed colleague Gary Van Sickle doesn't think Perry's high drawing ball flight suits British Open play. He's only being logical: Tom Lehman, Justin Leonard, David Duval, Mark O'Meara, Nick Price, Lee Trevino -- the list of low-ball Open winners is a long one. But when you're playing as well as Perry, some would say it doesn't matter what your preferred flight is. A golfer on fire will contend anywhere.
The Open is slightly diminished with Kenny Perry not being there. Very slightly. Perry's career -- or the public's view of it -- is enhanced by winning or even contending in the British Open. Perry has another view, and I admire him for it. When you really get to know the Tour players, you find they're cowboys, many of them, at heart.

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