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Almost 50, Kenny Perry is a father figure to young guys on Tour — when he's not kicking their butts

Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Perry plans to split time between the Champions and PGA tours.

You turn 50 in August. Is it a sure thing that you're going to the Champions Tour?
I'll play both. I've got a five-year exemption left on the PGA Tour, so I'm eligible for everything out here for five years except for the majors and the World Golf Championships. For the next five years you'll see me cherry-picking, playing where my wife, Sandy, and I would like to go hang out for the week. I'm not going to be as competitive, I don't think. I was so focused on winning and winning and winning, and now my desire may not be as strong as it has been in the past, so I want to enjoy these last few years. We're going to have a good time. My son's caddying for me, so that's neat too.

What's it like to be one of the oldest guys on Tour and still winning?
Well, I think it's kind of rare. I've got all the young kids coming up to me and asking for my advice, which is pretty neat. I enjoy talking with them and hanging out with them.

What advice do you give the younger guys on Tour?
Blake Adams is a rookie, and he's on the TaylorMade staff like me. At the beginning of the season he asked me everything — what should he be prepared for, how should he prepare for the West Coast? The West Coast swing is brutal for rookies because it's multiple golf courses. You play three at Pebble Beach, you play four at the Bob Hope, and you play two at Torrey Pines. My advice is to not overplay them. I tell them the courses they need to play and which ones they can go blind on.

What else do you tell them?
I just encourage them, and give them my number so they can call me at any time. Where do they need to stay? Where are the good places to eat? There's a lot more to it than just playing golf when you're a rookie. I tell them, don't be switching clubs for money, either. Once you make the Tour you have all these companies throwing money at you to play their stuff. That's a mistake. They need to play what they're used to and comfortable with the first year and go from there.

After being a part of victorious Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams, will it take a major win to complete your career?
No, my career is pretty complete. I mean, I had my shot at the majors. I lost in a playoff at the PGA and the Masters. The PGA really hurt, the Masters didn't hurt. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the moment, which told me I'd grown up, and I was realizing my dream. I was living my dream out there. I've had a great career. I wouldn't second-guess anything.

Your father was one of the breakout stars of the Ryder Cup at Valhalla in 2008. Is he going to be coming to Wales?
No, Dad's 86, and his health is failing him. We've got 24-hour care with him right now. Hopefully he's alive by Wales. What happened at the 2008 Ryder Cup was the greatest thing that me and him have ever experienced.

What's your favorite car these days?
Probably my '69 Camaro. I put a Corvette engine in it, with a 6-speed, so it's a neat car to drive.

Do you follow any specific diet or exercise regimen?
Never have. I've never lifted one weight. I'm a fried-food guy — I'm gonna die early, because I love fried chicken, biscuits. I had biscuits and gravy this morning.

So it's just natural talent that lets you compete at age 49?
Well, you know, I think a lot of it has to do with genetics. You see some guys who work out their whole life, and then they die early. My granddad was 93 when he died, and my dad's 86. So I think a lot of it's just that God blessed me with good genetics.

You've got a lot of years left, I think.
Yeah, if I don't kill myself in that ol' hot rod [laughs].

 

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