BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Kenny Perry, playing in a major for the first time this year, withdrew from the PGA Championship after an opening-round 79 because of an eye injury.
Perry, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour this year, is ranked 17th in the world and has clinched a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
“I have had Lasik surgery and have been wearing Lasik lenses which have a hard center and flatten out at the end,” he said after withdrawing. “I had got some infection in there and my doctor said that I needed to let my eyes rest by keeping the contacts out.
“He gave me cortisone and steroids which were very painful and it was annoying and difficult to be to trying to fight a tough golf course and have my eye aggravating me at the same time.”
Perry said he is being by Dr. Robert Erickson, an opthamolgist from Birmingham, Mich.
“I love the PGA Championship and I hate to not be continuing. But I have got to get ready for the Ryder Cup,” said Perry, who turns 48 on Sunday.
The biennial competition with Europe will be played in September at Valhalla Country Club in Perry’s home state of Kentucky.
Perry, who did not even try to qualify for the U.S. Open and passed on playing in the British Open, has made nearly $4.5 million – trailing only Tiger Woods, whose season ended with knee surgery – on the money list and is averaging a PGA Tour-low 69.51 strokes in 21 events.
He was winless the previous two seasons, slowed by knee surgery, after winning twice in 2005 and three times in 2003.
This was Perry’s 18th PGA Championship and his best finish was a second in 1996 when he lost to Mark Brooks in a playoff.