Alan Shipnuck's Mailbag: Post-FedEx Cup edition

Alan Shipnuck’s Mailbag: Post-FedEx Cup edition

"Why do golf writers never use the word 'choke' when talking about Kenny Perry, but do so when talking about other players? Instead, I barely ever read about Kenny without the writer including he's a 'nice guy' and that he gives money to charity (like many other pros you never hear about). Why the different treatment?"

Kenny-perry

Repeat after me: Kenny choked at the Masters. Kenny choked at the Tour Championship. Kenny choked at the 1996 PGA Championship. He has done plenty of choking, just like every other player, although he is more honest in admitting it, which perhaps makes it less necessary for sportswriters to state the obvious. Perry may also get a little bit of a pass because he was never considered a big-time player until so late in his career, and thus there have always been diminished expectations. As for the reflexive writing about his down-home persona, let's face it, ol' Kenny is one of the game's true originals and it's almost impossible to tell his story without going there. One of my favorites from my SI canon is about Perry and his hometown. Check it out, though be forewarned, there is nary a mention of choking. "I loved hearing Sean O'Hair talk about his practice round with Tiger and how Tiger helped him with his putting. Do these types of stories happen more, or less, often than we fans think?" They happen a lot. I remember when Brandel Chamblee was playing in the Masters for the first time. He was paired with Jose Maria Olazabal. Olley pulled off a superb chip with his 6-iron and Brandel commented on it. On the next tee box the great Spaniard gave a little on-the-spot tutorial, in the middle of a tournament round. Brad Faxon and Vijay Singh have long been oracles of the short- and long-game, respectively. It's not uncommon to see each guy giving a lesson to a fellow pro. Vijay is so generous with his counsel it's one of the reasons he's popular with his peers. Even in this age of overexposed swing gurus, top players are always looking to improve, and who better to go to for advice than a fellow player? "I may be the only one who cares, but with Phil playing so well this past week, I think he will be the main guy at the President's Cup next week. In the past, going into the Ryder or President's Cup, he never has been on a high where he was playing real well. Not this time…plus his wife is doing well…..your thoughts?" This is a good point. Phil has always been so apathetic post-PGA Championship, and he often seemed unprepared to play at the team events. He is a momentum player, and I expect his sizzling play from Atlanta will carry over to the Prez Cup. Amy is a little bit of an x-factor. She showed up at Torrey Pines a couple weeks ago for a charity thing and looked fabulous. If she's feeling well enough to accompany Phil to San Francisco that will give him and the entire team a big boost. Like it or not, the wives are a big part of the camaraderie of the week. If Phil is without his bride I could see that being a little bit of a downer for him. But either way, I expect him to make a ton of birdies for the U.S. team, and it will be fun to watch. Also, don't be surprised if Tiger and Phil team up for at least one match. Their relationship has evolved considerably since that disastrous 0-2 day at the 2004 Ryder Cup. After Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer, Tiger sent Phil a series of heartfelt text messages that Lefty was very touched by. Their friendlier vibe was evident during the trophy presentations at the Tour Championship. "Do you see a Tiger/Weir rematch for the Presidents cup singles or Tiger/Yang rematch?" Only a few frostbitten Canucks even remember Weir beating Tiger in '07. It's time to move on. Both Norman and Couples have already indicated they like the thought of a Woods-Yang rematch, and no doubt Tiger would relish the chance to administer a beat down. But no matter how many times Woods dusts Yang going forward, Y.E. will always have the one victory that really matters.(Photos: Fred Vuich/SI)


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