Seems like just about everyone has an opinion about Kenny Perry’s decision to forego the British Open for the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee — journalists, bloggers, players, your goldfish. Even President Bush criticized Perry’s refusal to cross the Atlantic. “It’s unacceptable to me,” Bush said Monday, “and it’s unacceptable to the American people.” (Oops, sorry, that was Bush discussing the ban on oil exploration in the Arctic, but you get my point.)
As the debate rages on, here’s what Perry’s peers have been saying this week. Notice how the party lines break down?
First from the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee…
Fred Funk: “Kenny is sticking to a commitment he made at a course where he has played well in the past. How can you blame a guy for that?” Tim Herron: “Kenny is a veteran and knows what he is doing, so more power to him. I kind of like what he’s doing. He’s probably playing the best golf out there now, but he’s got to do what’s best for him.” Tommy Armour III: “Personally, I would have gone to the British but I don’t knock Kenny for not going. … He has a plan, a schedule and he knows what he wants to do. It’s a personal decision. Kenny chose his path and I don’t see anything wrong with it.”
And from the British Open at Royal Birkdale… Scott Verplank: "I can’t believe anyone would not want to come. Everybody’s different but this is one of the four biggest tournaments in the world and the best to me, so I’d never turn down the chance to play it. Kenny’s got his own agenda, I know. He’s set it out: wanting to be on that Ryder Cup team. I guess he feels he’s doing what he needs to do." Jim Furyk: "To the best of my knowledge, you can’t win if you never play. From a personal standpoint, I’d have a very difficult time staying home when I had the opportunity to play in any major championship. You can’t win on the couch. That being said, that decision wouldn’t be for me, but I’m not Kenny Perry." Geoff Ogilvy: "It’s his deal. I wouldn’t do it, but then again, I’m not in Kenny Perry’s shoes." Justin Rose: “He’s arguably the best player in the world right now [with Tiger Woods sidelined] and I find it amazing he’s not here. His priority was obviously the Ryder Cup, but that’s clearly signed, sealed and delivered, so this is a trip that wouldn’t hurt his prospects. So it’s strange. I couldn’t imagine opting out of majors — it’s what I want to judge myself on by the end of my career."
So Kenny, what say you of the firestorm your decision has ignited?
"I really don’t understand it,” he said earlier this week. "I’m going to play where I want to play golf, and if they don’t like it, that’s fine with me. Honestly, I didn’t think anybody cared where I play. I had no idea it would be this big of a deal."
Funny how being the hottest player in golf can do that to a man. Said Funk: “He’s our new Tiger.”