Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Few Minutes With Kenny Perry

The Travelers Championship media day was Tuesday (4-20-2010) and defending champion Kenny Perry was there. He has a long history with the tournament going back over 20 years. His first time in Connecticut as a rookie on tour, he stayed at the home of a family in Wethersfield and has stayed with them every year since. Perry is a wonderfully honest athlete, so rare these days. His humility - unlike that of Tiger Woods - is genuine. Here are a few comments he made during his 20 or so minutes before the microphone with ESPN's Chris Berman acting as the host.

Perry, 49, explained that one reason for the resurgence of his play in his 40s -- he's won 11 times -- is that his children were grown and some out of the house so he could concentrate on his game. He said that in the 1980s and 1990s he found it hard to be away from his family. Often times, he recounted, the kids would talk to him on the phone and beg him to come home.

"That really tore at me," he said.

This year, though, he's started off playing well below the level to which we have become accustomed and he says it's, in part, because golf is once again not as important.

"I've kind of pushed me golf game aside and it's showed," he said.

Perry's been spending more time with his wife.

"We actually fell in love again," he said punctuating the remark with a large smile.

There is also another reason for his poor play -- a putter disaster.

During the SBS Championship in January, he was practicing with his Ping Craz-E putter when it broke.

"Five minutes before my tee time at Kapalua, I just hit a 30-foot putt, and I looked down and the head had spun 360 degrees on the shaft," he said, explaining it had worn away over the many years.

"And my first thought when that happened, I thought, 'This is going to be a tough year.'"

He's had it re-shafted twice but it's still not right. He ranks 112th in putts per round with 29.41.

On an entirely different topic, Perry is all for making it mandatory that every member of the PGA Tour is required to play every event on tour over a set span of years, somewhere between three and five.

"I wish the Tour would take a harder stance on that and make the guys play all the events," he said pointing out that it would surely increase attendance at some of the smaller tournaments. "And it would grow the game."

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