Let’s start this by saying Perry seems to be a nice guy. He gives a lot of money to charity. He’s built a golf course in his hometown for the locals and even plays there occasionally. He really, really wants to play in his home state of Kentucky, which apparently means a great deal to him.
Now that he’s made the team, he’s decided to skip the British Open this week to play Milwaukee, a third-tier PGA Tour stop where none of the best players in the world — with the exception of Perry — will be in the field. Then there’s Milwaukee which will have, well hardly anyone of note.
Lots of golfers and pundits seem confused by the move, including Jim Furyk, not normally the most outspoken tour pro:
“To the best of my knowledge, you can’t win if you don’t play,” he said Monday at Royal Birkdale. “From a personal standpoint, I’d have a difficult time staying home when I had a chance to play in a major. You can’t win on the couch.”
Perry’s take? That he’s just a good ol’ boy and doesn’t really play well in anything but 90 degree weather.
“I played Birkdale in ’91, missed the cut there. My stroke average at the British Open is 76 point whatever,” said Perry. “I’m not good when it gets 40 and 50 degrees (Fahrenheit) and 50-mile-an-hour winds. I’m a hot weather guy.”
Of course this is really just justifying a stupid move to himself. Truth is that Perry has played in the British Open and has finished in the Top 20 three times — hardly the disaster he’d like to portray.
I supposed Perry can do what he likes — including playing in the Mid-West as opposed to in what is arguably the greatest golf tournament of them all. Golfers are independent contractors — and no one can force them to play.
But Perry also really wants to be part of the Ryder Cup team, and what does it say about a golfer when he doesn’t want to battle against the best in the world, and would rather compete against a much less significant field?