Perry Should Be At British Open

Kenny PerryThere has been lots of discussion about whether golf’s hottest player, 47-year-old Kenny Perry, should be in the United Kingdom this week as opposed to teeing it up in Milwaukee.

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?

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

10 CommentsLeave a comment

  • It says he is a candy ass.

    He is free to choose not to play – that is not the issue. I hope he throws up all over himself at Valhalla.

  • Curtis Strange’s expressed regret in several occasions for skipping out on the Open during his prime.

    Secondly, Perry is paying the best golf in his life right now, wouldn’t it make sense to give it a shot, especially with the twilight of his career is closing in?

    As far as fans goes, unless you are from his hometown in Kentucky, no one will miss him not being there.

  • What if Weir says he’s skipping the Open to prepare for the Canadian Open (a third rate PGA event?)?

    Canada apparently means a lot to Weir?

  • I guess that would make sense if Perry was from Wisconsin. Last I heard, Wisconsin wasn’t a sister state to Kentucky.

  • If I was Azinger I’d have Perry watching from the locker room. This guy passes on 2 majors to accumulate Ryder Cup points? I thought as a PGA tour pro you would live for the majors……..not accumulate points by playing the ” B ” squad. Put an asterisk beside his name on the Ryder Cup roster.

  • xkrfan: what was the 2nd major he passed on?

    and why can’t he decide to play where he wants to play? if he’s not interested in competing against the best, thats his choice. he’s an independent contractor. what is the big deal?

    is an Open field WITH Kenny Perry really THAT much better than it stands today? I think not.

  • Phil, he is free to play where he wants to play, I don’t think that is the issue for most people. However, someone who wants to be a part of the Ryder Cup should be chomping at the bits to play majors.

  • Phil.he passed on the US Open…….his own National Championship………somewhat akin to Weir passing on the Canadian Open to get points for the President;s Cup……………I don’t buy this ” independent contractor ” nonsense either…….if you benefit from sponsor’s purses and television making you a household name, then you should compete against the best in the world….not some Nationwide also-rans……… he made this decision very early on when he committed to Milwaukee…like it’s some noble thing to do

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