Kenny Perry is going to pass on the Senior British Open, to sit a spell, including perhaps behind the wheel of
a dragster going 200 miles per hour, an old
hobby. And for that, his peers on the Champions Tour who are going to play at Royal
Birkdale July 25-28 should be most grateful.
When Perry decided not to compete overseas, their chances of winning got a whole
On a warm Sunday night in Omaha, Perry
had the Francis D. Ouimet Memorial Trophy
in hand and a new, hot car, soon to be his, in
mind. Having won the U.S. Senior Open by a comfortable
five strokes over Fred Funk with a performance that would
have been the envy of any golfer of any age on any tour—that
means you, Jordan Spieth, and you, Inbee Park, and you,
Tiger Woods—Perry was as content as a golfer could be. And
with good reason.
Shooting 64-63 over the final two rounds at hilly and testy
Omaha CC, which pulsed with large galleries ( 34,354 on the
final day) that gave the event more gravitas, brought the
53-year-old Kentuckian his second consecutive major title.
His Open victory was an encore to a triumph at the Constellation Senior Players Championship at Fox Chapel GC, making him only the ninth golfer to claim back-to-back senior
majors. He is the first, however, to shoot 13-under 127 on the
weekends in those consecutive majors to pull off the feat.
“I was in one of those streaks. I’m a streaky player,” said
Perry, who trailed Michael Allen by 10 strokes after 36 holes
in Omaha. “I can win multiple times in a hurry, and then I
disappear for a year or six months or whatever, then I show
back up again.”
Indeed, on the PGA Tour, where Perry won 14 times
and still dabbles, his success was concentrated, with long
droughts. He went six years between his third and fourth
victories and accumulated his wins in just eight seasons, 10
of them in only four (2003, 2005, 2008 and 2009). It is not
unusual for players to capitalize on brief bursts of good form,
whether to win tournaments or earn enough money to keep
their cards, but Perry, with his blend of effortless power and
stints in which he makes a lot of putts as he has recently, is
an extreme example.
“Kenny just went bye-bye,” said Rocco Mediate, who closed
with 66 to share third place with Corey Pavin. “He gets on
these crazy runs. He did it on the regular tour. Now he’s doing
it here. It’s amazing. He doesn’t back off. I’m glad he won this
one. He should win one of these, as good as he plays.”
Less than two months ago, a hot streak didn’t seem as if
it was on the horizon for Perry. He bungled away the Senior
PGA Championship, blowing a three-shot lead with six holes
to play in the final round at Bellerive CC, sadly similar to a
poor conclusion at the 2009 Masters that cost him a green
jacket. Instead of crushing him, however, losing to Kohki
Idoki at the Senior PGA provided inspiration.