Perry still hungry after recent major near-misses

By Associated PressJune 16, 2009, 4:00 pm
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2009 U.S. OpenFARMINGDALE, N.Y. ' Kenny Perry says he never closes his eyes and laments the two major championships that slipped out of his grasp in the waning moments.
 
The Masters earlier this year, where he held a two-shot lead with two holes remaining only to fall in a playoff?
 
Had it, Perry said.
 
How about the 1996 PGA Championship at Valhalla, when his two-shot lead on the 72nd hole turned into a sudden-death loss, on his native Kentucky soil no less?
 
Had that deal done, too, Perry said.
 
Thats Perry. No complaints about what might have been.
 
No need for that, considering this is a guy closing in on the $30 million mark in career earnings, has won four times since the start of last season, and figures to be among one of those in the hunt starting Thursday when the U.S. Open begins at Bethpage Black.
 
I know I can do it, said Perry, who was one of the heroes of the U.S. Ryder Cup win'oddly enough, at Valhalla'last fall, calling that the highlight of his career. Its just Ive got to rethink it a little bit when Im coming done on the last couple of holes and not get ahead of myself. But I look forward to the challenge.
 
A challenge it will most assuredly be.
 
Bethpage Black will be 212 yards longer than the setup when the U.S. Open was held on Long Island in 2002, and the 7,426-yard layout will be the second-longest in tournament history, 217 shy of what Torrey Pines offered last year when Tiger Woods beat Rocco Mediate in an epic Monday playoff.
 
Even on Monday, nearly 72 hours before the real tee shots of this week will be struck, Bethpage was showing some teeth.
 
A pair of amateurs both hit tee shots into the right-hand rough on the first hole, missing the spongy fairway by less than 10 yards. Neither came close to reaching the green. Some tufts of grass were 4 inches higher than others in the rough, already matted down by foot traffic, and the greens were quick enough to confuse practice-round ticketholders.
 
You putt like me, one said, mocking Charlie Beljan, who struck a putt on the 16th that rolled 30 feet past the cup.
 
When told Beljan was aiming at another potential pin location that could be used this week, the fan offered an apology, although Beljan'who needed to get through local and sectional qualifying just to reach Bethpage'didnt seem to notice any of the commotion.
 
Hundreds of people hovered in that area around the 16th green most of the morning, waiting to catch a glimpse of Woods as he approached 15, 16 or 17'all nearby holes.
 
He skipped all of them.
 
The defending champion, who also won at Bethpage in 2002, was the first player to reach the tee box Monday morning, as steady rain pelted the Black course. He eventually played nine holes, visited the putting green for a while, then left before lunch with swing coach Hank Haney and caddie Steve Williams in tow.
 
Perry said its not exactly the same Bethpage this week as it was when Woods won seven years ago, being the only player to break par for the week with a 3-under 277.
 
I think the scores are going to be OK, Perry said. I dont think they are going to be that high, to tell you the truth.
 
He claims theres no hangover from the near-miss at Augusta, but Perry hasnt exactly been on a roll since Angel Cabrera won that playoff with him at the Masters, either.
 
Perry has played four times since then, with only five of those 16 rounds in the 60s and no finish better than a tie for 22nd at the Players Championship. He put together a round of 68 to finish the Memorial two weekends ago, perhaps giving him some sort of boost heading to Long Island.
 
Its a feeling that I have inside of me each week, Perry said. When I was winning golf tournaments, my stroke felt differently and my mindset was different, everything felt different. My last few weeks, I played pretty poorly, pretty average. Im trying to find that makeup to get me back on top.
 
Where better than a major to make that happen?
 
Winning one of those might truly be the only thing left on his to-do list. Hes made his money, hes funded more than 40 scholarships for children to attend college, hes perfectly at ease on and off the golf course.
 
If anything, he acts like this years Masters misfire did anything but deflate him.
 
Looking forward to the opportunity to try to get in there again, Perry said. Made me hungrier.
 
Related Links:
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


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    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

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    Man of the people


    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

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    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

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    Departure from TaylorMade


    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


    Squashed beef with Paddy

    Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

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    Victory at Valderrama


    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm