Notes Outpouring of love for Perry mind-boggling

By Doug FergusonApril 21, 2009, 4:00 pm
Bookmark and Share

 
2007 Zurich ClassicNEW ORLEANS ' Kenny Perry never took pity on himself for losing a two-shot lead with two holes to play in the Masters. Everyone else did that for him.
 
Among the first to call when Perry returned home to Kentucky were Greg Norman and Phil Mickelson, who know from experience what its like to lose a major. He also got a call from Scott Hoch, one of his best friends on tour, who 20 years ago missed a 3-foot putt that would have won the Masters.
 
Among the letters was one from former President George W. Bush.
 
It was just incredible the outpouring of support, Perry said. I had so many people just proud of the way I handled the loss.
 
Perry, who returns to the PGA Tour this week at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans, would have been the oldest major champion at 48. It could be that his popularity soars even more by the gracious way he handled his playoff defeat to Angel Cabrera.
 
He answered every question with brutal honestly. He didnt make excuses. And he didnt beat himself up.
 
The amount of fan mail he received was reminiscent of when Greg Norman blew a six-shot lead in the final round of the 1996 Masters. The Shark was revered for handling the loss, and was inundated with fan mail the following week.
 
I received almost 600 e-mails. I received hundreds of cards and letters. People who genuinely cared, Perry said in a conference call Tuesday from New Orleans. And the letters all started out, Ive never written a letter like this, but I just felt compelled to write to you.
 
Its been tough, and its been hard, he said. But the outpouring of fan support was mind-boggling to me. It really was very uplifting.
 
Perry said he went over the final two holes during a reflective drive home to Kentucky, especially the chip that he bladed on the 17th hole, and even the three-putt par on the 13th hole.
 
He figures the turning point came during the walk from the 16th green to the 17th green, after a tap-in birdie to build a two-shot lead. Perry told himself he was two pars away from winning the Masters, instead of concentrating on only his next shot, which he had been doing the previous 70 holes.
 
I stuck my neck out, thought I was going to win, he said. But I just came up a little bit short. As an athlete, or a player, thats all you can ask of yourself.
 
The emotions came from his family, particularly his oldest daughter. And he had a quiet chat with his 85-year-old father. But he didnt shed any tears of his own, except when he was reading the letters.
 
That was more emotional to me than me just sitting and reflecting on what went on, what was happening, Perry said. It was the outpouring of love and support from everybody that was really more emotional to me than anything.
 

 
LEES ROAD: Some U.S. Amateur champions wait a full year before turning pro so they can take exemptions to the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open. Others turn pro immediately and try to earn enough money from seven exemptions to avoid Q-school.
 
Danny Lee is taking a different route, which might turn out to be the best route of all.
 
Lee remained an amateur so he could play in the Masters, then announced he was turning pro. He will make his debut this week at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans, one of seven sponsor exemptions the 18-year-old is allowed.
 
By turning pro now, Lee has plenty more opportunities.
 
He also will play the Memorial and AT&T National, which award exemptions to the U.S. Amateur champion even if he turns pro. Those will not count against the maximum seven sponsor exemptions. And while Lee gave up his spot in the U.S. Open, he is exempt into the final stage of qualifying the day after the Memorial.
 
If he gets into the U.S. Open, he will have 10 tournaments to earn $537,958 ' the equivalent to 150th on the money list last year ' to get special temporary membership and get all the exemptions he wants.
 
To earn his card, Lee will have to make the equivalent of 125th on the money list for 2009.
 
Unlike others who have tried before him, Lee has one other advantage. By winning the Johnnie Walker Classic on the European Tour in February, he is eligible for the $8.5 million Bridgestone Invitational, a World Golf Championship event that has no cut.
 
His other sponsor exemptions are for Quail Hollow, the Byron Nelson Championship and the Colonial, meaning he would have three left.
 
Meanwhile, Lee signed an endorsement contract Tuesday with Callaway Golf.
 

 
BIG GAME ANGEL: Angel Cabrera has not been the steadiest performer on the PGA Tour, but he sure shows up in the big events.
 
Over the past four years, the Argentine has only six top 10s on American soil, and his only two victories were the Masters and the U.S. Open two years ago at Oakmont.
 
He lost in the quarterfinals of the Accenture Match Play Championship in 2008. And in 2006, his only top 10s were fourth place in the Bridgestone Invitational, seventh place at the British Open and a tie for eighth at the Masters.
 

 
TEMPORARY MEMBERS: At least one European player has taken up special temporary membership on the PGA Tour.
 
Ross Fisher of England, who lost in the semifinals of the Accenture Match Play Championship, has earned $588,575 in tournaments sanctioned by the PGA Tour and now can take unlimited exemptions to try to finish the equivalent of the top 125 on the money list.
 
The more famous European, Rory McIlroy, has earned $588,691 but declined his offer of temporary membership. The 19-year-old from Northern Ireland plans to stick to a European Tour schedule this year.
 
McIlroy failed in his bid to become the youngest PGA Tour winner in history, but he had a strong showing during a pair of three-week stints in America. He made the cut in all six starts, and his tie for 58th at Hilton Head was the only time he failed to finish in the top 20.
 

 
DIVOTS: Phil Mickelson has finished ahead of Tiger Woods in all three tournaments they have played this year. Former British Open champion Tom Lehman makes his Champions Tour debut this week by teaming with Bernhard Langer in the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf in Savannah, Ga. It took Woods nearly three years to return to the top of the PGA Tours standings for consecutive cuts made. Robert Allenby had been leading until missing the cut at Hilton Head. Woods streak is at 33 tournaments, which is all he has played since the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot.
 

 
STAT OF THE WEEK: Three of the past four winners at the Verizon Heritage did not play the previous week at the Masters.
 

 
FINAL WORD: I turn 50 next year, so Im doing stuff probably most people shouldnt be doing. Im very thankful for it. ' Kenny Perry.
 

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Zurich Classic of New Orleans
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
  • Spieth stalls on Moving Day at Australian Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 25, 2017, 4:30 am

    Moving Day? Not so much for Jordan Spieth in Round 3 of the Emirates Australian Open.

    Spieth, the defending champion and also a winner in 2014, continued to struggle with his putter, shooting 1-under 70 on Saturday at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney.

    “I was leaving them short yesterday and today it was kind of misreading, over-reading. I missed a lot of putts on the high side – playing wind or more break,” he said. “I just really haven’t found a nice marriage between line and speed to get the ball rolling.”


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    The world No. 2 started the day eight off the pace and was unable to make a charge. He had three birdies and two bogeys, including a 4 at the par-5 finishing hole.

    Spieth praised his ball-striking in the wind-swept conditions, but lamented his putting, which has hampered him throughout the week.

    “Ball-striking’s been fantastic. Just gotta get the putts to go,” he said.

    Spieth, who is scheduled to compete in next week’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, is still holding out hope for a third title in four years at this event. He fired a brilliant 63 in very windy conditions to prevail in ’14.

    “Tomorrow is forecasted as even windier than today so you can still make up a lot of ground,” he said. “A few years ago I shot a final round that was a nice comeback and anything like that tomorrow can still even be enough to possibly get the job done.”

    South Korean LPGA stars lead KLPGA team

    By Randall MellNovember 24, 2017, 10:32 pm

    South Korea’s LPGA team of all-stars took the early lead Friday on the Korean LPGA Tour in a team event featuring twice as much star power as this year’s Solheim Cup did.

    Eight of the world’s top 20 players are teeing it up in the ING Life Champions Trophy/ Inbee Park Invitational in Gyeongju. There were only four players among the top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings when the United States defeated Europe in Des Moines, Iowa.

    Park led the LPGA team to a 3 ½-to-2 ½ lead on the first day.

    Park, who has been recuperating from a back injury for most of the second half of this season, teamed with Jeongeun Lee5 to defeat Hye Jin Choi and Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4, in the lead-off four-ball match.

    So Yeon Ryu and Park, former world No. 1s and LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award winners, will be the marquee pairing on Saturday. They will lead off foursomes against Ji Young Kim and Min Sun Kim.

    Nine of the 11 South Koreans who won LPGA events this year are competing. Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim are the only two who aren’t.

    The fourball results:

    LPGA’s Inbee Park/ Jeongeun Lee5 def. Hye Jin Choi/Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4.

    LPGA’s Mirim Lee/Amy Yang def.  Ji Hyun Oh/Min Sun Kim, 3 and 1.

    LPGA’s M.J. Hur/Mi Hyang Lee halved Ji Hyun Kim/Ji Young Kim.

    KLPGA’s Ha Na Jang/Sun Woo Bae def. Sei Young Kim/Hyo Joo Kim, 5 and 4.

    LPGA’s Na Yeon Choi/Jenny Shin halved Jin Young Ko/Da Yeon Lee

    LPGA’s In Gee Chun/Eun Hee Ji halved Jeongeun Lee6/Char Young Kim.

    NOTE: The KPGA uses numerals after a player’s name to distinguish players with the exact same name.

     

    Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer

    By Rex HoggardNovember 24, 2017, 5:40 pm

    In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.

    Made Cut

    The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.

    Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.

    “I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”

    Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.

    Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.

    This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.

    Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.

    Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.

    The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.

    Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III‏) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”

    Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”

    The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.

    First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.

    “You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”

    A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.

    “The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.

    For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.

    Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.

    “I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”

    Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?

    “Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”

    Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.

    Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.


    Missed Cut

    Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.

    Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.

    “That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”

    Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.

    While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.

    Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

    Updated at 9:50 p.m. ET

    Images and footage from Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson's round Friday at Trump National in Jupiter, Fla., alongside President Donald Trump:



    Original story:

    Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

    President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.



    Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.