He went from three victories and No. 6 on the PGA Tour money list last year to no victories and needing a top 10 finish in final full-field event of the year just to get the last spot in the Tour Championship.
I didnt have a chance to win this year, and that was a disappointment, Perry said. I dont know if it was just coming off a high or what. It might have busted my bubble a little it. Its like you finally achieve something, and what else do you do? Ive achieved every goal I thought I could achieve except winning a major.
Where does he go from here?
Perry is 44 and exempt through the 2007 season. With his $16 million in career earnings, he probably can play on the PGA Tour until he is eligible for the Champions Tour.
Is he satisfied with what he has accomplished in his 18 years on tour? Is he burning to have another big year that landed him on his first Ryder Cup team?
It can go either way, Perry said. You can see me disappear, or I might go crazy again. I dont have any pressure on me, and that might be a bad thing. Ive always played pretty good with pressure on me. I hope I dont get lazy and sit back. But Im tired of playing. Ive fought it and fought it. Ive been a pro for 23 years now.
He used Jay Haas as a model.
Haas had a solid career until disappearing for a four-year stretch, even losing exempt status at one point. Rejuvenated in his late 40s, and with help from putting guru Stan Utley, Haas returned to the top 30. At age 50, he became the oldest man to make the Tour Championship and the second-oldest to play in the Ryder Cup.
Perry is certain of one thing. He will work harder than ever to make the Ryder Cup team in 2008, when it will be played at Valhalla in his native Kentucky.
I think that will revitalize my career, he said. Im a goal-oriented person, and thats going to be a big goal of mine. I think thats going to be good for me.
Nick Price slipped to No. 51 in the final world ranking of 2004, ending the most remarkable run since the Official World Golf Ranking began in 1986.
Price had been in the top 50 for a record 17 consecutive years dating to 1987.
Greg Norman did it for 15 consecutive years.
The longest active streak -- 14 years'now belongs to Davis Love III, who ended the year at No. 7.
Listening to Miguel Angel Jimenez, its not hard to figure out why he had his best year, with four victories in the 2004 season and one more in December in an early start to the 2005 schedule.
Its all about attitude for the Spaniard known as the Mechanic. And right now, the glass is half-full.
You never know whats going to happen, he said. You just play well, enjoy yourself and collect titles. The only thing Im doing is just be happy on the golf course.
His attitude isnt limited to inside the ropes. Jimenez takes the high road on other issues, too.
When Tom Lehman was picked as Ryder Cup captain for 2006, some Europeans wondered whether that might rekindle some of the bad blood from Brookline in 1999, when the Americans were accused of being bad sports for their exuberance. Some of those Euros (Paul Casey) werent even there.
Jimenez was, and he has no problem with Lehman.
We are intelligent people and I dont live in the past,
Jimenez said. If youre going to live like that, you cannot be happy at that point in your life and you cannot play golf and youre not going to win. You get the point?
Look, the guy, he played in a Ryder Cup. He is a great player. Hes a winner. I think he has respect from lots of players in America. And thats it. What happened before ... I cannot recall anything from that. Forget that thing. You cannot live there.
Ian Baker-Finch might play some PGA Tour events next year to see where his game is.
The 91 British Open champion last played on tour at the 2001 Colonial, missing the cut with rounds of 74-77. It was his first tournament since he walked away from the game after a 92 in the first round of the British Open at Royal Troon in 1997, the lowest point of a mystifying slump.
The congenial Aussie, now a golf analyst for ABC Sports, said he would not ask for any sponsors exemptions and would consider playing only in tournaments for which he is eligible. Past champions (Baker-Finch won Colonial and the British Open) fall behind the guys who finished from 126-150 on the previous years money list, so he likely could play some in September.
Baker-Finch still plays pro-ams and casual rounds, and has shot 63 on occasion at The Bears Club in south Florida.
I just want to see where I am, Baker-Finch said. Its better to do that now than to delude myself for six years before Im eligible for the Champions Tour.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Jack Nicklaus finally fell out of the top 100 on the PGA Tour career money list. He has earned $5,734,031 and dropped to No. 103, one spot behind Tom Byrum.
Losing in Ireland is not an option.'Colin Montgomerie on the 2006 Ryder Cup.
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