Local knowledge welcomed


FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – Kenny Perry didn't need a local caddie to help guide him through the intricacies of Bethpage Black when he arrived here on Saturday morning. He had the galleries to lean on. Perry, who made the cut here at the 2002 U.S. Open but failed to break par once in four rounds, played 18 holes on Saturday afternoon and Sunday in preparation for this week's U.S. Open. Helping him with his homework were the galleries, in particular three gentlemen who followed him both days.

 'Everybody I saw on the course yesterday said, 'This is my home course, I play here all of the time. I'll tell you how the greens go. Let me help you read the greens,' said Perry. 'It was kind of funny.'

 Perry admitted he could use help playing some of the par-4s, three of which measure over 500 yards. The 7th hole, at 525 yards, is the longest par-4 in U.S. Open history and eight yards longer than the par-5 4th hole.

 'Yesterday, I couldn't get to No. 7 [in two],' said Perry. 'I hit a good drive down the middle of the fairway and had 255 to the green, but I was still in behind the trees. I couldn't hit it far enough to get around the trees, so I had to hit a slice around the trees and it came up short. If I hit it any further left [off the tee], I'm going to have 300 into the hole for my next shot.'