Ryder Cup over Perry sets an even loftier goal

By Associated PressJanuary 8, 2009, 5:00 pm
PGA TourKAPALUA, Hawaii ' For those who thought Kenny Perry set the bar too high last year when he said he wanted to make the Ryder Cup team at age 48, get a load of what he has in mind for an encore.
 
Yall may think Im crazy, he said in his Kentucky drawl, but I want to get to 20 wins.
 
That would seem like a reasonable goal, except that Perrys three PGA Tour victories last year brought his career total to 12. And he turns 50 toward the end of the 2010 season, making him eligible for the Champions Tour. And he has had only three seasons of multiple victories during his 22 years on tour.
 
Somehow Ive got to win eight more times, he said. Is that a realistic goal? I think it is. I still think I can play well into my mid-50s and be successful out here.
 
At least he managed to find some motivation.
 
Perry was belting out bluegrass tunes for a swan song in 2008 because the Ryder Cup was being held in his old Kentucky home. Despite not having won in two years, and coming off surgery on his right knee that still throbs, he picked up victories in the Memorial, Buick Open and John Deere Classic to qualify for the Ryder Cup team for only the second time in his career.
 
This is my last hurrah, he said in the weeks before the Ryder Cup. This is the pinnacle of my career. Ive got way too much at stake for me going out there and playing poorly. That will brand me for the rest of my life.
 
Then he played the best golf of his life, beating Henrik Stenson on the final day for a 2-1-1 record. No moment was as poignant as his 82-year-old father in overalls walking onto the 16th green to embrace Perry.
 
He has won nine times in his 40s. Now hes going to win eight more times to achieve lifetime membership on the PGA Tour?
 
Perry figures he still hits the ball long enough, and his short game is vastly improved. He plans to play as many as 30 times this year, an enormous schedule even for kids half his age. The toughest challenge might be his focus.
 
We all have a lot going on, he said. We have been struggling.
 
Thats when Perry revealed just how large the scope of his most memorable season turned out to be.
 
Three months after his father ambled onto the 16th green at Valhalla, he had two stents put in his heart and has lost 20 pounds as doctors run a battery of tests to figure out whats wrong with him.
 
Perrys mother has blood cancer and is in an assisted-living facility. His wifes mother fell at a fast-food restaurant, breaking her knee cap and two vertebrae. Her mobility is so limited that the Perrys had to remodel her home ' wheelchair ramps, adjustments in the bathroom and the showers ' before she could be released from the hospital.
 
Sandy has been redoing her house while Ive been dealing with my dad, and my sisters have been taking care of my mom, Perry said. We all have a lot going on.
 
If thats not enough, his daughter got married in the fall.
 
If I can get my head back in the game and focus on my golf, Ill be OK, he said. Theres a lot of issues right now.
 
Whether he has surpassed his goals or not achieved enough is subject to debate.
 
Missing from his credentials is a major championship, and Perry has only had two chances. He was two shots out of the lead going into the final round of the 2003 British Open at Royal St. Georges, only to close with a 73 to finish four behind Ben Curtis. The more memorable opportunity came at Valhalla in 1996.
 
Perry was on the verge of winning the PGA Championship until making a bogey on the 18th hole, then losing in a sudden-death playoff to Mark Brooks when Perry took four shots to reach the green.
 
Only one I regret, Perry says.
 
Then again, this was a guy who had to borrow $5,000 from an elder at his church to pay for one last attempt at Q-school when Perry was 26 and had two children in diapers. He got his card and has never finished out of the top 100 on the money list, with a career-high $4.6 million last year pushing his totals to over $26 million.
 
Whats the secret?
 
Genetics, Perry said. I dont work out. I dont really watch what I eat. I just play a lot of golf. I just play every day and usually stay with it and practice and hit a lot of balls. Until something breaks down on me, and I cant do that anymore, I still think I can be very competitive out here.
 
And yes, he plans to be on the PGA Tour longer than some might realize.
 
His three victories last year makes him exempt through 2012, when he is 52. He is No. 9 on the career money list, meaning he could be exempt for two more years after his eligibility ends.
 
Im a very streaky player ' always have been, Perry said. And if I catch fire somewhere in a streak of tournaments Ive had success at, look out. I could put two more three more on the board.
 
That would put him closer to 20 career wins, a goal that might seem absurd to everyone but Perry.
 

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    Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

    Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

    Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

    Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

    Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

    12/1: Dustin Johnson

    16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

    20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

    25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

    40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

    50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

    60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

    80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

    100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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    Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

    If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

    Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

    Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


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    There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

    There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

    Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

    John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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    Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

    By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

    Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

    Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


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    “I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

    Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

    “I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

    But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

    “I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”

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    Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

    Hoylake in 2006.

    That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

    So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?


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    “I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

    With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

    “The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”