More Perry Yay or nay

By Brian HewittJuly 18, 2008, 4:00 pm
The Comebacker is back after a weeks vacation in which he was reminded that he should thank his lucky stars that playing golf isnt his day job.
The No. 1 topic from the E-mailers is still Kenny Perry. By a long shot.
Without further ado:
Meg writes: After playing a links-style course in 20-30 mph winds yesterday, I can wholly understand anyone that opts out of that kind of frustration for the relative calm and old-style familiarity of Brown Deer GC. Besides, Kopp's Custard is just down the road and Miller has reintroduced the old formula of Schlitz beer. Yup, I'd go to Milwaukee too.
The Comebacker
All good reasons to skip Birkdale for Milwaukee. But not why Perry didnt go to the Open Championship.


John writes: I dont always agree with you but this time you are right on the money. Someone should applaud Ken Perry and say that its nice to see someone put the Ryder Cup (team specific) ahead of other things. I know this was his goal. So why is everyone harping on him. I listened to your buddy Hawkins talk the other night and since when does Perry need Hawkins blessing. He said that he had a problem with Perry opting not to go to the British Open. There are a lot of people who have a problem with Hawkins.
The Comebacker
John Hawkins of Golf World is the Angry Golfer. If there arent people who have a problem with him, then hes not doing his job. It reminds of the great Dan Jenkins line when a tournament official told him he had a problem with Jenkins. No, Jenkins is said to have replied, youve got a problem. Ive got a typewriter.


Ron writes: Kenny still has quite a ways to go for POY in my humble opinion. He will not only have to equal or simply surpass Tiger in number of wins, he'll should/need to add quality. Winning events like the John Deere, looking at the strength of field, simply adds to the win total. Piling up wins on one-off weeks (Loch Lomond had a much stronger field), and say, for example, to win this coming week in Milwaukee, does not add up to much. I'm not overlooking the Memorial win (in terms of strength of field), but he still has some distance to go for POY honors.
The Comebacker
Just saying its a two man race right now for Player of the Year.


Mike writes: Kenny Perry may be a hero in your mind but by setting up a game plan in the beginning of the year to skip the U.S. Open and the British Open tells me he is content to be a good golfer earning a living rather than being recognized as a great golfer who has tested himself against the best in golfs toughest arenas. By skipping two major tournaments, Kenny is announcing his limitations and saying I am not good enough to compete. I made the Ryder Cup by winning one semi-A tournament and two B-level tournaments. Golf heroes test themselves against the best and they never pass up the opportunity to compete for golfs greatest honors. For you then, a golf hero should be redefined as someone who thrives on playing it safe.
The Comebacker
For me a golf hero is a terrific player who considers the life he leads away from the golf course to be more important than the score he shoots on it. Kenny Perry qualifies easily under those criteria.


Bradford writes: The John Deere Classic was just another example of what the Tour looks like without Tiger. The top 20 golfers after Saturday averaged OVER PAR on Sunday. Without Tiger in the field, the formula for winning is: get in contention, shoot par on Sunday and watch everyone else self-destruct. The purses are so large, they dont need to deliver under pressure on Sunday to take home a big check.
The Comebacker
Not everyone self-destructed.


Fred writes:The only thing I needed to hear from Kenny Perry about not flying across the Atlantic for the worlds oldest championship was that he had committed to play in Milwaukee prior to qualifying for the Open. If nothing else, the British understand the importance of keeping ones word. Something it seems the good people of our country seem on the verge of forgetting way too often. Some of us still feel that being a considered a gentleman means more than doffing your cap to an appreciative crowd.
The Comebacker


Willy writes:How could you even mention that Kenny Perry is up for Player of the Year? All his wins mostly are from weak field and somewhat 2nd tier tournaments. Your golf comments are so ridiculous! Perry also loves to have Milwaukee beers the rest of his life..not the Claret Jug with no beers. Uug.
The Comebacker
The Memorial was a strong field. And there is no such thing as an easy win on the PGA TOUR. Too many good players from top to bottom.


Dana writes:I loved the article Making a Race of It and how Kenny Perry has stood up to the criticism that has been sent his way. Kenny should be commended by the media for sticking to his commitments and being a man of integrity. He has clearly stated all season what his goal was and has adamantly stuck by his plan. Many other golfers would have jumped at the chance to play in the Open Championship and easily dismissed a prior commitment to the Milwaukee tournament. I have always been impressed with Kenny, but this simple act of making a commitment and sticking to it shows me and everyone else what type of person he is. With all the recent talk and columns regarding role models in golf, one need look no further than Kenny Perry. Kenny has definitely earned another measure of respect from this fan and I hope for one to see a 4-0-0 performance in Valhalla as a just reward for his actions.
The Comebacker
Why not 5-0-0?


Joseph writes:I agree with Mr. Perry's statement that he is a independent contractor and can play or not play when and where he chooses. I am also very thankful that such players as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino and a large number of American players have a broader perspective of their role in not only competing but promoting the game of golf on a world wide stage. Can you imagine Jack Nicklaus stating he will not compete in his countrys Open championship because the course does not suit his game or Tiger not playing in the Open Championship because he dislikes long distance travel. No, Mr. Perry has the right to choose but thank God his playing decisions were not shared by the great American players from the last five decades of golfing history who have inspired millions and have truly grown the game of golf.
The Comebacker
Fair points.


Cliff writes: While I understand your point of view regarding Kenny Perry, I would be a little concerned that his game is not being tested at a level that represents anything near the cauldron surrounding the Ryder Cup. If he can make some, in your words Dodgy chip shots coming down the stretch at a lesser event at the John Deere, how is he likely to be prepared for the jump to a Ryder Cup without preparing himself in major competition? Coming from Europe, he's doing a great thing as far as I am concerned; I just hope he opts out of the PGA as well!
The Comebacker
Clearly, The Comebacker is in Perrys corner. But Captain Azinger must have winced a little in private at the two aforementioned chip shots. Guarantee you Perry wasnt very happy with them either.


Andrew writes:How can any tournaments, in which Tiger would have played, not be remembered throughout HISTORY, as played without Tiger, due to injury, and therefore IS less meaningful... to whatever extent each golf fan deems it. Only when Tiger is once again unseated as No. 1 and as you said, Tiger can't stay No. 1 forever, will us fans and especially all of Tiger's peers, agree that a Tiger-tournament, played in his absence, for any reason, will have a 100% deserving winner... without the question we will all have until Tiger plays again... would he have won with Tiger in the field? The question about the asterisk may have been raised, even if Tiger hadn't won the U.S. Open. But, the fact that he did, the way he did, leaves the above question begging for me, as I suspect it does for many fans.
The ComebackerI dont see anybody calling Geoff Ogilvy an asterisk U.S. Open champion even though Tiger Woods didnt make the cut in 2006 at Winged Foot and even though Phil Mickelson made a hash of the 72nd hole.

George writes: Are you kidding? What could be worse for the confidence of the U.S. Ryder cup team than having this neurotic, self-loathing, whiner on the team? Hopefully Zinger recognizes that and manages to keep him off the team. Personally I wish the Golf Channel would stop interviewing the guy; he's a terribly negative influence on golfer's swing thoughts! Please reconsider your recommendation.
The Comebacker
George was talking about Woody Austin. I disagree. Woody is Woody and has been proven to be a positive influence in the team room.


Dennis writes: Tiger should take all the time needed for a complete recovery, be it 12 or 15 months, and I mean a complete recovery. And then when he comes back, even if he has to sacrifice 20 to 30 yards on his drives, he will be deadly accurate on all his shots, let alone his putting. By God it is scary just to think about it and he might not lose a tournament until he retires. Take your time, Tiger, we will all be the better off for it! God Bless you.
The Comebacker
Tiger never losing again? Hadnt thought of that one.


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Four players vying for DJ's No. 1 ranking at Open

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 8:41 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Four players have an opportunity to overtake Dustin Johnson for world No. 1 this week.

According to Golf Channel world-rankings guru Alan Robinson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm each can grab the top spot in the world ranking.

Thomas’ path is the easiest. He would return to No. 1 with either a win and Johnson finishing worse than solo third, or even a solo runner-up finish as long as Johnson finishes worse than 49th.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Twenty years after his auspicious performance in The Open, Rose can get to No. 1 for the first time with a victory and Johnson finishing worse than a two-way tie for third.

Kopeka can rise to No. 1 if he wins consecutive majors, assuming that his good friend posts worse than a three-way tie for third.

And Rahm can claim the top spot with a win this week, a Johnson missed cut and a Thomas finish of worse than solo second.   

Johnson’s 15-month reign as world No. 1 ended after The Players. He wasn’t behind Thomas for long, however: After a tie for eighth at the Memorial, Johnson blew away the field in Memphis and then finished third at the U.S. Open to solidify his position at the top.

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Punch shot: Predictions for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 4:00 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In advance of the 147th Open Championship, writers sound off on burning questions as players ready for a fast and firm test at Carnoustie. Here’s what our writers think about myriad topics:

The Monday morning headline will be …

REX HOGGARD: “Survival.” This one is easy. It always is at Carnoustie, which is widely considered The Open’s most demanding major championship test. Monday’s headline will be that the champion - pick a champion, any one will do - “survived” another dramatic Open. You don’t dominate Carnoustie; you endure.

RYAN LAVNER: “DJ Bashes Way to Victory at Carnoustie.” If somehow a two-win season could be disappointing, it has been for DJ. He’s first in scoring average, birdie average, par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring, strokes gained: tee to green and proximity from the rough. Those last two stats are the most important, especially here at Carnoustie, with these dry conditions. The game’s preeminent long-and-straight driver, there’s a better-than-decent chance he rolls.

MERCER BAGGS: “Rahm Tough: Spaniard charges to Open victory.” Jon Rahm will claim him maiden major title this week by powering his way through the winds and fescue at Carnoustie.

JAY COFFIN: “Thomas wins second major, ascends to world No. 1 again.” Shortly after The Open last year, Thomas rolled through the end of the PGA Tour season. This is the time of year he likes best. Despite a poor Open record the last two years, he’s not remotely concerned. He’s a tad miffed he didn’t win in France two weeks ago and comes to Carnoustie refreshed, with a gameplan, and ready to pounce.

Who or what will be the biggest surprise?

HOGGARD: Style of play. Given Carnoustie’s reputation as a brute, the surprise will be how the champion arrives at his lofty perch. Unlike previous editions at Carnoustie, this week’s dry conditions will promote more aggressive play off the tee and the winner will defy the norm and power his way to victory.

LAVNER: Tiger Woods. This is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year, and here’s believing he contends. His greatest strengths are his iron game and scrambling, and both aspects will be tested to the extreme at Carnoustie, helping separate him from some of the pretenders. With even a little cooperation from his putter, he should be in the mix.

BAGGS: Padraig Harrington. He had a good opening round last week at the Scottish Open and has some good vibes being the 2007 Open champion at Carnoustie. He won’t contend for four rounds, but a few days in the mix would be a nice surprise.

COFFIN: Alex Noren. Perhaps someone ranked 11th in the world shouldn’t be a surprise, but with so much focus on some of the bigger, household names, don’t be surprised when Noren is in contention on Sunday. He hasn’t finished worse than 25th since early May and won two weeks ago in France. He also tied for sixth place last year at Royal Birkdale.

Who or what will be the biggest disappointment?

HOGGARD: Jordan Spieth. Although he was brilliant on his way to victory last year at Royal Birkdale, Spieth is not the same player for this week’s championship, the byproduct of a balky putter that has eroded his confidence. Spieth said giving back the claret jug this week was hard, but his finish will be even tougher.

LAVNER: Weather. This might sound a little sadistic, but one of the unique joys of covering this tournament is to watch the best in the world battle conditions they face only once a year – the bone-chilling cold, the sideways rain, the howling wind. It doesn’t appear as though that’ll happen this year. With only a few hours of light rain expected, and no crazy winds in the forecast, the biggest challenge for these stars will be judging the bounces on the hard, baked-out turf.

BAGGS: Jordan Spieth. The defending champion is still trying to find his winning form and Carnoustie doesn’t seem the place to do that. As much as he says he loves playing in strong winds, there should be enough danger around here to frustrate Spieth into a missed cut.

COFFIN: Rory McIlroy. I hope I’m wrong on this, because the game is better when Rory is in contention at majors. Putting always has been his issue and seemingly always will be. While there isn’t as much of a premium placed on putting this week because of slower greens, he may still have to hit it close. Super close.

What will be the winning score?

HOGGARD: 10 under. The last two Opens played at Carnoustie were won with 7-under and 6-over totals, but this week’s conditions will favor more aggressive play and lower scores. Expect to see plenty of birdies, but the great equalizer will come on Sunday when wind gusts are forecast to reach 25 mph.

LAVNER: 15 under. An Open at Carnoustie has never produced a winner lower than 9 under (Tom Watson in 1975), but never have the conditions been this susceptible to low scores. Sure, the fairway bunkers are still a one-shot penalty, but today’s big hitters can fly them. The thin, wispy rough isn’t much of a deterrent. And the wind isn’t expected to really whip until the final day.

BAGGS: 12 under. We aren’t going to see the same kind of weather we have previously witnessed at Carnoustie, and that’s a shame. Any players who catch relatively benign conditions should be able to go low, as long as they can properly navigate the fairway rollout.

COFFIN: 14 under. Walked into a local golf shop in the town of Carnoustie wearing a Golf Channel logo and the man behind the counter said, “It’ll take 14 under to win this week.” Well, he’s been here for years and seen Carnoustie host The Open twice before. He knows more about it than I do, so I’ll stick with his number.

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Watch: Na plays backwards flop and practices lefty

By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 3:16 pm

Fresh off his victory at The Greenbrier, Kevin Na is taking a quite-literally-backwards approach to his Open prep.

Caddie Kenny Harms has been sharing videos of Na's early work at Carnoustie.

This one shows Na standing in a bunker and playing a flop shot over his own head (as opposed to someone else's):

While it's unlikely he'll have a need for that exact shot this week, it's far more likely a player may have to think about turning his club over and playing from the wrong side of the ball, like so:

Na has made 4 of 6 cuts at The Open and will look to improve on his best career finish, currently a T-22 in 2016 at Royal Troon.

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McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.

Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.

“It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

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McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.

“Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”

He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.