PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Not much has gone right for Kenny Perry so far this season. When you’ve won 14 times in your PGA TOUR career but your best finish in four appearances this year is a tie for 43rd at The Honda Classic, you’re looking for anything to help change your luck.
Perry serves as a spokesman for Transitions and this week’s stop at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club was always going to be on his playing schedule. However, as fate would have it, the Kentucky native received an added bonus last Sunday night when he found out Kentucky would be playing its opening game in this year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament in Tampa as well.
Another bit of good fortune went Perry’s way on Tuesday when he received an 8:58 a.m. tee time for Round 1 on Thursday. He’ll be able to finish early enough to easily make the short drive to the St. Petersburg Times Forum in downtown Tampa when the Wildcats tip-off against Princeton that same afternoon.
“I’ve never been to an NCAA Basketball Tournament game,” Perry said. “The fact that Kentucky’s here in this region the same week that I’m playing in the PGA TOUR event in Tampa makes it special.”
And hopefully the Wildcats will provide the impetus to turn around Perry’s game in 2011. – Phil Stambaugh
Kenny Perry has never had a lot of success at Firestone Country Club. On Thursday, though, he matched his low round of 66, shot three times previously, and was tied with Phil Mickelson for second, two strokes behind Bubba Watson
Perry expects the scores to be lower overall on Thursday due to heavy overnight rains that softened fairways on the South Course and made the greens more receptive.
"Normally the greens are very fast, very firm, and we've got narrow fairways out there, so the ball was plugging in the fairways," Perry said. "I had mud on my golf ball quite a few shots."
As an example, Perry mentioned the drive he pulled on the fourth hole. The fairway slopes hard to the left but the ball stayed in the short grass.
"In the past that would have always gone in the left rough," Perry said. ".. The ball stayed in the left side of the fairway. We got lucky there. I guess if you got it somewhere in the fairway, it's going to stay in the fairway."
Bubba Watson just rolled in a 38-footer from the fringe at the 18th hole to polish off a 64 that gave him a two-stroke lead over Kenny Perry.
Perry, playing two groups ahead on the opposite nine, had a bogey-free 66 while Chad Campbell finished with a 67 that also featured no shots dropped to par.
Kenny Perry, who is five days shy of his 50th birthday, has been strangely quiet this year.
Perry’s best finish on the PGA TOUR in 2010 is the sixth place he posted at the season-opening SBS Championship. But if he continues playing like he is on Thursday, the big man from Kentucky could be in line for an early birthday present.
Perry started on the back nine and chipped in at the 11th hole for his first birdie. He made a 17-foot putt at the 18th hole for his second and has just added two more from 15 and 4 feet on the sixth and eighth holes.
Perry, who is one stroke behind Bubba Watson, will turn 50 on Tuesday as he prepares for his 20th PGA Championship. The veteran has 14 PGA TOUR victories. -- Helen Ross
Prior to the start of The Greenbrier Classic, Bob Stevens from the PGA TOUR Network spoke with Kenny Perry about his pledge to help families affected by the Upper Big Branch mine disaster and how he plans to give back.
Kenny Perry and Sergio Garcia certainly have a lot to play for at The Greenbrier Classic this week. Both are bidding to win for the first time in 2010, earn coveted FedExCup points and impress their respective Ryder Cup captains.
Beyond the personal goals, though, the two men have another, dual agenda. Each has pledged money for the birdies – and in Garcia’s case, the eagles -- they make this week to help the 29 families affected by the April mining disaster in West Virginia.
Perry, who is from Kentucky, got things rolling when he pledged $2,000 for every birdie he makes. Garcia joined the cause by promising $1,000 for every birdie and $5,000 for eagles. Jim Justice, who owns The Greenbrier, and Anthony Carrara, who owns Amthor Steel and Cararra Steel, have also pledged to match the donations of Perry and Garcia
Garcia fired a 67 on Friday to move to 5 under for the tournament. He’s made 10 birdies, so he’s currently at the 10,000 mark for the families with two rounds remaining.
Perry, on the other hand, is battling to make the cut. He opened with a 75 that included just one birdie but the veteran is 2 under through five holes in the second round with two birdies. -– Helen Ross
Take note, Monty. Sergio Garcia made a move up the leaderboard on Friday – shooting a 67 that left him at 5 under for the tournament and five strokes off Boo Weekley’s lead. It’s the first time he’s had consecutive rounds in the 60s since The Honda Classic earlier this year.
Right now, though, the Spaniard isn’t qualified for the European Ryder Cup team and it’s hard to image a squad without the fiery Garcia, who has been a mainstay of the last five. So Captain Colin Montgomerie will have a difficult choice.
Garcia’s only top-10 of the season came when he finished fourth at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship in February. But the match play maestro is showing signs of a resurgence after tying for 22nd at the U.S. Open and 14th at the British Open in his last two starts. – Helen Ross
Ever since Kenny Perry broke his Ping Craz-E putter in the beginning of the season, he’s been searching for new one. Saturday, he put a Bobby Grace model into play and it’s obviously getting the job done -- Perry had six birdies, no bogeys and shot 65, taking 28 putts (1.625 per green in regulation) along the way.
That not only moved Perry 48 spots up the leaderboard, it’s given him some much-needed confidence.
“I've made 14 out of 15 cuts, but I cannot seem to get competitive,” Perry said. “I'm always finishing 20th to 60th each week. So this is a step in the right direction, especially getting ready to head to the British.”
Perry has just one top-10 this season and that came back at the season-opening SBS Championship. At last week’s Travelers Championship, where he was the defending champion, he barely made the cut then finished near the bottom of the leaderboard after rounds of 73 on the weekend.
“I just have to find something I'm comfortable with,” Perry said about his ongoing putter search. “I've had everybody sending me putters. It's incredible how many people have sent me putters. I've got a houseful right now.”
For now, he seems to have found at least one that works. -- Brian Wacker
Steve Stricker will have some company -- sort of -- when he tees off in the final group about 30 minutes from now, thanks to a 64 by Rocco Mediate and 65s by Kenny Perry and Gary Woodland, both of whom moved up 48 spots on the leaderboard this morning
Stricker still leads, however, and he’s now played his last six rounds played at TPC Deere Run in 36 under. In his last 108 holes played here, he’s made two eagles, 38 birdies and just six bogeys (that’s birdie or better on 38 percent of his holes).
In his 2009 victory, Stricker’s scrambling is what
separated him from the rest of the field. This year, it’s his
ball-striking and putting – Stricker ranks eighth in greens hit and fourth for proximity to the hole at 23 feet. Stricker also leads the field in putts per green in regulation, putts per round and putting from 4-8 feet (he’s 10-for-10) and he’s converted nine putts from outside 10 feet. -- Brian Wacker
It wasn't a good return to TPC River Highlands for Kenny Perry. The man who shot 63 to win by a stroke in 2009 was 10 shots higher that that this year, with his 73-73 finish putting him near the bottom of players who made the cut.
It's been a weird year for Perry. He started the year by accidentally breaking his favorite putter, then finishing tied for sixth at the winners-only SBS Championship. Since then, he hasn't had a single top-10, but at the same time, he's only missed one cut.
He's still probably the best driver of the golf ball on TOUR. Even has he nears his 50th birthday, he still averages 290 yards off the tee with Fred Funk-ish accuracy (70 percent). He's still near the top of the TOUR in Total Driving.
But nothing really went right this week. His tee shots sprayed more than usual -- he only hit half the fairways -- and he was near the bottom in putting, burning through 126 putts. For the year, he's 151st in putting average, well off his career year of 2008, when he ranked 63rd.
The cut line right now sits at 1 under, which is not good news for defending champion Kenny Perry -- he’s currently 1 over for the week after a 2-over start through his first three holes here in the second round. Beginning on the back nine, Perry bogeyed each of his first two holes, where he missed par putts from just over 5 feet on each of them.
Other notables on the wrong side of the number include Charley Hoffman (even par, yet to tee off in second round), John Daly (1 over, through five holes) Brian Gay (2 over, through 36 holes), Charles Howell III (2 over, through 36 holes) and Hunter Mahan (3 over, through 36 holes). -- Brian Wacker