PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS INSIDER
Perry determined while battling shoulder injury
U.S. Senior Open winner delays rotator cuff surgery until after Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs
October 04, 2017
By Bob McClellan, PGATOUR.COM
- Kenny Perry stands fourth in the Schwab Cup standings entering the SAS Championship. (Kent Horner/Getty Images)
When players reach a certain age, save for Bernhard Langer, they can’t be sure if they’ll win again on PGA TOUR Champions.
Kenny Perry won at least once in each of his first five seasons after turning 50 before going winless in 2016. It was a very down year for the Kentucky native – a career-low finish of 40th in the Schwab Cup standings and a career-low three top 10s.
Perry had gone almost two years without adding to his trophy case – since the 2015 3M Championship -- when he arrived at the 2017 U.S. Senior Open. But he also was trending upward, what with a pair of runner-up finishes among his three top 10s.
So maybe it shouldn’t have been a surprise when he blitzed the field at Salem Country Club in Peabody, Massachusetts. Only runner-up Kirk Triplett finished within seven shots of Perry’s record 16-under total. He hit bomb after bomb off the tee, hit green after green in regulation, and got hot with the putter a few times over the four days.
It was his ninth PGA TOUR Champions victory, his second at the U.S. Senior Open and his fourth senior major.
The moment wasn’t lost on Perry.
“I thought that [the 2015 3M Championship] might have been my last,” Perry said after his bogey-free final round at Salem Country Club. “I didn’t think I’d ever be holding the trophy again. That’s how golf is. When you win, you don’t think you’re ever going to lose. And when you’re losing all the time, you think you’re never going to win. That’s just how brutal our sport is. Thank goodness it showed back up again.”
Perry has added three more top 10s since, including a solo fifth at the last event on PGA TOUR Champions, the PURE Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach. He fired a 63 to get into contention there after two rounds before dropping off with a final-round 74.
But it was there that Perry revealed he has been playing with a rotator cuff injury.
“I’ve got to have surgery. I'm going to have surgery right after the Schwab Cup,” Perry said. “I've been battling it for a year now and I thought I was getting old. You know, my shoulder just kept hurting and it was so stiff all the time. So I went and had an MRI the last two weeks. I didn't go to Japan and Vancouver. Went and had an MRI, told me we need to get it done. I have bone spurs in there which are chopping in on my rotator, and the doctor says we need to clean up all the arthritis and the bone spurs.”
The Charles Schwab Cup Championship, the final event of the Playoffs, concludes on Nov. 12. Assuming Perry goes under the knife within two weeks of that, he could be out until May 2018.
“It's only going to be a five-month recovery,” Perry said. “He said if I have a complete tear of the rotator, he said it's about a year out, so he said this is more of a preventive maintenance than an all-out blown surgery. I'll sneak in there and get it worked on, be out about five months he said, and hopefully I'll come out next year with no pain and be able to free swing it.”
If 2017 has been Perry not free swinging it then maybe he can win again in 2018, or even in the three-event Playoffs. He ranks fifth in driving distance at 295.1 yards and is fourth in greens in regulation. Those numbers have led him to his current spot of fourth in the Schwab Cup standings with $1,448,270.
And if he doesn’t win again this year and has to wait until mid-2018, he should be able to return to PGA TOUR Champions in just enough time to round into shape to defend his U.S. Senior Open title. It will be held at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado, beginning June 28.
Back-to-back wins for Kenny Perry at the 3M Championship