Perry explains 2008 no-show
Kenny Perry has defended his decision to skip last year’s Open in favour of a regular US Tour event.
World number four Kenny Perry has defended his decision to skip last year’s Open Championship in favour of a regular US Tour event.
The American turned down the opportunity to compete at Royal Birkdale in favour of chasing Ryder Cup points at the US Bank Championship the same week.
He was criticised for disrespecting the historic tournament but Perry feels his decision was vindicated after qualifying for Paul Azinger’s team which beat Europe in his native Kentucky.
“I think people just didn’t understand,” said Perry, who turns 49 next month.
“The Ryder Cup was at Valhalla, it was my home state of Kentucky where I lost the USPGA Championship in 1996 to Mark Brooks.
“To me personally, the people in Kentucky that’s what they remembered me for.
“My goal was to get back there and be effective so my home state thought of me differently as a player and my plan worked perfectly.
“The people here need to understand. If the Ryder Cup had been somewhere else I would probably have come over.
“I figured, at 48, that was my last chance to play in a Ryder Cup – and it being in front of my home folks it was just a big opportunity to me.”
Perry, who also played in the Ryder Cup defeat of 2004, has a contrasting record at the Open.
He missed the cut on his 1991 debut at Birkdale, finished eighth, 16th and 11th between 2003 and 2005, before failing to make the weekend at Royal Liverpool three years ago.
But he is a much more consistent player now and after three victories in 2008 he has won twice more this year, the latest coming at the Travelers’ Championship a fortnight ago.
Perry could have broken his major championship duck had he not bogeyed the final two holes at the Masters in April to finish second but he is determined not to get hung up over that.
“I’ve had a great year and a half and things are going awesome for me,” he said.
“It’s given me confidence to come into a major thinking more about winning than just surviving.
“I’ve always loved this Open. It’s like playing on the moon because it is so different to me.”
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