Sports Outside the Beltway

Kenny Perry wins the John Deere, skips the British Open

The 47-year-old PGA Tour veteran won for the third time this year. Beating two players in a playoff. Perry now stands #2 on the 2008 money list, only behind Tiger Woods.

Much has been made about Perry deciding to first skip US Open, and now the British Open. I’m of the opinion that the golf media really needs a life. Seldom has so much been written about so little. Since when has a ordinary player’s tournament scheduling been newsworthy? Tiger Woods is one thing, but I’ve been around long enough to have watched Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, and others and don’t recall their decisions to play or not play a tournament dissected.

In Perry’s defense, I’ll point out the following

*- Lee Trevino chose to skip the Masters three times in spite of him being eligible to play. It may be 4, but in 1977 Trevino had back problems. That may account for him missing the tournament.

*- 1967 PGA Champion Don January refused to play the 1970 US Open at Hazeltine because of his dislike for the course.

*- Twelve time tournament winner and 1984 Vardon Trophy winner Calvin Peete never played the British Open.

*- Here’s the best comparasion to Perry. In 1969 Dave Hill, who won 13 times on tour, skipped that year’s British Open. Hill won 3 times in 1969, finished 2nd on the money list that year, was competing for a Ryder Cup spot(like Perry, and Hill made it as Kenny is likely to do), and took home the Vardon Trophy that year.

In fact Hill only played once at the British Open. If I look some more, I’m sure to find players of like ability to Perry who skipped the British Open.

This non-story has gotten to the point where non-golf writers are taking shots at Perry. Take for instance Gene Wojciechowski at ESPN who writes-

“I was going to have to miss Milwaukee [the U.S. Bank Championship], which is a tournament I’ve won,” Perry told a small gathering of reporters earlier in the week at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill. “I’ve had eight top-10 finishes there.”

Is that right? Eight top-10 finishes in Milwaukee. Wow. Well, then I can certainly understand why you’d stiff the world’s oldest major, and a Birkdale course where Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson and Johnny Miller won championships. And I’m just spitballing here, but maybe you’ve had those eight top-10s because, you know, the world’s best players ARE AT THE BRITISH OPEN!

Let me fire a cannonball back at the careless and unoriginal Mr. Wojciechowski. How many times have the Milwaukee and British Opens been played the same week since Kenny Perry turned pro, not counting this year?

Once, in 2007. A simple check of would have shown this. So 7 of Perry’s 8 top 10s at Milwaukee didn’t come alongside the British Open.

If you’re going to play the same broken record Gene Wojciechowski, get your facts straight. Otherwise you look like a fool. Better yet, don’t write about golf at all.

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