47-year-old Kenny Perry won the Buick Open this past Sunday, beating a star-less field by one stroke. It could have been closer, actually, but fan favorite Woody Austin totally melted down on the 18th green.
This actually isn’t really a story at all. It’s only slightly meaningful because it’s the last tournament before drug testing formally starts on the PGA Tour. Perry has won this tournament before and he didn’t really beat anyone to do it. The only thing it really did was virtually assure his spot on the 2008 US Ryder Cup team. And that, friends, totally sucks.
America dominated the Ryder Cup until 1985. Absolutely crushed the British/European teams. Since then, Europe has won eight of the last eleven Ryder Cups, including thoroughly kicking America’s ass last time at The K Club in Ireland. Keep in mind, Team USA had Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Jim Furyk on one team. Three of the best golfers in the world, and they got deeee-stroyed. After 2006, there was obviously a huge debate about the makeup of the team. 2006’s squad had four Ryder Cup rookies and we got especially ruined in the individual matches because of it.
So where does Kenny Perry fit into all this? Well, 2008 is the Ryder Cup he’s been waiting for pretty much his whole life. It’s being played at Valhalla, which is about 40 miles from where he was born in Kentucky. He played in 2004 and went 0-2 in two matches and didn’t make the team in 2006. This year, he has made it his mission to make the Ryder Cup team; he even skipped the US Open so he could better prepare for crappy, star-less tournaments like the Buick Open and therefore make the team.
Kenny Perry is no rookie and the Ryder Cup matches are even in his home state. He’s actually been playing pretty well this year too. But America really freaking needs to win this year’s Ryder Cup. Really, really badly. Really. Seriously.
We’re already Tiger-less too. Say what you want about his skills as a teammate, but he’s a beast (3-1-1) in the individual matches. The loss was his very first singles match back in 1997. That leaves us with a shaky Phil Mickelson, a fast-disappearing Jim Furyk, quite a few unknowns/has-beens/never-weres, and Kenny Perry. Things aren’t looking good for this squad.
Did I mention Kenny Perry is skipping the British Open too?
I have nothing against him as a person, he seems like a good guy. And I understand his motivation to play near home, but this team doesn’t need guys who shrink from the big stage like this. It’s not to say he’s afraid, but his focus is all wrong. Just making the team is one thing, but we need to win the cup this year (hell, I’m even getting competitive about it now) and we can’t be having unfocused, just-happy-to-be-here guys on the team. Hell, maybe he’ll even play well and help the team, but do we really want a guy who hasn’t really won anything in the first place? All he did was kill himself to make the team, but do we know he’s a winner? None of the other guys seem to be, so how is Kenny Perry any different?
Kenny Perry is a hell of a golfer, but skipping major championships he could compete in and maybe even win, is not how we win the Ryder Cup, and our national golf dignity, back.
Man up, Kenny.