Colonial where Perry's run started
Annika Sorenstam got all the attention, but Kenny Perry won the tournament. When the Colonial was complete and Perry had won by six strokes over Justin Leonard last year, he donned the plaid jacket and figured he would be a footnote in history.
"I'll probably be remembered as the guy who won Annika's event, but that's OK with me," he said.
He went on to be remembered for much more.
Perry, 43, put together the best season of his career, winning three times with 11 top-10s in 26 starts. He earned more than $4.4 million and had three top-10s in major championships.
|Where they're playing|
Fort Worth, Texas
Colonial Country Club
(7,080 yards, par 70)
$5.3 million (Winner: $954,000)
Thursday: 4-6 p.m. (USA)
Friday: 4-6 p.m. ET (USA)
Saturday: 3-6 p.m. ET (CBS)
Sunday: 3-6 p.m. ET (CBS) Defending champ:
It all began at Colonial, where he set 54- and 72-hole tournament records while tying the course record with a third-round 61. He held an eight-stroke lead heading into the final round.
Perry went on to win the following week at the Memorial, then added a victory in July at the Greater Milwaukee Open. He contended at the British Open and was in the running for player of the year honors until the end of the season. Perry finished the season sixth on the money list.
"It was a magical summer for me last year, and it all started right here," Perry said of Colonial. "I don't think of myself as an elite player. I think of myself as a blue-collar golfer who goes out every day and works to be his best."
Perry's good play meant the golf world got to hear about his good-guy story.
There's the tale about how he built his own golf course in Kentucky, Country Creek, where a guy can pay a $28 greens fee and perhaps find himself warming up next to Perry.
And then there's his longtime relationship with Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., where Perry long ago endowed a scholarship. When Perry needed a loan to attend the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament back in 1986, he made a deal with an elder at his church that he would give 5 percent of his winnings to Lipscomb -- an agreement he honors today.
"It's a neat story to tell," Perry said. "A feel-good story."
So is Perry, who is ranked ninth in the world and in excellent position to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team. And it all began a year ago this week.
|Colonial Country Club in Forth Worth has the distinction of being the only club to host a U.S. Open (1941), Players Championship (1975) and U.S. Women's Open (1991). The Colonial tournament has been played at the course since 1946, making it the longest-running venue to hold a PGA Tour event. Of course, Colonial is synonymous with Ben Hogan. It is where the legendary golfer won five times, including his last tournament in 1959. The 7,080-yard, par-70 course is not long by today's standards, but has plenty of doglegs and tight driving holes. It can be a difficult test despite its relatively short length, although Kenny Perry shot 19 under last year while Justin Leonard flirted with a final-round 59.|
|If the best players in the world can't keep the rules straight, how are us mortals supposed to cope? That was made apparent again over the weekend when Greg Norman was disqualified from the BMW Asian Open in China for taking an illegal drop. Now, to be fair, Norman knew the rule. He was simply unaware that the drop he took was wrong. Norman assumed the water hazard where he had just hit his ball at the par-3 17th hole was lateral. It was not. Only red-staked hazards are lateral. Yellow-staked or yellow-lined hazards require a player, typically, to play from a drop area or from the tee. Norman played it lateral, meaning next to the hazard. That's a two-stroke penalty, but the rule requires he rectify his mistake by playing again from the proper spot before teeing off on the next hole. Norman never did because he didn't know. It was the second time this year such an incident occurred to Norman. He was also disqualified at the Honda Classic in March. "I quite honestly did not notice it was a yellow line and treated it as red (a lateral water hazard),'' Norman said. "When it happened at Honda, nobody notified me and again here, nobody notified me. No one in the gallery, no marshals notified me that it was wrong. When I hit off the next tee, that was it -- I had to be disqualified.''|
|Got a question about the PGA Tour? Ask ESPN.com golf writer Bob Harig, who will answer a few of your inquiries in each installment of This Week in Golf.||
Q. Will we ever see Rich Beem in the winner's circle again? What are the strengths and limitations of his game, and what does he need to do to improve?
A. Beem, who won the 2002 PGA Championship, is no doubt a streaky player. And he's in the midst of a bad one, having made just four cuts in 12 events this year with no top-20 finishes. Beem simply appears to be one of those players who goes through phases of poor play. After winning the Kemper Open in 1999, he didn't have a single top-10 finish in 2000. In 2002, he won the International weeks before the PGA and finished the year seventh on the money list. Last year, he made just 14 cuts in 26 events, but did have two top-10s. So it seems to come and go for Beem.
Q. Vijay Singh, popular or not, is only about 2.5 points behind Tiger in the World Rankings. That's so much closer than it's been since Tiger's runaway period in 2001. Why no press on the subject? It really looks like Vijay could catch Tiger. A feat no one thought possible that long ago.
Bob Harig covers golf for the St. Petersburg Times and is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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