Colonial where Perry's run started

Originally Published: April 21, 2004
By Bob Harig | Special to ESPN.com

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

This week:
Colonial
Site:
Fort Worth, Texas
Course:
Colonial Country Club
(7,080 yards, par 70)
Purse:
$5.3 million (Winner: $954,000)
Television:
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:
Kenny Perry


This week:
Sybase Classic
Site:
New Rochelle, N.Y.
Course:
Wykagyl Country Club
(6,458 yards, par 72)
Purse:
$1.25 million (Winner: $187,500)
Television:
Thursday: 2-4 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Friday: 1-3 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Saturday: 3-5 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Sunday: 2-4 ET (ESPN2) Defending champ:
Hee-Won Han


This week:
Allianz Championship
Site:
West Des Moines, Iowa
Course:
Glen Oaks Country Club (6,879 yards, par 71)
Purse:
$1.5 million (Winner: $225,000)
Television:
Friday: 5-7:30 p.m. ET (TGC)
Saturday: 5-7:30 p.m. ET (TGC)
Sunday: 5-7:30 p.m. ET (TGC) Defending champ:
Don Pooley

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.

Five Things To Watch

1.
Phil Mickelson will try to bounce back from his first missed cut of the year. After two victories and 10 top-10 finishes in 11 tournaments, Mickelson shot his first over-par score in 22 rounds to miss by a stroke.

2.
Sergio Garcia is one of 13 players who have now won both the Byron Nelson and Colonial. But only one player has captured them during the same year: Ben Hogan in 1946. Garcia can become the second this week.

3.
The PGA European Tour features Ernie Els and defending champion Padraig Harrington at the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open at the TPC of Europe in Heidelberg, Germany.

4.
The LPGA Tour heads to New York for the Sybase Classic in New Rochelle, where Hee-Won Han is the defending champion.

5.
After a week off, the Champions Tour schedule resumes at the Allianz Championship in Iowa, where Don Pooley is the defending champion.


THE COURSE: COLONIAL COUNTRY CLUB
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.
ONE MAN'S OPINION ON THE RULES
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.''
MAILBAG: ASK BOB HARIG
Bob HarigGot 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.
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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?
John Smith
San Diego

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.
Erik
Sydney, Australia

A. This, actually, has been the subject of much conversation. Singh himself said at the beginning of the year that it was his goal to become the No. 1 player in the world. He didn't know if it was possible this year, but after winning back-to-back tournaments in Houston and New Orleans, he was closer than ever. Woods has increased his lead to 2.62 points after missing a playoff by one stroke in each of the past two weeks. Indeed, no one thought this was possible as recently as a year ago, but the fact is that while Singh has improved his position, the reason he has a chance is because Woods has dropped back to the pack.


Bob Harig covers golf for the St. Petersburg Times and is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com. He can be reached at harig@sptimes.com.

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com

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