Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Kenny Perry Gets Defense From ...the Tour. Of Course.

I think someone at Ponte Vedra put John Maginnes up to the task of defending Kenny Perry's decision to play on their Tour at Milwaukee in lieu of going to the Open Championship - where he is exempt. I say that because it is a bit of a lazy defense of Perry's decision.

Let's take a look.

First, how about a rip of the British press?

Although I do not spend a lot of time perusing the tabloids from across the pond, I would imagine that KP has taken quite a beating from those poison-penned critics with their razor wit and attitude. I can rarely get past page three to actually check out the sports in the back.
One of the first things you learn in business and PR is that you are always supposed to discredit the messenger with a cutdown or sarcastic remark. Check.
Should Kenny take the spot that he has earned in the British Open rather than go to Milwaukee where he won in 2003 and has only finished out of the top 10 once in the last eight years? Some pundits seem to consider this an integrity-of-the-game question, which is preposterous at its very foundation.
Why is it preposterous? He never tries to follow up on that sentence. He just says it is. Great. And the answer is "yes!"

Then Maginnes comes in with a great strawman argument.
There was a stir prior to U.S. Open qualifying when Kenny opted out of the grueling 36-hole sectional. Interestingly, I didn't hear a peep when the 1995 U.S. Open champion, Corey Pavin, decided not to go to the qualifier either.
Corey Pavin is not the hottest healthy player on the planet right now. Kenny Perry is. I don't care if Perry has a Ryder Cup plan that he has, or loves Milwaukee (where he owns a course), he should be playing in a major championship. I railed Scott Hoch for having avoided the Open in his career.

Maginnes believes it is admirable to stay committed to an event where Perry will be the best player instead of Perry taking on the challenge of the Open.

At no point this year has Kenny said that he would go to the British Open. He only has one top-10 finish in five starts there and two missed cuts. His support and admiration for the quaint Milwaukee tournament can be considered admirable. He will undoubtedly be the highest-ranked player in the field that week, and he will take on the role of heavy favorite.
None of the four stars - Woods, Scott, Singh, Johnson - said they were planning to skip the AT&T National until recently.

Who cares about his record? Birkdale is American friendly. And what Maginnes neglects is that Perry has T-11 and T-16 in 2 of his last 3 Open starts. But the Tour must sure be glad that someone is going to be the marquis for the Milwaukee event. Otherwise, they wouldn't have much.

At the end of it all, the bottom line is this: Kenny Perry is already on the Ryder Cup team. He can abandon his qualifying schedule. He is the hottest player in the world. Therefore, he is a contender at the Open Championship. Perry should play. No excuses.

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