Kenny Perry With John Deere Classic on tap, Kenny Perry eyes Ryder Cup, not the Claret Jug

When it comes to qualifying for the Ryder Cup team, Kenny Perry has made no secret of the fact that he has a one-track mind.

Perry's only goal this season is to earn a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team and compete in this fall's event at Valhalla Golf Club in his home state of Kentucky. To that end, Perry has planned his schedule around events at which he believes he can perform the best, bypassing opportunities to try and play in last month's U.S. Open and next week's British Open.

Some media types have criticized Perry's approach, arguing that the goal of every golfer should ultimately be to win major championships. However, at age 47, Perry said he's somewhat stung by the criticism - even though it won't change his plans.

"I'm not going to lie: (The criticism) kind of bothers me a little bit," Perry told reporters in Silvis, Ill., as he prepared to play in Thursday's first round of John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run. "But you know what, I'm an independent contractor. I can do whatever I want, and I like that.

"I like being able to make the decisions I want to make and I think it's best for me and my family and that's the way I want to live my life. If they don't like it, that's fine. They can say all they want to."

Perry has been hot of late, placing among the top six in four of his last six starts. That stretch includes victories at the Memorial and the Buick Open.

"I like being able to make the decisions I want to make ... that's the way I want to live my life. If they don't like it, that's fine." -- Kenny Perry

For the year, Perry has made the cut in 17 of 18 events with five top-10 finishes and 10 top-25 efforts. He's climbed to No. 20 in the world golf rankings, earned $3.58 million and ranks third on the FedEx Cup point standings.

Perry said he has nothing against the majors or the British Open. He said they're all great tournaments that every player wants to win.

"That is the ultimate, but at this stage in my career, I fought all that for 22 years," Perry said. "In the past I've always tried to win a major and I couldn't do it. I don't really worry too much about it anymore. I don't care too much about winning a major.

"I would love to - don't get me wrong. I've got a chance to play in the PGA (Championship) coming up and I'll play all the majors next year, so it may happen. But it's just at this stage in my career it's just not a goal of mine."

Nearly two dozen players who are scheduled to compete in the British Open are expected to play in the John Deere Classic. That number has risen since the title sponsor of the PGA Tour event agreed to pay for a luxury plane to fly them to Royal Birkdale on Monday.

Last year at TPC Deere Run, Jonathan Byrd won his third PGA Tour title, recording birdies on three of the final five holes for a one-stroke victory over Tim Clark. The highest top-10 finisher not otherwise exempt for the British Open will earn a spot at in the year's third major.

A homecoming for Zach Johnson

The John Deere Classic also serves as a homecoming of sorts for former Masters champion Zach Johnson, who is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Although Johnson said his game is rusty since coming off a wrist injury, he's thrilled to be playing in the tournament and has taken on a major role in trying to raise funds to help flooding victims in his home state.

Johnson said he's been pleased by the support the idea has received from PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem and several players. Johnson said the PGA Tour will match the funds raised by him and his fellow players.

"It turns out not only did they really want to get behind it and start facilitating some funds, they jumped on board more than I even anticipated," Johnson told reporters.

John Deere Classic

SCHEDULE: Thursday-Sunday
SITE: Silvis, Ill.
COURSE: TPC Deere Run (7,268 yards, par 71).
PURSE: $4.2 million (winner's share: $756,000).
FEDEX CUP POINTS: 25,000 (winner's share: 4,500).
TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m., 8:30-11:30 p.m. EDT) and CBS (Saturday-Sunday, 3-6 p.m. EDT).

July 10, 2008

Comments Leave a comment
  • What a disappointment

    tony wrote on: Sep 20, 2008

    All that talk and Kenny Perry simply did not deliver. The guys like him and Michelson who talk a game don't deliver.