Champion Kenny Perry Sunday Interview


By USGA
July 14, 2013

THE MODERATOR: We're pleased to welcome 2013 U.S. Senior Open Champion Kenny Perry into the Media Center.

Kenny, congratulations. You had a wonderful performance this week and obviously closed it off today in dramatic fashion.

Just to go through some of the records set or tied by Kenny this week: Lowest score for the last 36 holes of the U.S. Senior Open at 127, which breaks the record of 130. Best comeback by a winner for the last 36 holes, ten strokes Kenny came back from, and the previous record was seven. He tied three other scoring records; lowest score for 72 holes, 267; lowest score for the last 54 holes at 200; and the lowest score in the final round, 63.

Kenny, obviously, coming off the Senior Players Championship, you played terrific there, and you equaled that weekend performance here with 127. What were the keys to that kind of performance for you?

KENNY PERRY: Well, it was a combination of a lot of things. I came in here on a high with a lot of confidence, and this golf course really fit a long hitter. I mean, if you could hit it fairly straight, you could really take advantage of this golf course.

So I told Freddy in my practice round on Tuesday, I said, you know what, this course is hard to walk, and it's hot, I said, but we got a big advantage here if we can figure out how to keep that driver in play.

For the most part, I drove it pretty good. I hit a few loose ones out there and got me in some trouble. Drove it great, but my putter really woke up this weekend. I don't know why. I'm a streaky putter, and then when my putter does show up, great things happen for me.

I made a bomb on the 3rd hole. That par 3 was 230 straight down the hill, and I hit it on the front of the green, and I made about a 30 footer with probably six foot of break, and I said, game on. I said, I was ready to go.

From then on, I just  I had a lot of looks, a lot of opportunities, made a lot of nice putts. And you know what, I didn't feel too stressed out there today. I felt very comfortable in what I was doing out there. You know what, it was just  I was in what they call, so called the zone. If you want to call it the zone, I don't know.

But I was in one of those streaks. I'm a streaky player. Like I can win multiple times in a hurry, and then I disappear for a year or six months or whatever, and then I show back up again.

So I'm just on a hot streak. I played great at Fox Chapel and here, and I had a chance to win the Senior PGA. I was three up with six to play there and let that one get away. But that one kind of fired me up more than  the loss didn't devastate me. It actually motivated me, and I think that's what helped me to win Fox Chapel and to win here.

You just got to keep knocking on the door, and that door opened these last two tournaments for me.

THE MODERATOR: Kenny, you led the field in driving distance at 300.5, which perhaps is not surprising, but you also led in average putts. You were tied at 28.25 per round. Is your game as good as it's ever been right now?

KENNY PERRY: I don't know. I tried Greenbrier last week, and it didn't show up too good with the young boys last week, but it's great.

I'm as happy and content  my equipment is great. That new LS driver from Adams has been phenomenal ever since I put that in play about two months ago.

Everything's falling in order. Yeah, it's good. I don't know if it's as good as it was when I won three times in '03 and three times in '08 and twice in '09 on the PGA Tour. I don't know if it's as good as that, but I'm still hitting it just as far as I did then. My distance is still the same, which I'm very thankful I haven't lost any distance.

THE MODERATOR: Do you intend to, if you haven't given any thought, to try for three majors in a row at the Senior British Open in two weeks at Royal Birkdale?

KENNY PERRY: No. I'm staying home. I've been on the road for nine weeks. I played eight out of the last nine weeks, and I'm tired. I'm going home to celebrate.

THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions from the floor.

Q. When you're in the zone, are you aware of anything around you or competitors or the score?

KENNY PERRY: Yeah, I look at the scoreboard. Poor Michael was having such a tough day. He was struggling with his ball striking. I was just trying to stay glued into what I was trying to do out there. Each hole, that same old cliche, one shot at a time kind of thing.

But I was checking the leaderboard out. I was wondering how Fred Funk and Corey and those were doing behind me, so definitely. I was definitely tuned into that.

Q. Kenny, you said something on the TV interview that that might have been the best  you said that might have been the best round you've played in 27 years or something like that.

KENNY PERRY: That was probably the greatest closing round I've ever had, meaning the ease of it. The score was easy. The shots were easy. I didn't have any stress.

I was the hunter. I was the guy hunting them down, even though I had a four shot lead. I was still going the other direction. I was still trying to make birdies. So it was flawless. I played flawless out there.

Q. Can you talk about 4 and 5? I mean, you played those 1 over par. You hit a really good wedge on 4. And then 5, it looked like you hit a great shot on 5.

KENNY PERRY: I did. I hit a beautiful 6 iron. It was a 190 yard shot, and it landed pin high and went over into the back hay.

The golf course really changed, the first three days till today. Today was more like a U.S. Open. I mean, the greens were firmer, faster, and I just had a normal little pitch.

If it would have been yesterday, it would have stopped around the hole, but that thing almost went off the tier and almost  I couldn't believe how far it went. And that kind of woke me up to say, uh oh, the greens are showing some teeth now.

So I made a bogey there, which kind of hurt, but I came back and made a nice birdie on 6. Then I birdied 6, 7, 8, and 9. I put a four bagger on them, which kind of made them know what was  you know, I was there ready to go.

So to me, that was a lot of fun, to be able to show up and to make those four  because 8 and 9 are tough holes, and 7's not easy either. So I birdied three hard holes right there.

Q. You were just talking about the awareness of the field and so forth. Rocco did get within two. Did you notice that at all on the back nine?

KENNY PERRY: I did. Shoot, yeah. I was like, uh oh, we got to keep going. We've got to put the hammer down here and work on out.

So it didn't make me nervous. It actually made me press on. Sometimes when you get leads, you just want to just kind of hang on to that lead. I didn't want that cushion. I wanted to push it on out there.

I wanted a five shot lead coming down the last hole. I kept telling myself, let's push it on out there. You can do it.

Q. Kenny, how much difference was the walk up 18 today compared to Friday's?

KENNY PERRY: Yeah, to shoot 73 on whatever that was, miserable round on Friday, to feel like I was at a British Open with those huge grandstands full of people applauding me all the way up. Just a wonderful feeling.

The people here were amazing, and that gallery was outstanding out there. Omaha should be proud.

That was just  you don't get many walks up the last hole with a big lead knowing you've won, and everybody's cheering for you. That's just a special moment in golf.

Q. Kenny, you've kind of touched all the way around it. Maybe the greens are firmer, but you said this is like a U.S. Open today. Yet there were some really good scores all the way around. What was the reason the course played easier maybe for everybody?

KENNY PERRY: Well, for one thing, it's 6,700 yards long. Most U.S. Open courses are probably 7,200. And with being the heat and humidity, they had to really water, syringe the greens to keep them alive.

I mean, we watched them die. You saw a lot of brown spots out there. From Tuesday to now, it was incredible, as you watched the greens start fading each and every day.

I guess they finally  they probably didn't water them as much last night or today because the greens really firmed up and the surfaces got fast. And I felt like, you know what, this reminds me of normal U.S. Open today.

So I felt very  I love fast greens. I've always putted great on super, super fast greens. Muirfield is always 14 or whatever. I just love  when it's slow, I don't know, I just like to be able to let the ball lead off the face instead of have to hit the ball. And I felt very comfortable on the greens today.

Q. Kenny, after you and Michael took divergent paths after Hole No. 13, I asked him what the conversation turned to, and he said he started talking to you about some hot new car you have coming in. You want to tell us about that?

KENNY PERRY: GM makes what they call a COPO Camaro. This is a factory drag race car. You can't even license it for the road, and it's made from GM. They only made 69 of them last year and 67 of them this year.

I actually knew the right people to where I could get my hands on one, where I could buy one. So I got to go up there next week and pick it up. I love to drag race. I got a lot of real fast cars. I like to go 200 miles an hour in a quarter of a mile. It's very thrilling.

It's so different from golf. This is slow pace. And when you're in a race car running that hard, it scares the life out of you, but I like it. I like speed. So that's kind of what I like to do.

Q. Kenny, what do you think the reason is today, instead of trying to hang on, you tried to keep the accelerator down, to use a racing phrase. What made you do that today?

KENNY PERRY: That 64 yesterday really opened my eyes to say, yeah, you know what, you can play this golf course. It's out there. You can go get it.

I was two down following Fred Couples at Fox Chapel. I was two down behind Michael Allen. I said, you know, I'm in a great spot. That leader's spot, sleeping on the lead overnight is not the greatest thing in the world. I like being the hunter. I like being the chaser.

I was fired up ready to go today. I got off to a great start, and I wasn't going to stop. I was going to do all I could to make as many birdies as I could out there.

Q. Is this the pinnacle of your career?

KENNY PERRY: I guess. I don't know. It's probably my greatest win. When you win your national Open, I mean, that's what we all strive for. I really wanted to win the Master's and the PGA and a U.S. Open on our regular Tour, but I couldn't make it happen.

Now to finally have a national title to my name to be recognized with, yeah, I'm very proud of that trophy. I think it's probably the greatest trophy I've won.

Q. Back to Friday, when you came from ten strokes back and you said had a terrible round, did you foresee anything like this? Did you go back and change any game plan or mentality? How did you get from Friday to today?

KENNY PERRY: Well, I told you all on Saturday in the media that I changed  I worked on my swing. I mean, I missed everything left on Friday. My driver was a pull draw.

So I started working on keeping my head straighter up and more to the left, keeping it left. So I have a tendency to sway off the golf ball when I swing, and my head gets underneath me. When I do that, I hit a pull hook every time. So I just worked on some things.

I drove it beautifully this weekend. It's a tip I should never forget, but I always do. I don't know. It always goes away, and then I always have to find it back up and catch it.

That driver is phenomenal. It's long. I mean, it just  it goes. It's hot. I'm thankful for that.

Q. Kenny, you mentioned winning a national Open. How far back do you go with the USGA? When was your first USGA event?

KENNY PERRY: I want to say '87. 1987 or '88. Well, no, I did play amateur. Wait a minute. I got to a qualifier  the 32, the match play event. That was in '83 or '84. That was my first one.

Q. Kenny, yesterday you mentioned 59 out by the pool, in hindsight, that you may have been able to get there. After about 11 today, did you think about it at all?

KENNY PERRY: No. Didn't really think about 59 today. I was just focused in on making birdies. I didn't even know what I was. I would look over at the score, but I didn't realize how many under I was. I was just looking at my lead. Am I two up? One up? How many behind? Whatever. To me, that motivated me more than anything I was shooting today.

Q. Kenny, where and when do you think you'll race this new Camaro you're getting?

KENNY PERRY: Maybe Saturday. I get it on Friday. So I don't know. We'll see.

Q. Local track?

KENNY PERRY: Yeah, Beech Bend. They're about 20 miles from my house. They're in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

THE MODERATOR: Any other questions for Kenny Perry?

Q. Do you work with anybody on your putting?

KENNY PERRY: Not really, no. I tried Stan Utley, and I told Stan, I cannot do what you teach.

And it was funny. After that, I went and won Colonial the next week or a couple weeks later. He said, it's the best lesson I never gave.

No, you know, I'm just  I tinker a lot with putting. What I work with more now is loft. To me, loft is so important. I got a putter that's 1 degree, got 1 degree on it. One that's got 2 degrees, and one that's got 3 1/2 degrees. Those three go with me wherever I go. To me, loft is very important in putting.

THE MODERATOR: Kenny, thank you very much for your time, and congratulations on your win.

KENNY PERRY: Thank you.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

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