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Late Bloomers

Vijay Singh led the way but in 2009 Kenny Perry and Steve Stricker showed up the PGA Tour’s youngsters
Jeff Williams
From the Print Edition:
Phil Ivey, March/April 2010

(continued from page 3)

Then in 2009 he did it again, two more victories, a play-off loss in the Masters, a Presidents Cup spot, a tangible pounding of the Young Guns while also dealing with the illness and death of his mother.

"Kenny's going to do what he has to do to be successful," says North. "One thing about Kenny, he's still really, really strong. He's got an unorthodox swing but he's got real athletic strength so he can bomb it out there as far as the young guys. Like Steve, it's been late in his career but he's figured it out. And he's been a much better putter in his 40s than he was in his 20s and 30s, and that has a tremendous amount of impact on his success. So you combine wisdom, strength and a hot putter and you get wins. Doesn't matter that you're 49."

Perry will turn 50 in August and has already said he plans to play a few Champions Tour events. He'll get to mingle with some of his old buddies again, and will likely beat their brains out again. But he can still beat the brains out of the youngsters, too.

"Do I have enough fire and passion in me still to compete?" asks Perry, rhetorically. "I think I do. I mean I think I'm still good enough to compete with them, but do I want to, is the question. I've pretty much accomplished everything I could accomplish out here. It's been a great year. It's been a great run."

It doesn't look like either Stricker or Perry is about to end their great runs soon, though Perry does plan on cutting back. He doesn't have a major in his pocket (he lost a play-off at the 2009 Masters to Angel Cabrera; Stricker has yet to win one, too) but he's not driven by majors. More than anything he's driven to enjoy his life with the game being a part of it.

"I'm the type of person, I'm so competitive, if I get to playing bad, you'll see me play a lot of weeks," he said. "But if I'm playing pretty good, I'll probably just kind of stay back and just play a few here and there and pick and choose the better events that I think are better for me and my game."

With Perry going on 50 and Stricker going on 43, they've reached a comfortable place in their careers and lives. It's a place that the Young Guns hope to get to one day.

Jeff Williams is a Cigar Aficionado contributing editor.

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