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Clash of the Generations

The 2004 PGA Tour will continue to be a battleground between the Young Guns and the pop guns
Jeff Williams
From the Print Edition:
Tyson vs. King, Jan/Feb 04

(continued from page 2)

 

Kenny Perry had been a steady player over the course of a PGA career that began in 1987. But no one would have accused him of being a week-to-week contender. He won seven times, but he may be better known for how he went about losing the PGA Championship playoff to Mark Brooks in 1996. The gregarious Perry, playing in front of a home crowd at the Valhalla Golf Club near Louisville, warmed up for the playoff by chatting in the television booth.

He had good money-winning years in 2001 and 2002, but no one, not even Perry, could have been prepared for what he did in 2003. The 43-year-old had his career season and at one point was clearly the best player in the world. Yes, Kenny Perry was playing better than Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Vijay Singh, Mike Weir and the whole darn lot. At 43 he was on fire, playing better than he had at 23 or 33.

In one eight-tournament stretch he won three times, finished third in the U.S. Open, eighth at the British Open and tenth at the PGA Champion­ship. Among his victories were the Annika Sorenstam–energized Bank of America Col­o­n­ial Tournament and the Memorial Tournament, Jack Nicklaus's event that annually has one of the strongest fields in the game. Speaking for himself, and doubtless for all the Pop Guns, Perry says, "I think the level of golf is just improving, Tiger's brought our level up a lot. My health is good and I've always been able to hit it far enough. I don't have any trouble with length and that's always been a big bonus for me."

Enough length, it seems, to put the Young Guns in their place.

Ben Curtis: Young Gun

 


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