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May 30, 2003

Kenny Perry


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you for joining us for a few minutes. Another great day, 4-under, 68. 11-under for the tournament. It looks like you will be in good position going into the weekend.

KENNY PERRY: Yes, it was a good round of golf for me. I was happy with the way I played today. Kind of still in that same rhythm and same mode. I was able to hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens. I actually left a few out there today. Then I got up and down a few places that were tough to get up and down, so I guess it all evens out. I really wanted to shoot something in the 60's today just to get in position for the weekend, and I was able to do that. I was proud of my round.


Q. Are you playing the best golf of your life?

KENNY PERRY: Well, as I said earlier, I had a 3-week stretch very similar. I had the week at Riviera, Corey beat me on Sunday, I had a lead at The Hope and I had the lead going at Pebble Beach and Peter Jacobsen beat me. I had a good stretch run like that, that was in '94, '95 whatever. I haven't played that well since, so I have that groove going on right now.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: You had a good start last year.

KENNY PERRY: Yes, you are right. I almost won the Mercedes. And I almost won Phoenix and a top-10 at the Bob Hope. I guess I'm a streaky golfer, I don't know.

Q. Is there any way you can describe what this feeling is, when you are playing so well, you're rolling the putter well?

KENNY PERRY: Well, everything that can go my way is going my way. The four- or five-footers that I need to make for par, I'm making right now to kind of keep the momentum and the swing going my way. Then I will make a 20-footer for birdie. It just seems like the momentum holes that you need to do something to keep your run going, I have been able to take advantage of.

Q. The kind of golfer you were when you won here the first time with the kind of course that it was, if you would have had this course then, do you think you would have been able to win here or do you have to be maybe a more mature and smarter golfer to play this course now?

KENNY PERRY: I think so. I think when I won in '91, the golf course was very firm and very fast. I was able to get away with more irons off the tee it seemed like. Where now Jack has redone the greens again and the ball, it takes a pretty good first bounce, then it will kind of settle down. I noticed the last four or five holes, the ball was releasing and running. The guys this afternoon will have their hands full. I think you are right, I think this golf course has always been a course you have to manage your game well; you have to think around each hole. There is not a let-up on any hole throughout. You can have a problem with it if you hit one straight shot.

Q. Were you good enough back then to play a course like this well?

KENNY PERRY: Well, I thought so. I thought I could. I think I was oriented enough or had enough confidence in myself. I thought I could beat those guys. You never know until you do. That 63, things went my way that week. I made a hole-in-one on 16 to go on and shoot 63. It was the second or third round, I don't remember which round, that shot me right up into lead. I played beautiful on the weekend. Hale Irwin shot 66 to 67 and I was lucky enough to beat him in the playoff.

Q. Kenny, you more than anyone on this TOUR have coped with the Annika situation and prospered by it?

KENNY PERRY: Well, thank you. I need all of the help I can get.

Q. The point I'm making is, last week you didn't seem to pay much attention whether she was there or not, you played your golf and you had a beautiful week.

KENNY PERRY: That's been the story of my life though. I kind of come out here, done my deal, worked and I have flown under radar. I have not been a media star. I have always said I was a good golfer, I was never a superstar. I'm just a simple guy, I just had a simple life and it doesn't take a lot to make me happy. But I'm very competitive and my dad has put a strong will in me to want to win, no matter if it's a golf tournament, cards, checkers. Me and him used to go our whole life growing up, when he was kind of preparing me for this. And he made me believe that I was -- he believed more in me than I believed in myself, let me put it that way. He always said, you're just as good as they are. He still says it to this day, you just got to believe it. I really never believed it. I have been around these guys for so long, I see all of the type golf shots they play. I have always been a pretty one-dimensional kind of player and I stuck to my guns. Maybe it's not going to make me a superstar, it's going to make me consistent week in and week out, and I kind of like that.

Q. What's your dimension?

KENNY PERRY: Right-to-left, I'm a drawer.

Q. All the time?

KENNY PERRY: I very seldom hit a fade.

Q. Kenny, you talked yesterday about your dad going over the round with you every time, how important is that to you?

KENNY PERRY: Well, it's very important, that was our bond growing up. Even as a kid, he would take me to junior tournaments, we take a scorecard and he would write where my drive was, second shot went, where I putted, how many greens I hit. He would chart those and give me the scorecards at the end of the round, have notes on them and tell me what I needed to improve on. What was I thinking here? He is a smart guy and he knew golf was very mental. It is a tough game. If can you get your physical game along with your mental game, get them going side-by-side, it makes you a tough player.

Q. You come to expect this now, getting these calls from him?

KENNY PERRY: Oh, yes. He doesn't do it like he used to. He used to walk with me. He would walk TOUR events with me all the time and come out and follow me. Now he is 79 years old, he can't walk anymore. He sits and watches it on the TV. He doesn't do that anymore. He still, what he sees on TV, he will call and talk to me about it.

Q. How long ago did he quit walking with you?

KENNY PERRY: It's probably about two or three years now.

Q. Kenny, when you said that he always told you that you were just as good as the rest of the guys, was that like because you were a small town kid and grew up to a public course playing the kids, private club kids?

KENNY PERRY: I just think he saw greatness in me. He really did. He saw a good player capable enough to win on the PGA TOUR. He saw I had all of the skills, I had the distance, I had the length, it was a matter of me being able to control the situation, being able to handle my nerves.

Q. You talked about distractions are, you surprised in any way that Vijay is back up there, given the distractions that he has gone through?

KENNY PERRY: No. Vijay is one of the best out here. It doesn't surprise me at all. I think usually the best can always overcome adversity and raise their game to the next level.

Q. Can you talk about what's it like when you are playing well and then you got all of this time to think about tomorrow?

KENNY PERRY: This will be tough. I probably won't play until 1:30 tomorrow. So I'm going to have to kill the day a little bit and sleep in a little. I don't know. I will probably -- it's neat this week. I stayed with the Eastways, Bob and Terry Eastway. I have been with this family 14 years now. They live across the street here over at the other golf course. It's nice to go home to their house. I used to go to Justin's baseball games and stuff like that. That's how I would kill my time. He is not playing right now. He just finished high school and he is getting ready play legion ball, but they are not playing games right now. It's kind of nice. We will go hang out and do something. They will keep my mind occupied to keep me from, hey, you've got the lead, and all of this mess. And I will be relaxed.

Q. Is it harder to deal with that time frame when you are playing well, or when you are not playing well?

KENNY PERRY: Well, it always helps when you are playing well. You kind of understand your golf swing and what it's doing and you know what to expect. And when you are not playing well, it gets pretty frustrating. I end up overworking when I have a lot of time like that, and I'm not playing well I usually go pound balls for two or three hours. If I'm that figured, I don't perform very well.

Q. The swing, you said yesterday, slowing your swing down is making a big difference, when did that start and how did you fall into it?

KENNY PERRY: I fell into it Friday. Friday at Colonial. That's when the right button hit in my swing and in my thinking.

Q. Why?

KENNY PERRY: I don't know why.

Q. No suggestions from anyone?

KENNY PERRY: No, nobody suggested it. I'm always searching in my golf game. I have always played my field. I'm not a very mechanical player at all. There are a few swing techniques I use to go by when I am struggling, and one of them has always been tempo. So I kind of slowed it down and the next thing I know, my release got faster and the club head started catching up and all of a sudden, I start hitting the ball higher and softer.

Q. Is this something that worked for you in your career when you had hot streaks?


Q. Do you know why you forget about it and don't remember?

KENNY PERRY: Well, you kind of go in other directions. Sometimes I work on my release, I always keep on working my right foot down a little longer, hold my hips longer. There are two or three swing keys that I always go to and I always revert back to when things aren't going well.

Q. Kenny, that Friday at Colonial I think you shot 64 and talked about how there might have been 6 or 7 people following you around that day, are you under radar or --

KENNY PERRY: It's been pretty good. A lot of people have been supporting me. They have been saying my name a lot and they have been telling me to repeat, to go back-to-back, which is kind of nice. I felt more support this week than I have in a long time.

Q. Kenny, would you say missing the cut at Byron Nelson is the reason why, or was one of the impetus why you played well in as much time as you played, because it seems like every time you missed the cut you become a little more focused, more aggravated with yourself?

KENNY PERRY: Exactly. I have become aggravated with myself. It makes me more determined, makes me want to go out there and work harder at it. It does get me refocused, like you said. I have been able to be able to push that aside on the weekend, go out there and work on things that I need to work on and make me a better player and it works.

Q. Kenny, you said you gotten a lot of support this week. I know a couple of years ago, I think Craig Parry said somebody mistook him for Chris Perry and shouted a "go Bucks" at him, have you gotten any support like that?

KENNY PERRY: I did. That's a standard issue with me. "Jim, how is your dad doing?" "Go Bucks," that's just normal. Chris and I, we get a pretty big kick out of that. He hasn't been out on TOUR so much. J.L. Lewis and I they think we look alike. I have been called J.L. Lewis I don't know how many times. J.L. has been called me. That's kind of funny what we got running right now.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Can we go over your birdies today, birdie on No. 7.

KENNY PERRY: 7, I hit a driver in the right rough, a 5-iron to 100 yards from the hole and I hit it about 15 feet past and made the putt.

10, I hit a driver and a 9-iron probably 15 feet left of the hole and made that.

And then 15, I hit a driver and 2-iron in the right front bunker and blasted up 6 feet past and made that.

18, I hit a 2-iron and 5-iron on the back collar and a blazing sand wedge in the hole.

Q. You said you're a field player, how important was the changing of the putter last week?

KENNY PERRY: Well, it's be huge, the Rossa one, I won the Buick with the Rossa one. I pretty much made the most of my career on the Rossa one that Odyssey putter. I have been trying that new Monza from TaylorMade. It was a triangle putter, very similar to the old TC2's -- I call it a stealth putter which I won with here. They remade it and made it look a little more high tech. I was struggling a little bit. I putted good with it at first. I finished second with it at Bay Hill with that putter. I was putting with it for 8 straight weeks. At the Byron Nelson I missed everything. When I start doing that I will switch in a heartbeat. I went and got another one. That's not the one I used most of my career. But it felt pretty good, so I put it right in play. I 3-putted the first hole at Colonial. And I 3-putted the fourth hole. Then I'm thinking, oh, boy. I was able to escape and make a couple of good putts and shoot 2-under the first round, shoot 68. Second round I putted really good and the third round it went crazy. I finally got comfortable with it.

Q. How far at 18?

KENNY PERRY: That was probably about 18 feet.

Q. And you said you didn't get any lift on it at all?

KENNY PERRY: No, I putted it with a sand wedge. I was probably 6 inches into the thicker collar and I just kind of nudged it out of the thicker collar into the little collar. I knew if I had the ball turning over, once it got on the green it was going to go all the way to the hole.

Q. It was hopping out of the high stuff?


Q. Being a guy under the radar, would you be happy with that forever?

KENNY PERRY: Yes, I don't have to be a superstar out here. That doesn't bother me at all. People that follow golf have known what I have done.

Q. Kenny, what is your take with the 40-year-old players? You guys are having success.

KENNY PERRY: Well a lot of it is conditioning, a lot of it is equipment. I got this new 5, 10 driver, deep face TaylorMade driver that goes forever. The X ball from Titleist that goes forever. I know I don't have the same club head speed back when I was 25. There is no way. But I'm able to hit it just as far, or maybe even further. I think that has been a big deal to all of us is equipment.

Q. What about experience factor?

KENNY PERRY: That's huge. You can't put a price on experience because you know playing 17 years out here I know where all of these pins have been. Except for 17, that's a new hole. You kind of understand how the golf course is going to play where they will split the flag sticks when they are in those positions you know where to hit the ball. I have had a lot of putts that are similar. I had this putt I don't know how many times. You get a good feel for the putt and, you know, I'm just not as uptight as I used to be. I'm very relaxed, going out there if I play good great. If I don't fine. Let's find out what's wrong and fix it.

Q. Back to the thing about slowing your swing down at Colonial what was wrong with your game at that point that you were trying to get out of it?

KENNY PERRY: I have been hitting a lot of golf balls long, coming off hot, and I would get ahead of it and de-loft the golf ball and almost like jumpers for some reason. I quit trying to hit it so hard. I slowed it down. By slowing everything down. I started hitting the ball higher and softer, and it started going my numbers. I have been complaining to Freddie my caddy, we are either long or short. I don't mind being right or left if it's pin high. It's the long or short that really upsets me.

Q. You were trying to hit it harder?

KENNY PERRY: Maybe. There is times in my swing where I feel I can go at it and swing hard at it and hit it a long ways. So I try to tone that down and it works. I thought myself a lesson right there.

Q. Kenny, you have been out here enough at least this tournament, would you be surprised if you are not in the lead at the end of the day with the way the conditions are getting?

KENNY PERRY: It's always possible that someone will catch me and pass me. But I don't think so. I think the golf course set up and it will be a tough test. They will have to play good golf. Charlie may go out there and shoot -- Charley may shoot 64 today. No one thought I would shoot 61 at Colonial but it happens. That's pretty neat. That's one thing about the guys out here. Expect the unexpected.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Kenny, for joining us.

End of FastScripts....

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