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April 11, 2009

Kenny Perry


BILLY MORRIS: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We are delighted to have Kenny Perry with us. Kenny had a very fine 70 today and is presently tied for the lead at 11-under.
Kenny, as many of you know, won the 2009 FBR Open in Scottsdale; in 2008, he won the Memorial Tournament, the Buick Open and the John Deere Classic, in addition to four Top-10 finishes. He competed in his first Presidents Cup in 2005 and he has scored 12 PGA TOUR titles and this is his ninth Masters appearance. His best finish was tied for 12 in 1995. Kenny, we are delighted to have you with us. Would you like to make a comment, or would you like to go directly to questions?
KENNY PERRY: Whatever is easier.

Q. What did you talk about during your round with Chad Campbell, and did that help relieve the tension?
KENNY PERRY: We didn't talk much. I try to encourage him, I always try to step in and pump him up a little bit. It was a very quiet day out there. We were kind of both in our own little world out there. We were kind of trying to survive out there on this golf course, so there was not a lot said.

Q. Is it easier or harder to play with someone in that type of environment when it's a friend?
KENNY PERRY: I think it's easier. Me and him have a lot of similar personalities, and pretty much, you know, he's an easy- going, pretty laid back fella. He was encouraging me when I was hitting good shots and I was telling him, "Good shot." But there was just not a lot of chitchat out there.
But I felt sorry for him on 16 when he hit it in that back-right bunker because I knew he was not going to have any fun on that hole.

Q. You said outside that you admire the guys that wear the green jacket. What would it mean to you to put one of those on tomorrow ?
KENNY PERRY: Well, I'm not going to answer that question. I'm not going to answer that until it actually happens. I mean, for me, I don't want to look -- I don't want to look there, because I just -- I just don't want to go there, because to me, I've got to stay in the moment. I've got to stay ready. This golf course is very difficult and very demanding, and any other tournament, whenever I've looked into the future and thought about winning, going in on Sunday, if I do that, if I do that, I've not had much luck. I've not had much success.
I'm going to let -- this golf course is tough. I had a tough day out there. I did not have my A Game. I was struggling. First shot out right of the gate I was nervous, pulled it over into the trees but somehow settled down and I was able to get into the round.
But you know, tomorrow, somehow, I need to get through that front nine with a decent score. It's going to be a big test for me tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it and I'm looking forward to the challenge. I'm looking forward to seeing what I got. You know, you don't get -- I don't get -- this may be my last time to have this kind of opportunity.
So I'm going to enjoy it, for sure. I'm looking forward to it. But I'm not -- I'll answer that question tomorrow night if I actually get that jacket put on.

Q. You said yesterday that your dad is the one who is pushing for you to get it; is he here with you?
KENNY PERRY: No, he's at home with my mom. My mom's very ill.

Q. Do you expect a phone call tonight?
KENNY PERRY: Yeah, we talk every night. He calls me up and critiques every shot on every hole: "What are you thinking about on that hole? What's going on? I know you can hit it better than that." (Laughter).

Q. You spoke that there was not a lot said and there wasn't a lot of talk. Does that indicate that we are getting down to the playoff of the Tournament and everything is more focused for you?
KENNY PERRY: Yeah, definitely. You know what, we got 18 holes to go and I'm in a great spot. I've got something that I can achieve that will put me -- it will move me up another notch on the totem pole on the PGA TOUR. I go from a good player to maybe people start thinking I'm a better player than just a good player. I'm never thinking I'm a superstar, but most people who talk about me say I'm a nice guy and I'm a good player, and that's about all you hear.
So maybe, you know, things will change; change that attitude tomorrow.

Q. I don't think people toward the end of your career would understand the humble beginnings. Could you talk about your Vero Beach days and your apartment and the cockroaches and all that stuff.
KENNY PERRY: It was tough. Sandy and I were married right out of college in '82. Moved to Florida. I worked at Bent Pine as a bag boy under Dennis Satyshur. Just did whatever, mostly a grunt.
I would work there, and J.C. Goosie had a mini tour in Orlando. I made the mini tour on Mondays and Tuesdays every week, and I did that for five years, from '82 to '86. Sandy and I, we lived on 800 a month, we lived with my uncle in that little apartment, so I didn't have to pay rent but I had a car payment. It was tough. We were scratching and clawing, trying to make ends meat. Makes me really appreciate where I am today.
And then we had our first child in '84 and then won in '85. Went through two sets of sponsors. I went and borrowed money from the bank on an open note and lost it. Pretty much down to my last penny and finally got to Q-School and that's when I went to my church and gave me $5,000 to go to qualifying school. And that's why I donate five percent of my earnings to Lipscomb University. It's up to $1.4 million in a trust fund for kids who want an Christian education in my hometown. That's a pretty neat deal right there to see how that's grown and how people have benefitted from that. It's been very special to me.
I would have probably gone the club pro route if I had not made it playing. I've always loved golf and it's been a part of me. If I would not have made it playing, I probably would have been a head pro somewhere.

Q. There's been a lot of talk about the young guys coming along this year, but you look up there, almost everybody in the top nine or ten guys has been around for a while and has played a lot of the Masters. How much do you think that matters at this place?
KENNY PERRY: Well, I think it matters a lot. This is only my ninth, so I've got some rounds here. But I just, to me, I never thought I was -- I was never there mentally. I never could put the two together. I never had the short game to compete here.
You've got to really pay attention out there. A hole like 16 today was a perfect example. It was 174 into the wind. You could try to hit a 6-iron back there and try to go and hit it close, but I chose to hit the 7-iron into the hill, kill it and have the 40-footer up the hump there. I think if you get too aggressive here, it will kill you. You have to somehow find the happy medium. You have to know when to be patient, when to play away from the tough pins, and then go get the pins you think you can make birdies on the par 5s and stuff.
It's just hard to shoot a low score out here. It's just not going to happen.

Q. You got to Kapalua and you talked about re dedicating and trying to get to 20 wins, playing in your mid 50s if you had to and it was a bit of a re dedication to the Major championships. How much of all of that does that have to do with where you are today?
KENNY PERRY: A lot. As I said, my youngest child is a junior at SMU, my other two are out of college and one just married, and it's Sandy and I. I've had time to go and rededicate myself to practicing and get myself ready to perform out here.
I know I can play. I've been there. I've done it. I've won some big tournaments. But I've never been in this kind of situation that often. I finished third at the U.S. Open and lost to Mark Brooks at Valhalla.
But for me, I've put a lot of emphasis -- that Ryder Cup taught me a lot. I set some goals. Didn't think I could make it; I made it. .
So now I'm more of a goal setter. Then I throw out that number 20, it's an unrealistic goal, but yet it, could become realistic. It could be obtainable. I don't know if I can get to 20. I probably don't think it's possible, but I believe in my heart I'm good enough to do it.
So I have re focused and rededicated. I'm ready to challenge. I'm at an age maturity-wise where I can handle but my physical skills are not as good as when I was in my 20s and 30s. I don't hit it as far and seems like my irons are not quite as crisp but yet I'm a lot better thinker and I have a more confidence and I have a lot more belief. I believe it's going to happen.

Q. Valhalla with Brooks was a long time ago, but how much will that help you tomorrow to have been in a Major in a final round?
KENNY PERRY: I wish I could redo that one over. The 72nd hole is the one that cost me that tournament, not the playoff.
You know, that stings. That one is still with me today. I've carried that a long time. People criticize me, but it's 110 degrees, it smoking hot out there, I hit the best tee shot I could have hit but just went further than I normally could hit it. I just was pumped up on adrenaline.
But through the years, I've been able to try to channel my energy and calm myself down out there on the golf course, and that really helps you. When you get under the gun and under pressure out there, you've got to figure out a way to slow your heartbeat down, slow yourself down and just make a nice, smooth pass at it.
That helped me yesterday. That was with me today, even though I was out of sorts and out of sync there early in my round. I was able to overcome that. So hopefully tomorrow -- I thought today was a good test for me to get me ready for tomorrow, because I was really out of it out there. I fought hard and was able to shoot a halfway decent number.
So I'm looking forward to tomorrow now.

Q. Something like 17 out of the last 18 winners have come out of final group; what do you think of that?
KENNY PERRY: I was trying to think, looking at the leaderboard, there are actually quite a few guys who have a shot at this thing tomorrow. It will definitely be based on the weather, pin placements. I think we are going to have another nice, warm, beautiful day tomorrow. I'm not much on northwest wind. Today we had a northwest wind. The first two days, we had south and southwest winds. I hope the wind turns back around from the south. To me the golf course plays better; it's more scorable.
I think that will dictate a little bit about what's going on out there. I think what y'all will see tomorrow, you will definitely see something happen on the back nine where somebody is going to win it tomorrow on the back nine. That's where it's all going to happen.
BILLY MORRIS: Kenny, thank you very much and good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts

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