Kenny Perry Aims To Defend His Title Amid a Cloud Of Controversy
Kenny Perry will head to Muirfield Village this week to defend his title at Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament.
But, he will do so amid a cloud of controversy.
In 2009, at 48-years-old, Kenny Perry has a win and nine top-25 finishes in just thirteen events. Perry’s current hot streak began around this time last year when he won the Memorial Tournament, which was his first win in more than three years.
Following his win at the Memorial, Perry went on to win two more tournaments in 2008 and achieve his ultimate goal of earning a spot on Paul Azinger’s American Ryder Cup team.
Kenny Perry’s performance over the past year has been nothing short of miraculous and has inspired many 40-somethings on tour to believe that with a little hard work, they too can remain extremely competitive into their late 40s.
But, unfortunately, we live in a society where failure and controversy can often be more intriguing than success.
Do we remember Greg Norman for his 87 professional wins and two major championships?
No. We remember Norman more for his horrific meltdowns at Augusta.
Since returning to the PGA Tour in February, Tiger Woods has four top-10 finishes and a win in the five stroke-play events he’s attended. That’s more than most tour professionals could hope to accomplish in a year.
But, that’s just not interesting. No one wants to see Tiger Woods have just an above average return.
We see normal and uninteresting everyday of our lives. When we flip on the television on Sunday afternoon, we want to see greatness, and if we can’t get that, at least give us some heartbreak or controversy to keep us interested.
Few players on the PGA Tour have had more success than Kenny Perry over the past year. But, four wins and eight top-10 finishes doesn’t seem to be nearly as intriguing for many people as Perry’s heartbreaking defeat at the Masters or the controversy now surrounding his win at the FBR Open this past January.
Earlier this year at the FBR Open, Perry defeated Charlie Hoffman on the third hole of a sudden death playoff. Some footage has recently emerged that appears to show Perry using his club to improve his lie in the green-side rough on what would be the final hole of the playoff.
From the camera angle seen on the CBS telecast, Perry’s ball is barely visible as he first approaches it. After using his club to excessively pat down the grass behind the ball, Perry steps away from his ball from which point virtually the entire golf ball is visible on camera.
If you’ve ever read through a golf rule book, you’ll feel as if you need a law degree from Harvard University to properly interpret all of the complicated, yet vague rules.
The rule that addresses Kenny Perry’s situation at the FBR Open is rule 13-2 which states “A player must not improve or allow to be improved the position or lie of his ball ... by any of the following actions—pressing a club on the ground, moving, bending or breaking anything growing or fixed."
Based on the literal interpretation of rule 13-2, it would seem clear that Perry’s actions at the FBR Open violated the rule and therefore he should be penalized.
However, similar to the law, the rules of golf can be open to interpretation.
The video footage clearly shows Perry using his golf club to push down the grass behind the ball. However, the problem is that there is nothing in the rule book that definitively addresses this situation.
Sure, the rules state that a player cannot improve his lie by pressing his club on the ground. But, doesn’t every player press his club on the ground and at least slightly push the grass down when addressing the ball in the rough?
Are all of those players cheating when they do so?
John Palmer, who is the chief referee on the European Tour, offered his interpretation of the rule.
"The fact is the player is allowed to put his club behind the ball. Otherwise, he would never be allowed to address his ball in any circumstance," said Palmer. "As soon as any player puts his club on the grass behind the ball, then the grass will be flattened. The issue is, is there excessive pressing down with the club? Looking at this, I don't think Kenny Perry did use excessive pressure when he put his club behind the ball. It does look bad; it does look like the lie was improved but, as long as there was no intent to do so, and I don't think there was, then it is not a penalty."
If the PGA Tour were to penalize Perry for improving his lie and violating rule 13-2, they would open up a whole new can of worms.
How would players go about addressing the golf ball in the rough while not at least slightly improving their lie? Would it become similar to a sand trap where players are not allowed to ground their club at all?
You see, whether the PGA Tour believes that Perry broke rule 13-2 or not, there’s not much they can do about it because the rule is unclear on what is improving your lie in an appropriate manner (such as simply addressing the ball in the rough) and what is excessive and should constitute a penalty.
Maybe Kenny Perry broke the rules at the FBR Open and maybe he didn’t.
But, if you are looking to throw the blame at someone, look towards the PGA Tour and the rule book instead of Kenny Perry. He did not make the decision on whether or not he broke the rules nor did he personally write rule 13-2.
One thing is for sure. If Kenny Perry knew that he was in anyway violating the rules of the game, he would have been the first person to call a penalty on himself, no matter what the consequences may have been at the time.
That’s just Kenny Perry. He is a true gentleman of the game and always has been.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?