For those of you who thought that the the 2008 golf season was over now that Tiger Woods is going under the knife, I give you Kenny Perry.
The Elizabethtown, Kentucky native is hitting his prime this year, after notching his third win in five starts at the John Deere Classic. Oh, and by the way, Perry turns 48 next month.
He has been under the radar his whole career, as he never provided the flair that Tiger, Mickelson, or Scott brings. But he is finally being rewarded for his great play, not that his $26 million in career earnings isn't enough recognition.
His most recent win makes it his second consecutive victory, after he won the Buick Open three weeks ago, and he is creeping up the FedEx points leader board, now trailing just Tiger. Perry has another win, to go along with a second, third, and sixth-place finish on his 2008 resume.
I watched today's final round not necessarily to see if Perry would pull it out, but to see if 35-year-old PGA Tour rookie Brad Adamonis could surprise the golfing world to take his first title.
After Adamonis and Jay Williamson dropped their approach shots into the pond on the first playoff hole, that left Perry with the winner's check in hand.
Then I got to thinking, if Perry can continue his brilliant streak of play, what is this going to do for the game of golf? Unfortunately we won't see Perry at the British Open, due to a prior commitment to play in the U.S. Bank Championship, but if he can pull off another win against a starless field, Perry may get his name in the spotlight.
Perry may be making a very wise decision in skipping the British Open, too. According to the Perry camp, the U.S. Bank Championship is the same type of course that the United States will play on for the Ryder Cup in September. Perry is probably also quite familiar with Vahalla Country Club, as it is in Kentucky.
Personally, with Tiger gone for the year, Perry has the chance to be a savior for the PGA Tour, which was left in dire straits after Woods' surgery announcement. As one of the elder members on the tour, if he can put together a stellar Ryder Cup performance, he will easily bring golf back onto the national map.
As much as Americans don't like to watch golf unless the names Woods or Mickelson are associated, they tune in by the million to see the patriotic event that is the Ryder Cup. The 2008 edition may be even more exciting, especially because the Europeans have owned the United States as of late.
If Perry can rally his troops and win the Ryder Cup in style, look for golf to squirm back onto the nation's radar.
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