The agony grew exponentially 13 years later, when he stood on the 17th tee at Augusta with a two-shot lead. Consecutive bogeys dropped Perry into a three-way tie with Angel Cabrera and Chad Campbell. He failed to get up and down on No. 10, the second playoff hole, and Cabrera made par to capture the green jacket.
Perry had another close call at the Senior PGA in May. He led through three rounds at Bellerive in St. Louis but was dogged by knee pain and overtaken by unheralded Kohki Idoki.
On Sunday, there would be no folding.
Buoyed by a hot putter, Perry teamed with Waldorf to wear down Couples.
Waldorf began the day four strokes behind Couples but wasted little time making up ground. He rattled off four straight birdies to start his round and shot 29 on the front nine. He cooled off after making the turn and finished with a 6-under 64, giving Perry enough room to pull away.
"It's not surprising, (Perry) is obviously a great player," Waldorf said. "Winning these majors isn't easy and he did a great job this week."
Michael Allen and first-round leader John Huston tied for fourth at 12 under. Colin Montgomerie, playing in his first Champions Tour event, closed with a 65 to tie for ninth.