If anybody knows the sting of coming up just short in a professional golf major is it’s Kenny Perry. Though he collected more than $32 million in his PGA Tour career, Perry never won a major. He twice lost in a playoff for golf’s biggest prize: the 2009 Masters and the 1996 PGA Championship in his backyard at Valhalla.
Perry spent Monday afternoon an ocean away from the dramatic finish to the British Open at St. Andrews, several hundred feet underground touring Kentucky caves with his toddler-age grandchildren.
But he was certainly aware of the three-man playoff, and some of the big-name players without a major who tumbled down the leaderboard (Dustin Johnson) or missed the playoff by a shot (Jason Day).
Tuesday, Perry spoke with the media ahead of next week’s Champions Tour 3M Championship at TPC Twin Cities. The defending champion offered thoughts on the latest crop of players to join a less-than-ideal fraternity.
“I feel for those guys; I’m pulling for them,” Perry said. “Look at Dustin and Jason Day — they could’ve won the last four, five majors. I never played that well. I struggled. And then when I’d have that lightning week where I putted beautifully, I didn’t win.
“[Johnson is a] guy that looks like he could dominate and win majors. He gets there and gets there and gets there and can’t seem to get the deal done. I think he’ll do it though, eventually.”
Perry decided to end his PGA Tour career in June at The Memorial. Needing par to make the cut Perry hit his approach into a greenside bunker. He failed to make the up-and-down and went home with a whimper.
“I kind of look at that as pretty much my whole career right there,” Perry said. “So close to doing some great stuff on the PGA Tour. It was so close to being an exceptional career. I just couldn’t seem to get over the hump when the pressure situations were there.”
That doesn’t mean he’s giving up.
Perry won the Champions Tour’s season-long Charles Schwab Cup in 2013 and already has won three majors on the 50-and-over tour.
“Jordan Spieth says he has a winning formula, a plan he hasn’t shared yet with everybody,” Perry said. “I’m going to get that book and read it, even if it’s too late for my career.”