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Kenny Perry did not compete in the first three majors of the season. (Greenwood/Getty Images)

T.J.'s Take: PGA Championship's Perry's only shot

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T.J. Auclair says that while Kenny Perry has put together a tremendous 2008 season, this week's 90th PGA Championship at Oakland Hills brings to light an amazing fact about Perry's season.

By T.J. Auclair, PGATOUR.COM Interactive Producer

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.
-- During the week of any of golf's four biggest tournaments, the conversation is inevitably drummed up: Who's the best player never to have won a major?

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T.J. Auclair

There are plenty of arguments in that category. So many, in fact, I'm not even going to bother listing them.

Rarely do you ever hear the question: Who's the best player never to have played a major this season?

But, that's been the scuttlebutt lately and there's no argument. The answer is simple -- Kenny Perry.

Shockingly, this week's 90th PGA Championship at Oakland Hills Country Club marks the first time in 2008 that Perry will tee it up in a major.

The big man from Kentucky was ineligible for the Masters, decided he didn't feel like trying to qualify for the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, because, well, he didn't like the course and then decided to skip a trip across the pond to the Open Championship to honor his previous commitment to the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee.

That meant that the Open Championship was without the world's best player (Tiger Woods) and the world's hottest player (Kenny Perry).

We're happy to report that the no-major streak by Perry will be officially snapped when he tees off at 1:55 p.m. ET on Thursday. And, quite frankly, the 12-time Tour winner is confused and amused as to why everyone cared so much about his absence at both Opens.

Actually, I thought it was a compliment," he said as he prepared for the PGA Championship. "In 22 years nobody cared where I played golf. Now, all of a sudden, everybody is worried about, oh, I'm not going to the British, oh, man. And they blasted me for it, which made me laugh."

Perry's point of contention about skipping the chance to play in the U.S. Open and Open Championship was the fact that he's a 47-year-old playing the last few years of his Tour career. He had
his schedule for the season locked up in January. When the first Official World Golf Ranking of 2008 came out on January 6, Perry was No. 92.

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Fast forward to the latest Official World Golf Ranking that came out on Sun., Aug. 3 and Perry was listed at No. 17.

That's what happens in a three-win season that also includes four other top-10s.

"I committed in January to Milwaukee," he said. "I was 100 something (92, actually, but who's counting?) in the world then. Who had ever thought I would have won three tournaments at my age -- to have all those top-10s?"

He's right. Probably not many would have thought that.

So what's with the newfound game? Has it been more time in the gym like the young guns?

"I never worked out a day in my life," Perry laughed. "That's the truth."

Essentially what "it" was, was motivation like never before. September's Ryder Cup Matches will be contested at Valhalla Golf Club in Perry's home state of Kentucky. Valhalla is also the place where Perry lost in a playoff at the 1996 PGA Championship to Mark Brooks.

"I'm hoping I didn't peak too early," said Pery, who has five top-10 finishes in his last seven starts. "That's kind of the way I've been looking at this. Set my goals to make that Ryder Cup team and blew right through that this summer, and now I'm trying to get refocused here and get reenergized for September."

Perry believes Oakland Hills is the perfect place to get his game back on track.

"This will be a great place to do it. I love the PGA Championship," said Perry, who has made the cut in 16 of 17 starts at the PGA Championship. "It's my favorite major. I'm a golf course owner, and I just feel like this tournament's the heart and soul of the PGA. And I'm just proud to be a part of it."

While some say this tournament is a last shot at glory, as far as majors, it truly represents Perry's only shot. AT least this year.

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