An Interview with: Kenny Perry
KELLY ELBIN: Joining us in the interview room at the Senior PGA Championship, Kenny Perry. Bogey free, 5 under par 66. He's tied for the lead midway through the tournament. Nice round today, Kenny, you right along with your partner as far as being tied for first playing with Russ today. Thoughts on what looked like to be a very good round and also playing with Russ out there.
KENNY PERRY: Well it was funny, Russ is kind of the guy I always looked up to. I was a freshman at Lone Oak High School when he was a junior there at St. Mary's there in Paducah, Kentucky. Russell was the man. He was the guy that ... he was the big guy on campus as you would say. And he was one of the big reasons why I got as good as I ... I got better, because I tried to aspire to be a lot like Russ.
So it's been pretty neat me to play alongside of him for the last two days and for both of us to play tremendous, we both hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens, and it's just been a very steady, methodical round for me. I made one great putt today on the par 3 on that front nine about No. 6. I made about a 20 footer for par.
But other than that, I was I hit the par 5s in two, and 2 putted for birdie and was just Steady Eddie out there. I wasn't really doing anything flashy, but I played very nice golf today.
KELLY ELBIN: Would you just briefly go through the five birdies, starting with the 3 on number 11.
KENNY PERRY: Starting on 11. Let's see. I hit a 6 iron and a sand wedge to about three feet.
14, what is 14? I'm trying to think here. 14 I hit a 5 wood and a 9 iron to a foot and a half. Almost made it. It lipped out. Tapped that in.
16, the par 3. I hit a great 4 iron from 227 to about 10 feet right of the hole and was able to knock that in.
Number 4, I hit a driver and a hybrid in the front bunker. Blasted up to about a foot.
Then I hit a driver and a 5 wood about 25, 30 feet on 8 and 2 putted for birdie on that hole.
KELLY ELBIN: He's birdied numbers 4 and 8 both days of the championship. Open it up for questions.
Q. This may be a little bit of a reach or something, I don't know, but the fact that you and Russ are both on top of the leaderboard here after two days, is there something about this golf course that relates to something you guys are used to or you played together?
KENNY PERRY: I think we're very comfortable together. Playing together. He was my partner last year at the team event in Savannah, he was going to be my partner this year until he whiffed his pro am time and got disqualified from the tournament.
So Russ and I, we play a lot of practice rounds, we play a lot of golf together. It's just, I think it's more comfort than anything. It's funny, I hit a hook and he hits a fade, so our balls are curving the same direction all day too. So we're looking at the same golf shot. And we hit it about the same distance. Our iron irons are about the same. It's just a matter of who gets the putter hot.
Q. Is the golf course comfortable in that way, familiar in that way to you?
KENNY PERRY: Well, I played here in 2008 in the BMW championship and so I've actually had some rounds here under in competition which I kind of knew the golf course. Familiarity is always nice out here.
But the Zoysia fairways are, it's pretty generous off the tee and the ball's still picking up a little bit of mud so it's really not running out into the rough. So if you got it anywhere tracking down the fairway it's going to stay in the fairway. And so I just think that makes the fairways wider. But we didn't hit a lot of drivers. We're hitting a lot of five, I hit a lot of 5 woods off the tee and irons and just trying to play position golf. A to B.
KELLY ELBIN: Statistics show that Kenny's hit 11 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in regulation both days.
Q. What does it say about golf that you and Russ who go back to junior golf days now find yourself in your 50s in this situation at a tournament. It's pretty neat.
KENNY PERRY: It's incredible. It really is. We got a huge gallery out there. Paducah, Kentucky is not too far from here, it's probably a three hour drive at the most. So I got, I actually got friend here from Franklin where I'm from, I only spent four years at Paducah, so I went to high school there only. So, but I know a lot of people there. And it is neat. It is neat when you got a childhood friend ... and he got hurt, he left the TOUR with his wrist. He had wrist surgery. I actually missed out on his end of his career on the PGA TOUR. But it's been neat to pick him back up on the Champions Tour. And we have shared a lot of laughs and a lot of good times.
Q. Guys sometimes talk about certain times in the year where they play exceptionally well. For you what is it about this time of year? I think back to Memorial and Colonial and how you have done in the past there. Is there anything about this time of year?
KENNY PERRY: Well, I always played better in the summer in the heat and humidity which we didn't really have today. I wore my sweater all day today. We had a north wind yesterday, so it's been a funny spring. But I ... in the pro am, it was very warm and humid and hot. So hopefully it will work its way back that direction, I always played better in the heat. Colonial I played great, yeah, I've always enjoyed the heat. I like to sweat a little bit out there.
Q. I was wondering, what did you hit into 5 and to what degree does your length do you think gives you an edge out here?
KENNY PERRY: It helps me. I hit a 7 iron into 5. That big long par 4. I killed a drive there. Probably hit it 300 plus or whatever. And I hit it 320 on 8 and I hit, I only had 230 to the hole. That's a huge advantage. When you can get the driver out there and if I can just get it in the fairway ... that new driver I put in play last week at the Nelson, I drove it beautifully. I knew it was a good driver when I was keeping kind of in the same zip code as Gary Woodland. I was paired with him the first two days. So I knew I had found something that was really going to help me out. And I drove it beautifully there and it brought me a lot of confidence in here to this week.
Q. You're relatively new on this TOUR, to leave one TOUR and then kind of transition to the other, what's that like? You're pretty much a dominant position if with your length out here right now?
KENNY PERRY: Well, I found this TOUR's hard. You got to really shoot low. All these guys they're all winners, they're all great champions. And they don't back up out here on the Champions Tour. That's what I found out. I found that playing on the Regular Tour, you can see guys coming down the stretch back up a little bit. They don't back up out here.
They almost ran me off the TOUR. I never forget, the Woodlands was my first tournament in Houston and we, I played many TOUR events there. I shot 4 or 5 under and I lost by 15 strokes. Freddie shot 20 under par and I thought, oh no, I'm going to have to go back to the Regular Tour. And I just kind of, it's just a learning process for me, trying to learn the golf courses and knowing that you got to shoot, you got to keep your foot on the gas pedal and you got to keep making birdies, because it's definitely, it's a great, they're great events, great fields, and the guys, it's shocking, to tell you the truth. It actually put me in shock as to how well the guys play on the Champions Tour.
Q. Last year at this event on Sunday you shot that 62. It was pretty incredible round. What do you remember most about that and do you think about that round often?
KENNY PERRY: Not really. No. I didn't think much of it until they came and asked for my glove, my hat, the ball, some stuff to put into ... I don't know where it went. In went in the Golf Hall of Fame or somewhere as the lowest round recorded.
But that was just another magical day for me. It was similar to this kind of round, but I putted great that day. I remember that. Same putter that I'm using today is the same putter I used then. And I just remember making a lot of 20, 25 footers which is something I don't normally do. It was just one of those freak, magical rounds. I just put it together, put it in the fairway and I started making putts.
Q. You mentioned your friendship with Russ and being so comfortable with him, compare your two personalities a little bit.
KENNY PERRY: Russ is the kind of guy that when you go out to dinner with him you don't ever say a word. He talks the whole time. He's like a woman.
I mean, it's just incredible how ... he's got more stories, he's hilarious, he's so fun to be around, and I'm always the guy listening. I'm a listener and I just kind of sit back and I'm a watcher. And that really puts me at ease. Because he controls everything when we're out. It's hilarious, it is ... we have a great time.
Our relationship is really a good relationship. We're totally opposites, I would say. He's pretty high strung, kind of the life of the party, where I'm the guy who likes to just kind of be by, I'm more a, I don't know, by myself kind of guy. I kind of like doing my own deal and just going on and so, yeah, we're total opposites.
KELLY ELBIN: Kenny Perry, tied for the lead midway through the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. Thank you.
KENNY PERRY: Thank you.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports....