LOUISVILLE — Kenny Perry heard roaring applause all day long Thursday in the first round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville.
Perry, playing in what will likely be his final PGA Tour major, fired a 1-over 72, which he predicted might be right around Friday’s cut or a little bit on the outside looking in.
I caught up with Perry twice after his round – once for his comments to PGA.com and once one-on-one. Here are his thoughts:
Applause on each hole: “It’s a lot of love. It’s 30 years. It means I’m old. It means I’ve fought hard for a long time, and Kentucky has been good to me. I’ve had a lot of history here, and they know that. It was great to get out there and fight and try to make something happen, which I didn’t do, but I enjoyed it. I enjoyed all the applause on every hole. I’m sure (playing partners) Henrik (Stenson) and Ryan (Moore) got tired of listening to that on every hole, but I enjoyed it. This is probably my last one. It’s a good way to enjoy it.”
Strange shots off drains and cable wires: “Man, it was kind of weird, what happened. That shot on 7 (ball of drain), I’ve never seen anything like that before. But anyway, I’ve got to shoot under par tomorrow. I didn’t look at the scores, but probably even par will be the cut, I’m guessing. I’m at 1 over, so it’s possible. It’s doable, but I’ve got to play perfect golf.”
Course in general: “I can’t really hold the greens like I used to. I can’t spin the ball like I used to, so I’ve got to rely on my chipping, and that’s not my strength. My strength is driving, and now I’m way back. It’s a big man’s golf course, that’s all it is.”
Playing at Valhalla: “I’m excited to be here with the opportunity to play and to represent the old guys, represent Kentucky. It’s a good way to say goodbye.”