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Kenny Perry chasing historic win

May 22, 2014

Kenny Perry is a favorite any time he tees it up on the Champions Tour.

But especially this week in the 75th Senior PGA Championship presented by KicthenAid.

Perry is fresh off a win at the Regions Tradition on Sunday -- his third consecutive victory in a major on the Champions Tour, which put him alongside Gary Player as the only two players to accomplish that feat.

After a tie for second in the 2013 Senior PGA Championship at Bellerive, Perry went on to win the Constellation Senior Players Championship, U.S. Senior Open Championship and last week's Regions Tradition. He did not play in the Senior British Open.

If Perry can win on Sunday here at Harbor Shores, a course where he fired a record score of 9-under 62 in the final round of the 2012 Senior PGA to finish ninth, it will be history.

"Call it the KP Slam or whatever you want to call it, instead of the Tiger slam ... it would be something people would remember me for," Perry, a 14-time winner on the PGA Tour, said on Wednesday. "I don't know why I figured it out here in my 50s, but I started playing better in the bigger events. I don't know if I changed anything, I don't know why, but it just seems it's my time and just things are falling my way, for whatever reason. I don't know why."

Another perk to winning his fourth consecutive major would be an automatic berth in the PGA Championship this August. Perry has already played in the PGA Championship 20 times, but the thought of a 21st in a few months gets him excited.

Why? Well, that's easy. The tournament is being played in his home state of Kentucky at Valhalla, a course where Perry has experienced the highest of highs (he was a member of the 2008 U.S. Ryder Cup team that won there) and the lowest of lows (Perry lost a playoff to Mark Brooks in the 1996 PGA Championship at Valhalla).

"I told everybody, this is my one spotter this week because I've got a lot of history at Valhalla in my home state of Kentucky, back in Louisville," said Perry, who also tied for 30th in the 2000 PGA Championship at Valhalla and tied for 22nd in the 2011 Senior PGA Championship there. "To me, if I can get back there, it would be a great way to say bye to everybody. It's kind of my way to retire. I've given 30 years of my life to the PGA Tour and it would be a great way to kind of end my chapter on the PGA Tour out there."

A win at Harbor Shores is the goal to get to Valhalla, but Perry wasn't ashamed to admit that should he fall short of that goal, he wouldn't hesitate to bug PGA President Ted Bishop for an exemption.

"I've become the mayor a little bit," Perry joked. "I politicked pretty hard for it. I really have. I talked to a lot of people. I had them send letters to Ted. I really have. I really, I want to get back there pretty bad. I've only had one sponsor's exemption in my whole 30-year career on the PGA Tour and it came from Colonial in Fort Worth. I've been able to win that tournament twice. And what that meant to me was the whole world. It really opened up a lot of doors to me to get back there."

Perry's love of the PGA of America is clear too.

"I always come in here ... maybe I try too hard in this event," he said. "This is one event that I've always wanted to win, I always ranked it No. 1, if I could have won on the PGA Tour, or now on the Senior Tour of majors to win, this would be No. 1 to try to win."

Raised in the farming town of Franklin, Ky., Perry built his own municipal course to give back to the community. In 20 years of running the course, Perry says he has yet to write himself a check, but that doesn't matter to him. He's more interested in growing the game -- so much so that he doesn't charge kids to play.

"The PGA of America, me being a golf course owner, I understand the men and women who run the PGA of America," he said. "They're the back bone of golf. They promote our golf and I've always been a part of that. I've always seen that as very important in my life.

"That's why I built the little muni in Franklin, Kentucky and just wanted to try to give back to the kids and of my area. I let them come play, practice, hit all the balls they want to hit for free. So just trying to give back to the kids and just give them an opportunity to learn the sport that I love and just let them get out and enjoy it and, hopefully, one day we'll have somebody from our area be successful out here on the PGA Tour."




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