Kenny Perry Is Like a Fine Wine
By Stephanie Wei under General

Some players don’t peak until later in life and it appears that’s the case with Kenny Perry. On Sunday, he clinched the Travelers Championship for his 14th career victory and his 11th after turning 40. (Hooray!) He fired scores of 61-68-66-63 for a total of 258, 22-under-par, setting a tournament record.

Now many people are asking, can he reach 20 wins? With the way he’s been playing, I’d say it’s a good possibility. He’s almost 49 – which would make him eligible for the Champions Tour in a little over a year. But I don’t see him making the transition anytime soon. He can obviously still keep up with the “big boys.” Then again, we’re talking about golf here and things can change any minute. Plus, “age” can just creep up on you when it’s least expected.

But like I said, KP seems to only be playing better with age – like a fine wine, if you will. He was the unsung hero at the Ryder Cup last year, not to mention he won three times in ‘08 and with the victory last week, he has two wins under his belt in ‘09. I’d say another one is very feasible this season.

He’s already surpassed many expectations. How can you not root for the guy? Well, actually, I was on the phone with my friend earlier and I mentioned writing a post on KP. His immediate response was, “He’s fat, boring and old. He should quit. There’s not a name in golf that I’m less interested in – okay, that might not be true, but I find him frustratingly boring.” He was overstating his opinion (for the sake of being funny and he has this thing where he can only root for Tiger, I call it an unhealthy obsession). I can see how some would agree with him though. However, I feel just the opposite. Fine, he might be a tad rotund, but that’s besides the point – look, the guy can still stripe the ball. Whenever I see KP, I feel compelled to give him a big hug (via the TV). In my mind, he is one of the most genuine, nicest and gracious players on Tour – most of all, he’s a gentleman.

KP has had to put up with a lot this season – the heartbreaking choke loss at the Masters, cheating accusations and health problems plaguing his family. But somehow, he’s managed to keep plugging away. It also appears he’s gotten past “the Augusta hangover” (as he called it). Can you imagine? To be thisclose to the Green Jacket and the oldest champion in tournament history, and in so many words, blow it in the final few holes? Ouch. Then to deal with answering those annoying but must-ask questions from the press? And to get past it mentally? Double ouch. He’s certainly handled it like a true professional.

If he can put all that behind him, which it seems like he has, then I don’t think reaching 20 career wins on Tour is out of the question. Perhaps one of those will even be a major championship (that might be pushing it). Who knows? As they say, only time will tell.

[Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images]