Perry Feeling the Love After Masters Letdown

22 04 2009

Every so often our friends in the media get a chance to catch up with one of our favorite players. That was the case this week when Kenny Perry held court with the scribes and microphone holders in advance of this week’s Zurich Classic in New Orleans, where he’s teeing it up for the first time since the Masters.

Theme for this blog: Nice guys finish first – even when they finish second.

Kenny – who defends his John Deere Classic title July 6-12 at TPC Deere Run – said he has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of sympathetic cards, letters, and emails from all over the world in the aftermath of his coming up short on Easter Sunday at Augusta.

Greg Norman and Scott Hoch, both of whom have experienced their share of heartbreak at the Masters, called Kenny with words of encouragement. Phil Mickelson called, too, and former President George W. Bush sent a note. Communications from fans came from as far away as New Zealand, Australia, Europe, and Canada.

“I received almost over 600 emails,” Kenny said. “I received hundreds of cards and letters. People who genuinely cared. And the letters all started out, ‘I’ve never written a letter like this, but I just felt compelled to write to you.’ A lot of them started that way. I had letters, where ‘I’m sitting here with my 7 and 10-year-old son, and you taught my kids a lot about sportsmanship.’ Just neat.”

Later, asked about his most emotional moments when alone with his thoughts, he said, “You know, the [emotional] moments I had were the cards I was reading, the letters I was reading that would just bring tears to my eyes. You know, that was more emotional to me than me just sitting and reflecting on what went on, what was happening. It was the outpouring of love and support from everybody that was really more emotional to me than anything.”

Kenny may have lost to Angel Cabrera in a sudden death playoff at Augusta but he clearly is No. 1 in the hearts of many golf fans all over the world.

Meanwhile, Kenny continued to draw parallels between his Masters travails and last year’s John Deere Classic, which went to a three-man playoff after he bogeyed the 18th hole, the result of a poor chip.

“The John Deere was very similar,” Kenny said. “I skulled on 15 my chip shot, and I skulled one on 18 coming in, and then I win the playoff. I thought after I skulled that chip on 17 at Augusta and got that three-way playoff like John Deere, it was like you know what, I’m going to win this playoff because it’s already happened. That was kind of funny how I was thinking about that deal. But, yeah, it’s going to be great. I look forward to try to get in there and defend. I love the John Deere. I love that golf course. It sets up good to my game. So I look forward to getting in there and being successful.”

By the way, we’re looking forward to seeing the No. 5-ranked player in the world and the No. 1 Nice Guy on Tour at TPC Deere Run on June 9 when he’ll join us for media day.

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