More ‘magic’ for Perry at Memorial
By Doug Ferguson
DUBLIN, Ohio ó Kenny Perryís sole purpose on the PGA Tour this year is to go home to Kentucky for the Ryder Cup.
He took a big step Sunday by winning on a course that feels like home, closing with a 3-under 69 for a two-stroke victory at the Memorial.
iMagic always happens for me here,î said Perry, who joined Tiger Woods as the only three-time winners at the tournament Jack Nicklaus built.
This was more about good golf than any wizardry.
As his contenders were in full retreat on the back nine of Muirfield Village, Perry surged ahead with two clutch par saves, a 5-wood that set up an easy birdie and hardly any mistakes to win for the first time in three years.
It could not have come at a better time.
Perry squandered two good chances to win in the previous three weeks, closing with an 81 at The Players Championship and watching in utter shock as a fairway metal ricocheted off a tree and into the water to lose a playoff outside Atlanta.
And when he arrived at the Memorial, he heard Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger say that it would take nothing short of winning for a player to make the U.S. team at Valhalla. The message came through as clear as the blue skies over Muirfield Village.
iMy time is running out,î Perry said Sunday. iItís getting close to September. I said, íYou need to make it happen, and you need to make it happen fast.í And to be able to get the win here is huge.î
The 47-year-old Perry became the oldest winner of the Memorial, meaningful for many reasons. As he walked off the 18th green with one final par, he received a warm handshake from Nicklaus and hugs from his wife and three children. It was the first time in his two decades on tour that his entire family was at a tournament he won.
Perry finished at 8-under 280, the highest score to win the Memorial in 23 years. He earned $1.08 million, which translates to 1,080 points toward the Ryder Cup. Tour officials brought him a chart showing Perry at No. 5 in the standings.
iOh, sweet,î Perry said.
iYouíre going to get there,î Nicklaus reassured him.
Perry is so desperate to make the team that he wonít even bother qualifying for the U.S. Open. He does not like Torrey Pines, and figures he should devote his energy to tournaments where he has a better chance of earning points, such as Memphis next week and Hartford the week after the U.S. Open.