2004: As Ryder Cup draws nigh, Perry searches for old swing

Akron, Ohio

Kenny Perry’s homespun swing never will be mistaken for the one Ben Hogan once exhibited, but it is a swing that has served him well most of his 17-year career. Until now, anyway.

Perry, a few weeks before his first Ryder Cup appearance, has struggled with his mechanics and his confidence – to the point that he withdrew from the Buick Championship in Hartford, Conn., Aug. 23 and was contemplating seeing an instructor to help him get his game on track.

“I’ve lost my golf swing, it held together for 21⁄2 years,” said Perry, who in 2003 won three times, earned $4.4 million and had his highest finish (sixth) in Tour earnings. “I’ve gotten long, I’m across the line and now I’ve got to time everything out. I used to have the club short and dead on the target line, and it popped right back in the slot every time. I’ve fought it ever since the Masters this year.”

It had been so long since Perry sought the help of an instructor he wasn’t even sure who he’d visit between the NEC and his next start, which is expected to be the Canadian Open Sept. 9-12. According to his agent, David Parker, Perry spoke with another Links Sports agent, former player Dennis Harrington, and made an adjustment with his hip rotation that helped spark him to rounds of 69-66 on the weekend at Firestone, where he tied for 27th.

Perry missed the cut at the U.S. Open (74-77), and in five starts since then has one top-10 finish. Perry, by his own admission, always has been a streaky player. He believes his current dilemma can be righted if he can get his swing back on path.

“It’s just a matter of somebody to communicate with me to get it right, just the one little thing to get me right back on track,” Perry said. “That’s all I need. I don’t need to change my golf swing. I just want to get back to where I was.”

Perry hasn’t spoken with U.S. captain Hal Sutton, but has heard comments by the captain that indicate he may not play some players until Sunday singles.

The Perry of 2003 might not have been comfortable with that approach; the Perry of 2004 understands.

“If we’re winning and doing well, I think he’s probably making the right call,” said Perry. “But it could also backfire on you as well. He’s the captain. Ultimately it’s his decision.”

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