Perry on damaged driver: 'No, not my baby'
For Kenny Perry, breaking his driver might be compared to tying one arm behind his back. Among senior golfers, Perry is one of the premier drivers of the golf ball in the world.
“I’ve been killing the short par 4s and all the par 5s this year,” Perry said. “It’s my driver. It’s my secret weapon. And I’ve used the same driver all year.”
Say goodbye to that exact same driver. The driver shaft was broken during cross-country air travel. Here’s the story direct from the Boeing Classic at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge in Snoqualmie, Wash., as told by Adams tour rep Scott Kraul:
“Kenny came to the Champions Tour truck Tuesday. He brought his driver and his 5-iron to be regripped. When I grabbed the driver head, it was wobbling. The shaft was damaged during the flight and was starting to splinter.
“So I went to Kenny. He was joking and having fun. I said, ‘You’re not gonna like this.’
“He knew immediately it was his driver. ‘No, not my baby,’ " he said. “He just about turned white. He travels with a backup, but nobody wants to lose their No. 1 club, particularly one that has won two majors.”
Perry, leading the Champions Tour money list and the Charles Schwab Cup points list, won back-to-back majors at the Senior Players Championship and U.S. Senior Open.
There are two kinds of long hitters. One is exemplified by John Daly’s grip-it-and-rip-it style. He goes after every drive with ferocity. Perry is an illustration of the other type of long hitter. He picks his spots. He is just as concerned with accuracy as he is distance. However, when he feels he can exploit a particular hole, he shifts his driver swing into overdrive.
The 13th hole at this year’s U.S. Senior Open, played at Omaha (Neb.) Country Club, measured 306 yards in the third round. Perry, who hits a draw on virtually every full shot, lined up 30 yards right of the fairway on his tee shot. He appeared to be aiming entirely off the property.
No matter. He hit a big slinging hook with an extremely high trajectory. The ball landed 2 feet from the hole – a 304-yard carry – and bounced over the green.
When he fixed his ball mark, many fans thought it was the result of his second shot. Think again, because he was in attack mode on this one.
Perry ranks third on the Champions Tour in driving distance (288.9-yard average), behind John Huston and Fred Couples. But length is not really his objective. Winning is his goal, and he has posted nine top-10 finishes this year in 13 events.
The shaft in Perry’s driver was a UST Mamiya Proforce VTS Silver 6X, weighing about 68 grams. It was broken directly at the end of the hosel.
Perry is an Adams Golf staff player, and his driver head was an Adams Speedline Super LS 10.5 model (actual loft was 12.0 degrees). Although the head was undamaged, the tip end of the shaft still needed to be removed from the hosel. Performing this surgery was Adams club technician Mike Bertha.
An identical shaft was epoxied into the head, but Perry was quick to point out that duplicating the feel of any favorite club is not a simple task. He sounded like a man in mourning, and he opened the tournament Friday with a 2-under 70, four strokes behind leader Bart Bryant.
More Perry driver specs: The UST Mamiya shaft was tipped 1 inch for added stiffness and stability, and the finished length of the driver was 46 inches. Few touring pros use drivers this long, with most in the 44.5- to 45-inch range.
“I can handle it,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, this is the best 46-inch driver in the world.”
Consumer length of the Super LS driver is 45 inches.
When you’re Kenny Perry, you can do just about anything you like, it seems. “It’s been a magic year,” he said at the U.S. Senior Open, looking like a man who could pull a rabbit out of his hat if he really wanted to do so.