LOUISVILLE, KY – AUGUST 09: Kenny Perry of the United States smiles on the ninth hole during the third round of the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on August 9, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
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He turned professional in 1982, and has literally seen and done it all on the PGA Tour. In his thirty plus years as a pro, Kenny Perry has a great perspective on what it takes to make it on the Tour, how he stacks up against his competition, and where the sport is heading.
In 2010, he joined the Champions Tour and found success quickly, with seven wins in four years. These days, Perry is playing both on the PGA and Champions tour, and has seen his career rejuvenated.
Perry recently partnered with Tempur-Pedic, and is part of the Tempur-Pedic Golf Sweepstakes that will give a VIP vacation for four at the PGA TOUR’s OHL Classic at Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, he caught up with FOX Sports Live between events.
FOX Sports Live: Given your experience, year in, and year out, what in your opinion is the key to surviving life on the Tour?
Kenny Perry: What it is, is that you’ve got to take care of yourself. There’s many things you can do, and rest is one of them. It’s taking the time to take care of your self and allowing for recovery. Here I am at 54, and I feel that I’ve played my best from 48 to 54.
FSL: So at 54, at what point did you notice age affecting your play?
KP: The main thing I noticed in my body was a decrease in flexibility. I learned what you have to pay attention to in yourself. I looked a guy like Hale Irwin. He was such a great player, and he seemed to get better, even with age.
By taking care of myself, my quality of life is better. Keeping your body in motion keeps you young. In a round of golf, in addition to the swings (and torque), you’re walking six miles a day. You have to be prepared for that, and prepared to recover.
FSL: With Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, are we seeing their window close as dominant players on the Tour?
KP: I think they’re in the prime, actually. As I mentioned, I played my best golf at 48 and 49. And I think they’ll do the same. For them, it’ll be about motivation. Phil has the kids and the family, and for Tiger, he’s just got to get healthy again.
FSL: Now with the next generation of premier players on the Tour, how are they different from the stars of your era?
KP: When I was a young guy, there was actually more comradery. It’s the business and amount of money at stake. When it became a six million dollar purse–up from the one million of years agoâit became serious.
FSL: Looking at the bigger picture, what can golf do to grow the sport?
KP: You need to make it easier. Make it faster and quicker. Something like making the hole 12.5 inches, not 4.5 would work. Make if more fun!