Questions For Kenny Perry

After losing the ugly shirts, "jacket guy" Kenny Perry outlasted Vijay Singh at Bay Hill and then talked to SI
March 28, 2005

Q: You played 30 holes last Saturday and 25 on Sunday because of the rain delays. Was it more of a physical or mental drain?

KP: It was physical for me. I'm 44 and definitely not a spring chicken anymore.

Q: Why are you playing your best golf in your 40s?

KP: I don't have any stress. I used to have mortgages and bills and kids who wanted me to come home. Now I have two kids in college and one who's a junior in high school, and they're doing great. We're all happy. The biggest difference in my play is that I'm having fun out here.

Q: Is this your first win while not wearing a hideous Tabasco shirt?

KP: Yes. When I signed my new contract with TaylorMade and Adidas, they wanted me to wear their shirts.

Q: Did your wife burn the Tabasco shirts?

KP: No [laughing], we gave them away.

Q: Vijay is back to No. 1 in the World Ranking. Do you really think he's better than Tiger Woods?

KP: Vijay has played better over the last two years. They're both fun to watch. They teach you that it's not about second place, it's about winning.

Q: Is it satisfying to beat the No. 1 player in the world?

KP: Vijay is a friend. I simply like competing against the best. My dad instilled a competitiveness in me. I like winning--in cards, dice, whatever. I beat my kids bad and laugh at them. My dad used to do that to me. He would kill me, and I would throw the cards across the room. He'd beat me in golf so bad and laugh. I would almost be crying, I'd be so mad at him. Maybe that made me mentally tough.

Q: You've won at Jack Nicklaus's tournament (Memorial), at a place where Ben Hogan ruled (Colonial) and now at Arnold Palmer's club. Can you top that trifecta?

KP: A green jacket would be nice. All of those tournaments give away jackets. I'm a jacket guy.

Q: How do you feel about the Players Championship?

KP: I tied for third there last year with my son, Justin, caddying for me. It was neat to play hard for him.

Q: How much did you pay him?

KP: Ten percent. He made $58,000. That's good for an 18-year-old.

Q: What are your plans for this year's Players Championship?

KP: I'm going to get some sleep, then drive up there.

Q: Are you going to drive one of your muscle cars?

KP: No. I'll take my Hummer. --Gary Van Sickle and ASAP Sports

Q: WHAT'S IT LIKE TO END A 20-MONTH VICTORY DROUGHT?

KP: IN '03, I THOUGHT, THIS MIGHT BE THE HIGHLIGHT OF MY CAREER. TO WIN NOW, IT PUMPS ME UP AND MAKES ME THINK I CAN DO THAT AGAIN.

KEY STAT

1ST

Kenny Perry's rank in total driving (distance plus accuracy) at Bay Hill.

COLOR PHOTODAVID WALBERG (PERRY)