Augusta National Golf Club on Easter Sunday 2009 witnesses a great big occasion. No, not the event itself which is the final round of The U.S. Masters – one of four major championships in men’s professional golf – but more importantly, the sportsmanship, humility and great attitude shown by Kenny Perry – we are all can learn from him.
Who Is Kenny Perry?
James Kenneth Perry is a professional golfer from Kentucky, USA. He became professional at the age of 22. At first, he struggled to qualify for PGA tour: failed his first 2 attempts and does not even have money to continue. He had to beg around find a local sponsor and church at his locality and finally able to borrow even just $5,000 to continue his golf career. Only after 5 years later finally he received substantial prize money that he used to pay off the loan. He got his first win 4 years later at 31.
Before this week, I would doubt a lot of people outside golf world would ever heard his name until the final round of The Masters 2009.
What happened at The Masters ?
Final day of The Masters, Kenny shared the lead with fellow American, Chad Campbell of 11 under par to play final 18 holes. He was almost 49 years old and he will become the oldest major winner in history should he win.
A few hour earlier before his tee off, Tiger Wood and Phil Mickelson leads the player to fight for the title. But with consistency and spectacular calm he maintain the lead with 3 birdies and 11 straight par and even had not make any bogey for the last 22 holes he played.
Unfortunately, on hole 17 his chip into the green run too far and make a bogey – the first for the day. He was still on the lead and just need a par on the last hole to grab the green jacket, the symbol of the winner. But he make another bogey after too long bunker shot. This situation create a 3 (three) way tie between him, Chad Campbell and Angel Cabrera. The playoff ran for 2 holes and we know that Angel Cabrera won the green jacket.
What we learn from Perry?
Yes, Perry did not win the tournament, but he is the true champion that we need to learn from:
- Perry showed that age is not everything. At almost 49 years old he can still compete at the highest level of golf where all the best of the best fight for excellence.
- He took full responsibility of his own failure, learn from it and move on
“That putt on 18, I’ve seen Tiger make it, I’ve seen so many people make it,” he said. “I knew exactly what it was and that was probably the most disappointing putt of the day because I hit it too easy.”You’ve got to give that putt a run. I mean, how many chances do you have to win the Masters?”"You know what, I might not get this opportunity again but I had a lot of fun being in there. I just didn’t get it done today.”
“I’m not going to hang my head for this,” he said. “I fought hard. I was nervous, but I’m proud of the way I hung in there.
“I’m looking forward to [the US Open at] Bethpage Black, to the British Open, to the PGA. I know I can do it now, because it was fun.”
- Although he is not winning, he is still full of gratitude.
“I was proud of how I played, I really was. I played great and I just kept chugging along.”
“I may never get this opportunity ever again, but I had a lot of fun being in there.”
“I got my mom struggling with cancer, my dad’s struggling [with heart problem], I got a lot of people hurting right now, and here I am playing golf for a living and having the time of my life.”
- He has shown a great sportsmanship and nobody has ever shown at this high level.
Have seen any player so genuinely congratulating his opponent? Yes, Perry did. Not only his hand clapping but he even high-fiving Angel Cabrera to congratulate him… Such a great sportsmanship and humility !
- He live beyond himself. Since he has to borrow that $5,000 and pay it off, he has donated more than $1.4 million to Lipscomb University, a Christian school in Nashville to give scholarship and sponsorship the way he received it before…. The nut has never forgotten its skin…“That’s a pretty neat deal there, to see how that’s grown and how people have benefited from that,” Perry said. “It’s been pretty special to me.”
With this great attitude, I am very sure that we will see Perry still making a news in the short future and I am looking forward to write about him again….
And oh, Perry’s driver is the new TaylorMade’s R9. He has lost around 8 meters in distance in exchange to more consistency and straightness which he is happy to do.
Hope this has been a great story to motivate all of us…
Source: Wikipedia, Various published interviews.