WKU Golf Alum Kenny Perry
When the 2008 Ryder Cup came to Perry's home state of Kentucky, the WKU alum was a key part of the USA victory at Valhalla. For a complete recap, visit the official site of the 2008 Ryder Cup.
An October 14, 1981 press release from Western Kentucky University's athletic media relations office was a clear indicator of what the future would hold for Perry:
Western Kentucky Golfer Perry On Target for A Pro Career
Bowling Green, Ky. - Like a lot of good college athletes, golfer Kenny Perry hopes to play pro. Unlike many, however, the Western Kentucky senior has already proven his ability.
"There's no doubt," claims Jim Richards, Perry's coach at Western. "He definitely has the potential."
Richards pointed out, for example, that Perry beat all the competition --- including 30 pros at last summer's televised Cobb Invitational in Paducah.
"Look at his swing, trajectory and distance," said Richards.
"Look at his consistent low scores, perserverance, guts, willingness to practice. He has all the characteristics necessary to play as a pro."
But Perry, a Franklin native who attended Lone Oak High in Paducah, plans to take it one step at a time. His immediate goal is to win a collegiate tournament, and earn a spot in the spring NCAA Tournament.
"Last year I was fourth on the Southeast selection committee's list, but they only took the top three," recalled Perry. "That gives me a stronger desire to strive to make the NCAAs this year."
Perry could also go to the NCAAs if Western earns a spot as a team --- a possiblity that looks brighter all the time. The business major leads a contingent that won tournaments at Murray St., Appalachian St. (N.C.) and Indiana St. this fall. In their autum finale, the Hilltoppers took second in a strong field at Memphis St.
But for Perry, compiling a 37-1 record is not the only reason for competing.
"I'm playing against the future pros," said the 1978 Kentucky State champion. "Each time I compete I'm better prepared for what I'll go up against in the pros."
Coach Richards says Perry has the strong positive attitude necessary to play pro. Perry agrees.
"One bad hole, and lot of golfers throw their clubs," said Perry. "I've learned to accept what happens, and look toward the remaining holes. The good and the bad even out, but if you think bad things, you'll shoot big numbers."
Perry continues to shoot small numbers, leading the Hilltoppers at the end of the fall season with a 74.1 average despite playing several rounds while injured. Before the injury, he was shooting a sizzling 71.3.
The senior will continue to play amateur golf in the coming year --- on the team this spring and on his own until he graduates next fall. Then he'll set his sights on the Florida mini-tour.
"It's the last stop before joining the big tour, to see if you're ready for it," said Perry. "You pay $1,700 to play in five tournaments. If I don't do well, I will fall back on my business major."
But Perry, his coach and the pros who have seen him play are confident he will make it. And, his career at Western bears them out.