Kenny Perry is the PGA Tour’s version of vintage wine — the longer his career lasts, the better he seems to perform.A week ago, Perry won the Travelers Championship in
Nobody knows this man better than his wife of nearly 27 years,
In September, Kenny Perry played an integral role in the
“It was such an exciting time for us. We had 70 people at the Ryder Cup, and everybody in
“We were sequestered every night in the team room at the hotel. One night, Phil Mickelson was telling me how much he enjoyed the people of
Roll the clock up a few months to a sunny Sunday at Augusta (
“I felt good about the day,” Sandy Perry said. “I got ahead of myself after the 16th hole. I ran to the restroom on 17, and when I got to the green there was a small opening, and I could see Kenny’s ball was not on the green. When he chipped it off the green, my heart sank.
“Honestly, our kids took that loss tougher than anyone. That night we got back to the house we were renting, and Kenny was playing cards with some friends. I told him that he had upset kids in the basement and they needed their dad. He went down and had a private moment with them.
“It was tough, and it took him a few weeks to get over the Masters. He needed time alone, and I respected that. He didn’t need me to baby him or feel sorry for him.
“The outpouring of letters and e-mails that he received is what got him through it. The example he set; the sportsmanship he showed. … I think he influenced more people in defeat than victory. Time helped. Faith helped.”
Faith has been a cornerstone of Sandy Perry’s life. A graduate of
of many young people through her husband’s success on the golf course. This story probably is the legacy that Sandy and Kenny Perry would choose to define their lives.
Kenny Perry was getting ready to make his fifth and final attempt at
“The deal was Kenny would not have to pay back the money if he didn’t make it. If he did, he paid Ronnie back the $5,000. And Ronnie also asked him to give part of his winnings to help other people,” Sandy Perry said.
Kenny was successful in his bid for a tour spot. He actively started playing professionally in 1987. Since then, the Perrys have donated 5 percent of his winnings ($1.5 million) to a trust fund at
“Each year we write a check,”
“We have helped 19 kids. It is a four-year scholarship, and our goal is to make Lipscomb as affordable as a state university.”
The Perrys met in kindergarten. One of
“That’s when I broke up with him,”
They stayed in touch with an occasional letter, and Kenny eventually moved back to
“He shows up in this red Z28 Camaro, and I see this good looking, tall guy standing in a doorway and I said ‘Is that Kenny Perry?’” Sandy Perry said.
The two started dating and never broke up this time.
Over the years,
They became great friends while their dad was gone.
“I have tremendous respect for single parents,” Sandy Perry said. “Back then, Kenny played 30 tournaments a year. The good thing was, when he was home, he didn’t have to go to work. It was either feast or famine.
“I never wanted him to be the bad guy, so I took care of the discipline. When dad came home, it was a happy house. Raising kids is the hardest job you will ever love.”
Sandy Perry is one of four vice presidents of the PGA Tour Wives Association and is in charge of membership, which means orientations for rookie wives.
The association raises money through various events each year that will help children and their families
“Tour wives are not about the next luncheon or spa,” she said. “This is really rewarding. It is our chance, as wives, to give back through golf.”
She now is traveling full-time with her husband and exists in a world where most are the age of her children.
“That’s been fun, and I love being around younger people,” Sandy Perry said. “I am great friends with Amy Mickelson, and I am praying for her. Sara Holmes calls me her substitute mom.
“Most of all, I love my own adult kids; they are my favorite people.
“Kenny has had just two weeks off all year. He is going take this week off, and we are spending it at the family lake house in
And it certainly will be even more enjoyable after Kenny’s win last week at The Travelers.
“Don’t get me wrong; we look forward to playing the Champions Tour. But I am not ready to hang out with those older people just yet,”
It doesn’t look like her husband is either.
Ted Bishop is director of golf for The Legends of Indiana Golf Course in
Photo Caption: Kenny Perry is the PGA Tour’s version of vintage wine — the longer his career lasts, the better he seems to perform.
A week ago, Perry won the Travelers Championship in