Kenny Perry: Did he or didn't he?

May 17, 2009

The issue as to whether Kenny Perry deliberately improved his lie by tapping down grass behind his ball on the first playoff hole at the FBR Open continues to receive scrutiny, more than three months after the fact. Perry defeated Charley Hoffman on the third extra hole.

Lawrence Donegan of the Guardian examines the issue at length on Sunday, his story headlined, "Golf gets its niblicks in a twist over Kenny Perry 'cheat' scandal."

A video from the CBS telecast shows that when Perry arrives at his ball it is barely visible in the thick grass. After grounding his club three times, the ball is clearly visible. The video can be seen here:

The PGA Tour reviewed the video and met with Perry at the Players Championship and has ruled that there was no infraction, despite Rule 13-2 in the Rules of Golf stating that, "A player must not improve or allow to be improved the position or lie of his ball ... by any of the following actions - pressing a club on the ground, moving, bending or breaking anything growing or fixed." Tour officials have not elaborated on the decision.

John Paramor, chief referee of the European PGA Tour, viewed the video and rendered his judgment: Not guilty.

"The fact is the player is allowed to put his club behind the ball, otherwise he would never be allowed to address his ball in any circumstance," Paramor told Donegan. "As soon as any player puts his club on the grass behind the ball, then the grass will be flattened. The issue is, is there excessive pressing down with the club? Looking at this, I don't think Kenny Perry did use excessive pressure when he put his club behind the ball. It does look bad, it does look like the lie was improved but, as long as there was no intent to do so, and I don't think there was, then it is not a penalty."

Some aren't buying it. John Huggan, in Scotland on Sunday, writes, regarding Perry: "Collectively, the PGA Tour brass are past masters at making bad news go away, even when the evidence to the contrary is seemingly incontrovertible."

-- John Strege