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The Loop

Medal of Honor winner consoled Watson in '09

June 01, 2011

In the wake of Tom Watson's remarkable bid for a sixth Claret Jug at Turnberry in 2009, he received an email from an Army Ranger he had once met.

"There was one message from a young man by the name of Petry, Leroy Petry, who is up for the congressional Medal of Honor," Watson said, "and who saved a bunch of lives by taking a pretty direct hit from a grenade he was trying to throw, and it went off right by his hand. That's perspective."

The Army News Service reported this morning that on July 12 President Obama will award Petry the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government.

Petry will receive the decoration "for conspicuous gallantry...for his courageous actions during combat operations against an armed enemy in Paktya, Afghanistan, May 26, 2008," the Army News Service reported.

Petry lost his right hand after retrieving a live enemy grenade that landed a few feet from his fellow Rangers and throwing it back at the enemy. "As Petry released the grenade in the direction of the enemy, preventing the serious injury or death of [Daniel] Higgins and [Lucas] Robinson, it detonated and catastrophically amputated his right hand," the Army News Service wrote.

"These people I met at Walter Reed Hospital, Bethesda Hospital and all over Iraq...many of them have contacted me and said 'Congratulations. Oh, by the way, when you're in a neckhigh bunker and you have a four-footer, just remember, it's just a game,'" Watson said after his Turnberry loss.

Just a game, indeed.

-- John Strege