KAPALUA, Hawaii -- Kenny Perry hasn't been inclined to travel abroad often during his long professional career, and the Kentucky native took considerable heat for skipping the British Open in 2008 during his drive to qualify for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, a move that paid off as he not only made the team but also contributed mightily to the U.S. upset of Europe at Valhalla GC in Louisville.
So it's no small consideration for the 14-time PGA Tour winner to venture outside the U.S., particularly this early in the season, but after this week's SBS Championship, Perry is heading home and then packing for the CommercialBank Qatar Masters, a European Tour event to be played Jan. 28-31.
"I've always wanted to visit the Middle East, and they're giving me decent money to go, so I'm going," said Perry, 49, whose international golf experience is limited to six Open Championships in the UK and the 2003 Presidents Cup in South Africa. "If I didn't play there I was going to be off all the way to the Match Play; I wasn't going to play anything anyway."
Perry showed up at Kapalua Resort for the SBS Championship with 13 family members and friends in tow and with a new deal with Transitions, which means he is adding the Transitions Championship at Innisbrook Resort near Tampa to his schedule, which revs up starting with the Accenture Match Play Championship. Perry intends to be out for five of the seven weeks leading into the Masters, where he lost to Angel Cabrera in a playoff last year.
But Perry, who turns 50 in August, cautioned that he will be cutting back his schedule a bit this year. Of course, he plans on going to St. Andrews for the British Open. A third trip abroad this year could come in October for the Ryder Cup in Wales.
"I'd love that, but I'm going to have to play well," Perry said. "You know, this used to be a two-year process. Now it's a one-year process. You just gotta get hot and string some tournaments together, like I did two years for Valhalla. You can actually blitz your way right on a team now."
-- *Dave Shedloski