The fountain of youth

February 02, 2009

There was an odd balance to the winners of Sunday's golf tournaments, a 19-year-old winning in Dubai, a 48-year-old winning in Phoenix, their average age 33.5, or what Tiger Woods will be in a few months. Prime time.

The more celebrated victory belonged to Rory McIlroy at the the Dubai Desert Classic, but no less impressive was Kenny Perry's victory in the FBR Open, the latter a timely reminder that even as we look to Anthony Kim, Camilo Villegas and now McIlroy to take over the game (or at least the parts of it that Tiger is willing to relinquish), there's still room for a graybeard whose best golf has come in his 40s and still isn't necessarily behind him.

Perry has won 10 tournaments since turning 40, four in the last eight months alone. He's now ranked ninth in the world, moving ahead of Kim and Villegas, who are 10th and 11th, respectively.

One of professional golf's charms is that whatever concessions your body might make to age are offset by experience, at least through your 40s and assuming you retain a similar level of intensity to succeed.

McIlroy's victory over a stronger field was impressive, no doubt, but Perry's victory was one for the aged.

-- John Strege