LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kenny Perry is coming home. And he feels home will be the best place to say good-bye to his days on the PGA tour.
The Franklin, Ky. resident was the surprise fourth playing in a group at Valhalla Tuesday that included a couple of Golf Channel anchors and PGA President Ted Bishop. The same Ted Bishop who extended an invitation to Perry to play in this year's final major, the PGA Championship at Valhalla August 4th to August 10th.
"It's a gift I can't repay," said Perry. "A perfect scenario for me to end my career on the PGA Tour. A great way to end it, to come back to Valhalla where it all kind of started for me, to shake a lot of hands and thank a lot of people. I can't thank Ted Bishop enough. It'll spring a lot of emotions for me."
Perry was a 35-year-old three-time PGA tour winner when he lost a playoff to Mark Brooks in the initial PGA Championship at Valhalla in August of 1996. He said it took him about three years to get over that loss, but a stirring second act was still to come for the former Western Kentucky golfer. Perry won 11 more times on tour, including three wins each in 2003 and 2008.
And 2008 was also the year of his greatest triumph. Perry reveled in adoration from his home-state fans for a week as a key part of the United States Ryder Cup triumph at Valhalla in September of that year.
"I've had the highs and lows here at Valhalla," said Perry. "I've got way too many memories here. This place is probably number one in my heart. I treasure this place. It's a phenomenal golf course."
And according to Perry it will be the sight of his final competition on the PGA Tour. He still has exemptions that could have him playing with the under-50's for another couple more years, and while he still feels like he can compete with the younger guys many weeks, his next few years will be spent on the Champions Tour before heading into his golfing sunset for more time with his grandchildren.
Perry said his success on the Champions Tour (six more wins including three major titles) came after he fully committed to the tour rather than trying to straddle both tours.
But first, he'll have one more shot at glory at the place he loves in the tournament he cherishes.
"The PGA has always been the tournament I've wanted to get my hands on more than any of them," Perry, who turns 54 on Sunday of tournament week said. "Wouldn't that be a Cinderella story?"