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Perry perfect antidote for surly Woods at Masters

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Tiger Woods shot 72 Friday, trails the leaders by seven strokes, and doesn’t appear terribly enthused about the world.

Meanwhile, in other Masters news . . .

Does anyone else count? Absolutely. Kenny Perry shares the lead and is happier than the stud horses back in his old Kentucky home at breeding time. We’ll get to him in a minute.

The weekend has come at Augusta National, and Woods’ shadow is larger than any magnolia on the grounds. He has not been great. Sometimes, he has not even been good. You wonder if he’s truly ready for the ordeal of a major, though he’s fooled us before.

And his mood ain’t all that sweet, either. Let’s listen in on his news conference next to the No. 18 green Friday after the last bogey of a hard, windy round.

Tough day today, obviously?


Was the wind difficult?

“Yeah, you might say that.”

Frustrated with yourself?


How about the putting?

“I made a few more putts today but still didn’t make enough.”

(See how once he gets going you just can’t shut him up?)

Is seven strokes doable?


Is seven strokes even in your mind?

“As of right now, no.”

What about trying to rally on this golf course?

“You’ve got to play smart. Birdies can be had if you time the wind correctly and hit a good shot, but still, you’ve got to be smart about it.”

Not exactly a stand-up comedy routine, was it?

But he is close enough to have a realistic chance – should he turn into a fully functioning Tiger – which means everyone is looking for a charge, most especially CBS.

But if a guy in his prime with 14 majors doesn’t seem to be having that much fun, how about the 48-year-old atop the leaderboard who has no Grand Slam wins?

Perry is savoring the ride of his life the past nine months – first being a key component of the American Ryder Cup conquest before his friends and neighbors in Louisville, and now with a 68 and 67 at the Masters. He’s tied with Chad Campbell for the second-round lead.

Others talked of wind and trouble Friday at Augusta. Perry didn’t have a bogey. Not one.

“That was probably one of the greatest rounds I’ve ever played. I just didn’t have any nerves,” he said. “I missed only two shots today. How many times can you say you missed two shots?”

Plus, he is yin to Woods’ yang.

Woods was expected to contend here, same as always, no matter how many doctors he’s seen the past year. He missed the Ryder Cup while rehabilitating his knee.

Perry is still glowing from the Ryder Cup, but wasn’t on anyone’s short list of Masters favorites.

But look who was smiling Friday. The Kentuckian, whose Ryder Cup buzz might still be powerful enough to push him around Augusta.

“Everything is a bonus now, it really is,” Perry said. “I’m just going each and every day, enjoying life a little bit.

So far, it’s working this week at Augusta.

“I was so comfortable out there today,” he said. “I don’t know why. I don’t know how to explain it. I don’t know how I’ll feel (Saturday) or Sunday.”

From his words or expression, neither does Tiger Woods. All eyes will be on him. But maybe a few should be on Kenny Perry.

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