Perry learns lesson from talking himself out of a title

Tim Glover watched as Mark Brooks took the US PGA championship from under the nose of Kentucky's favourite
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Kenny Perry sat in a television commentary box, effectively reporting on his own demise as the 78th US PGA Championship reached its climax at Valhalla. Although he thought he would be involved in a play-off, Perry spent more than half an hour glued to a microphone, so when he was required to play again, he was ill-prepared.

The 36-year-old from Franklin, Kentucky, had a two-shot lead playing the 18th in the final round but bogeyed the par-five hole and had a long wait to see if anybody could match, or beat, his aggregate of 277, 11 under par. As Vijay Singh and Steve Elkington came up short, only Mark Brooks equalled it, rolling in a four-foot putt at the 18th for a birdie, a stroke that Perry was commenting on from a CBS television booth overlooking the green.

Because of the demands of television, the sudden death play-off was held almost immediately after Brooks had made his putt to get to 11 under. "I asked the officials if I had time to go and hit some balls and at first they said yes," Perry said. "I took off for the practice range and then they grabbed me and said: 'No you can't.' I thought I would have had time. I misjudged that. I probably stayed up in the tower too long watching them play the last few holes. Maybe I let my mind wander. I don't know. I was probably caught up in the moment. I learned a good lesson, I guess. It's a hard one."

Perry had said he had shot a "dream round" of 68, but with the hopes of 30,000 Kentuckians resting on his shoulders, the scenario quickly became a nightmare. The advantage was clearly with Brooks and Perry's cause was not helped when he discovered that he had to return to the 18th for the play-off. While Brooks had the measure of the 540-yard hole, Perry had bad memories of it.

Having taken a six there in the final round, missing an eight-foot putt that would have won him his first major, he made a complete hash of it in the play-off, becoming entangled in the bluegrass rough on the left of the fairway.

He reached the green in five strokes to Brooks's two and after the Texan recorded another birdie four, Perry picked up. Brooks had birdied the 18th four times out of five. Perry was left to reflect not only on his inability to hit the fairway on the last hole on Sunday but on his performance there in the second round. After being warned about slow play, he missed a three-foot putt.

Brooks, from Fort Worth, Texas, appeared to be the calmest man at Valhalla on Sunday evening. He became the third player to win his first major championship this season, following Steve Jones in the US Open and Tom Lehman in the Open. The last 16 majors have been won by 15 different players, with only Nick Price getting his name on two of the trophies.

"It was kind of a week of streaks for me," Brooks said. He had tied for 16th in the US Open, tied for fifth in the Open at Lytham and had two US Tour victories this season. "I'm a bit of a plodder." He plodded through the 11th,12th and 14th here with bogeys. "Kenny had got to 12 under and I was back to nine and it was looking bleak at that point," Brooks said. "Going to the 17th I told my caddie that we needed to finish 3-3." He finished 4-4 and that was enough to separate Perry from his microphone.

"This is going to be good for my career," Perry said. "I'd never been in that situation before. I'll be remembered for this." He will also be remembered for giving television viewers an insight on how to lose a major championship. He was hoist in his own back yard.

US PGA Leading final scores (US unless stated): 277 K Perry 66 72 71 68; M Brooks 68 70 69 70 (Brooks won at first extra hole). 278 S Elkington (Aus) 67 74 67 70; T Tolles 69 71 71 67. 279 J Leonard 71 66 72 70; J Parnevik (Swe) 73 67 69 70; V Singh (Fiji) 69 69 69 72. 280 N Price (Zim) 68 71 69 72; F Nobilo (NZ) 69 72 71 68; P-U Johansson (Swe) 73 72 66 69; L Mize 71 70 69 70; L Janzen 68 71 71 70; P Mickelson 67 67 74 72. 281 J Sindelar 73 72 69 67; T Lehman 71 71 69 70; M Brisky 71 69 69 72. 282 T Watson 69 71 73 69; B Faxon 72 68 73 69; J Furyk 70 70 73 69; D Edwards 69 71 72 70; G Norman (Aus) 68 72 69 73; R Cochran 68 72 65 77. 283 E Aubrey 69 74 72 68; M A Jimenez (Sp) 71 71 71 70. 284 S Stricker 73 72 72 67; F Funk 73 69 73 69; M O'Meara 71 70 74 69; C Pavin 71 74 70 69; C Strange 73 70 68 73. 285 P Azinger 70 75 71 69; P Burke 71 72 69 73; T Herron 71 73 68 73; J Haas 72 71 69 73. 286 I Woosnam (GB) 68 72 75 71; F Zoeller 76 67 72 71; M Calcavecchia 70 74 70 72; D Ogrin 75 70 68 73; R Mediate 71 72 67 76. 287 F Couples 68 74 71 74; D Duval 74 69 73 71; G Morgan 72 72 72 71; J Sluman 72 72 72 71; G Day 72 73 70 72. 288 J Cook 69 75 74 70; P Stankowski 70 75 71 72; P Blackmar 71 74 71 72; S McCarron 69 72 74 73; B Watts 70 71 71 76. 289 B Boyd 71 71 75 72; C Rocca (Italy) 72 72 73 72; J Gallagher Jnr 73 70 74 72; L Rinker 72 73 71 73; A Cejka (Ger) 71 74 72 72; J Adams 72 71 75 71; N Lancaster 71 72 73 73; T Nakajima (Japan) 73 72 69 75. 290 E Els (SA) 74 68 79 69; M Wiebe 73 72 75 70; S Hoch 72 72 74 72; D Forsman 76 69 71 74. 291 W Grady (Aus) 74 67 78 72; C Parry (Aus) 72 73 75 71; N Faldo (GB) 69 75 74 73; W Wood 70 75 71 75. 292 W Austin 70 74 75 73; B Crenshaw 74 71 73 74; N Henke 72 70 75 75; P Stewart 73 70 73 76. 293 P Goydos 71 73 77 72; J Maggert 73 70 76 74. 294 M Dawson 76 69 75 74. 295 B Langer (Ger) 73 72 78 72. 296 J Edwards 68 76 75 77. 297 S Highashi (Japan) 72 72 80 73; S Ingraham 73 72 75 77. 298 J Reeves 74 71 69 74; H Clark (GB) 73 72 75 78.

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