Perry baffled by tourney criticism

MILWAUKEE — Kenny Perry is tired of being criticized for choosing to play in the U.S. Bank Championship instead of the British Open.

Perry, who has won three of his last five events on the PGA Tour, said his goal is to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

“I just don't understand it. I don't know why they're ripping me,” Perry said before the pro-am Wednesday.

The 47-year-old Perry, who won the U.S. Bank Championship in 2003, captured the John Deere Classic last weekend. That vaulted him to fourth place in Ryder Cup points and likely earned him spot on the team.

Some golf analysts questioned his decision to play in the lower-tier event while passing up a chance to win his first major during his current winning binge.

“I made the commitment early in the year, and then all of a sudden now I'm supposed to dump you guys and go to the British Open,” he said. “You know what's funny? The tournaments get mad at a lot of pros for backing out of tournaments.”

The Ryder Cup is special to Perry, who is from Kentucky, because it will be played in September at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville. He said skipping the British Open wasn't an issue last year, when he was struggling.

“If I hadn't played this well, if I hadn't won three times, nobody would have cared what I did,” he said.

No one is happier with Perry's decision to honor his commitment than tournament director Dan Croak.

“We're ecstatic that Kenny is here this week,” he said.

Perry will join a field that includes two-time U. S. Open champion Lee Janzen, Jesper Parnevik and past winners Corey Pavin, Shigeki ­Maruyama and Carlos Franco.

Perry is content to concentrate on the Ryder Cup.

“I'm gonna stay focused, try to earn as many points as I can earn,” he said. “I'm still not on that Ryder Cup team until I put the red, white and blue on.”