Kelly Sets Sights on Major Victory

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2005, 4:00 pm
US Bank Championship in MilwaukeeFor the second straight week a major will be contested on the PGA Tour. At least in the eyes of Jerry Kelly.
For Kelly, a proud Wisconsinite, the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee is the one tournament, aside from one of the four majors, which he most wants to win on tour. He refers to it as my major.
Jerry Kelly
Jerry Kelly has a pair of top-3 finishes in his home event.
All I try to do in Wisconsin is play for the people, Kelly said at last years PGA Championship, which was held at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis. I tend not to focus on anything except for having fun with these people, which I tend not to have enough fun everywhere else. But these people are so supportive of me that I just really enjoy playing for them.
Kelly, who was born in Madison and still lives there, could use a little enjoyment in the work place.
This will mark his 20th event of the season, and thus far he has only one top-10 finish ' and that came in Januarys Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. Hes made over $2 million in each of the last three seasons, but has deposited less than $700,000 this year.
He can attribute some of that to dabbling with different equipment earlier in the season. Hes also been working primarily with brother-in-law Jim Schuman as his instructor. Schuman and Rick Smith used to share those duties, with Smith leading the way. But with Phil Mickelson occupying a large part of Smiths time, Kelly decided to flip-flop to roles of the two.
And theres also the matter of physical ailments ' Kelly always seems to be bothered by something resulting from his days as a hockey player.
Kelly missed the cut in last weeks Open Championship, meaning he should be a little more rested for this years home state event.
Hes one of a handful of players scheduled to make the journey from the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland to Brown Deer Park in Milwaukee.
One of those players is our favorite for the week.
Five for the Title:
Kenny Perry
Perry tied for 11th at the Open. Hes having a year reminiscent to that of 2003, in which he won three times, including this event. Perry has already won the Bay Hill Invitational and the Bank of America Colonial (which he also won in '03). The 44-year-old has the best record of anyone at Brown Deer Park Golf Course (par 70, 6,759 yards) over the last five years. He tied for third in 2000; tied for fifth in 2001; was fourth in 2002; won in 2003; and tied for seventh a year ago.
Carlos Franco
Carlos Franco looks to become the first repeat winner in this event.
Carlos Franco
Franco doesnt have Perrys consistency in this event, but he does have more victories. This will be his seventh start in the event formerly known as the Greater Milwaukee Open. He has four career victories on the PGA Tour. Two have come in New Orleans and the other two have come here. Franco captured this tournament in 1999 and again last year, when he defeated Fred Funk and Brett Quigley by two strokes. Franco has never missed the cut in Milwaukee, but those are his only two top-20s in six previous starts.
Jerry Kelly
Kelly has had mixed results in his home tournament. In 13 career starts, he has three top-10s and four missed cuts. His best results came in a runner-up finish in 1996 and a third-place finish in 1999. Last year, he was one off the first-round lead after opening in 4-under 66. But while Franco took control of the event with a Friday 63, Kelly shot 2-over 72. Black numbers are a killer in terms of winning this event. Not since Jim Thorpe in 1985 has a player shot an over-par round and gone on to win.
Jeff Sluman
There has never been a three-time winner of this event, but there have been seven two-time champs. Sluman is among that group. He prevailed in 1998 and again in 2002. That 02 triumph is his most recent on tour. This will mark Slumans 18th appearance in Milwaukee. He, like Kelly, opened in 66 a year ago, but then posted a 72. He eventually tied for 22nd.
Tim Herron
Herron has never won this event ' he hasnt won anywhere since the 1999 Bay Hill Invitational, but he has a good track record at Brown Deer. Herron tied for second in 2002 and tied for third in 2003. He tied for 10th in his last Stateside tournament at the Cialis Western Open and tied for 41st at the Open Championship.
Playing Out the Front Nine
Four more players to keep an eye on
*Skip Kendall, who was born in Milwaukee and grew up playing Brown Deer. Kendall knows this layout better than anyone. He has three top-10s in 14 career starts.
*Brad Faxon, who flew to Scotland on his own dime to qualify for the Open Championship. He performed admirably at St. Andrews, getting within four of the 54-hole lead, before a final-round 76 dropped him into a tie for 23rd. He tied for third in his last U.S. start at the Barclays Classic. His appearance in this event a year ago, in which he tied for 24th, was his first since 1995.
*Scott Verplank, who also performed well at St. Andrews. Verplank tied Faxon for 23rd at St. Andrews. He tied for 11th here a year ago. It was his first Milwaukee start since 1991.
*Sean OHair, who is making his first U.S. Bank start. OHair is playing quite well of late. The 23-year-old tour rookie captured the John Deere Classic two weeks ago. But he may be a bit exhausted after taking an unexpected and chaotic trip to St. Andrews, where he tied for 15th.
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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.

    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.

    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.

    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”