Jerry Kelly Press Conference Transcript
Q. You drove it beautiful for three rounds and had trouble with the driver in the last round. Can you address that?
JERRY KELLY: Yeah, I just think that sometimes, I might get a little too loose, which gets me a little long. You know, I think I'm going to be tight, you know, a tough situation; and next thing you know, my back feels great, my arms feel good, my hands, and I almost get too loose. I start kind of flinging it around. I'm starting to realize that that's a problem for me, when I was thinking to myself, 'Be smart, tight and solid.' That's when I came back after a bad drive and hit good drives. You know, it's strange. You would think I would just get too tight in those situations, but I actually loosen myself up so much, it is a detriment.
Q. At what point did you sense the tournament slipping away from you?
JERRY KELLY: 18. Really, I mean. I was, what, two shots back over the last three. When he went 3-up -- okay, fine. And after I watched him hit that shot, 'game on' again. I make birdie; he makes bogey; I'm one shot back. So until I got to 18 and he was still 3-up, then I put it in the rough: Game over.
Q. You talked about playing your own game, which everybody tries to do. Did you have any chance at all to learn or to watch Tiger, to learn something about him you didn't know?
JERRY KELLY: No. I kind of expected everything I saw. He's the best player in the world. He showed it. I mean, 6-under on Sunday on a fantastic golf course. All the credit is to him. You know, I hung with him. I was under par all the way through until the last hole. You know, I was really looking forward to putting 4-under par rounds, and that double kind of hurt. I wanted to at least save it so I was even. But, he showed why he is No. 1, and I can look at what he did; it wasn't that much different than what I was doing. He was making some of the putts when he got in position. When he got out of position, he made the putts again. You know, that's his MO.
Q. How do you feel leaving here -- (inaudible) -- are you disappointed that you did not win, not getting into the Masters and all of those other things?
JERRY KELLY: I leave here disappointed. Yeah, good check, good week. So what? We all want to win, and that's it. I might have proved to a few people that I can play. I didn't feel like I really had to prove it to myself. I knew I could play. I did prove that I could play under the biggest pressure we have, so I can take a positive out of it, but I leave here more towards the bitterly disappointed than just the disappointed.
Q. Were you surprised at the ovation you got on 10 when you got to the tee, and what were your thoughts about the way the crowd seemed to adopt this underdog thing with you?
JERRY KELLY: Yeah, they have been behind me all week. They were fantastic. I really, really enjoyed all of the people out there. You know, there's so many Cheeseheads in this town, but it's great. I heard it all day from young and old. You know it made me feel fantastic.
Q. When you said you withstood the biggest pressure, do you mean playing against the best player head-to-head or playing against the best player on the best golf course, the combination?
JERRY KELLY: Yeah, all of the above. No question. I made a birdie and pulled within two with three holes to go. I got myself in a position to win this golf tournament if he did anything wrong. And I also got myself in position to win the golf tournament if I birdied two of the last three and he parred in, which he did. But, you know, it was there. I let it down on 18. That teaches me something every single time. I'm sure you learn something. You didn't learn as big of a lesson as I did, but I learned something, too.
Q. Yesterday's start with him, how does that affect you, or how would it affect any player?
JERRY KELLY: You know, you have to play. You know that you are not going to get through this thing with pars. You are not going to be able to just hit it on the green and 2-putt. That's why the putter probably got a little jabby. I was not just stroking it where I wanted; I was trying to make the putt. You can't do that. You have to putt your ball. You can't try and make the putt.
Q. You talked about being steady, wanting to play your own game, but did you ever reach a point playing with Tiger over the last few days where you felt that you had to play out of your mind to beat him?
JERRY KELLY: Not really. I didn't feel that way. I was in a position to make a whole bunch of birdies. You guys can tell me how many greens I missed today -- over the last two days. I missed two greens in 18 holes, I didn't have to do anything special. I just had to have a few longer putts go in. That was in. I was in position. It was fine. You know, I just got loose at the very end. Otherwise, I par the last and I lose my two.
Q. Was the speed of the greens today what you expected?
JERRY KELLY: Yeah, they were a little bit better than yesterday. It was pretty wet yesterday, and plus, everybody walking and the growth of the greens. So, we knew they were going to double-cut them, roll them, get them ready for today. It was easier for me to putt today. It was. I left it short on the first hole, you know, thinking they were going to be a lot faster. They were still fairly soft, and they were not as fast as they were getting on Friday. But they did a fantastic job getting this course ready. It was in perfect shape today.
Q. This week, you did not back down at all from Tiger. There have been a number of other players, even going back to Hal last year, who have not at all seemed intimidated. Has he lost some of that edge he might have had on guys a year or two years ago?
JERRY KELLY: I don't think he's lost anything. I think we have just gained. As everyone has always said, he has raised the bar and we are going to try and climb under it now. He raised it pretty high, and that's bringing everybody else up to another level. You know, he's taken the entire game further, which is fantastic for us. He's making us realize that you can do what you envision the might have before. You can shoot 6-under on Sunday at THE PLAYERS and win.
Full Coverage of the Players Championship
McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School
One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.
McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.
It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.
McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).
Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).
Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.
Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award
The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.
The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.
Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.
The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.
A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.
Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4
Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.
Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.
South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.
Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.
The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.
Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout
It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.
Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.
Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.
"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."
Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.
Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.