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
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas
He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.
Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.
Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.
In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.
Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.
Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.
Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic
Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double
Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open
Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open
Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row
Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow
Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship
The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ
Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year
And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season
Photo Galleries: Best of ...
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com counted down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below. And click here for the full collection of articles.
Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge
ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.
The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.
They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.
Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.
Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.
Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.
''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''
The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.
In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''
Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.
Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia
Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.
Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.
Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.
Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.
It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.
The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.