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Jerry Kelly Press Conference Transcript

JERRY KELLY: Yeah, you know, I had fun playing with Tiger. He's a great guy and, obviously, a fantastic player. I enjoyed watching how steady he was, even when he made a poor shot, even a poor chip a couple times. He steadied himself on the putts and made good strokes. Right now, that was probably the difference between us, besides the 30 or 40 yards. The fact that -- yesterday I got a little punchy with my putts, and today I didn't really give myself too many short ones to try and, you know, put some pressure on him. I finally got one to go in on 15. I put it in the rough on 16, and all of the sudden it is a defensive hole. I tried to hit the slope, hitting a punch wedge into 16. It was the sand wedge; spun back. So that puts me defensive again, because then I can one-hop it back into the water. So I just kind of got a little active in the lower body in the left. 17, hit a good shot, just missed the slope. 18, I knew where I stood. I had to make par. I didn't think I wanted to hit wedge, wedge, because you saw what Tiger's did. He spun it right back off the hill. So I had to try to get it up on the green. I didn't have too terrible of a lie. I could not get to the green, but it was on a downslope, and it just took the club left. I was trying for the miracle shot a little bit. Anything after bogey didn't really -- anything after par didn't make any difference. But I was wrong. I'm sitting here, and it makes a difference. I would have loved to have made that bogey putt, even after I did put it in the water. I learned you've got to play your game and not play for second, not play for third, just play your game all the way through. And I did that up until 18.
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.
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