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August 25, 2006

John Kelly


CRAIG SMITH: John, talk about flying under the radar, you're knocking them off one at a time. Did you know anything about the guy you played today?

JOHN KELLY: I mean, obviously I know he lost to Tiger Woods back when I was a little child, I remember watching that. Isn't he the one?

Obviously he's a great player. All I can do is just play golf to the best of my ability. I can't do anything about who I'm playing. So that's kind of all I've been focusing on since I've been here.

Q. What were your expectations coming in, just like Craig said, you kind of flew under the radar and certainly looking at the final eight in the quarterfinals, somebody would say, John who, where is he from?

JOHN KELLY: Rightfully so. I haven't done hey whole lot, I'll admit that in my career up to this point. I believe in my game and I believe I'm a good player, and I believe that counts for just as much as anything. If you believe that you're a good player, I think that's huge.

Q. What's your summer been like?

JOHN KELLY: I've been pretty busy. Traveled quite a bit. I've played a little bit on the national scene. Had a little bit of success. I played in the North and South Amateur at Pinehurst; made it to the second round, so that's a decent week. And played in the Eastern Amateur, made the cut there. Played in a tournament in Alabama called the Greystone Invitational, came in sixth, had a chance to go into the last round. Won my state stroke play. So I've been playing good golf this summer. Not surprising to me that I've been playing well this week so far as well.

Q. The Missouri Amateur is match play?

JOHN KELLY: Correct.

Q. So you have a feel for match play?

JOHN KELLY: I lost in the finals last year. That's huge having that kind of experience with match play. I mean, under the gun, I thought that really helped me for this week my experiences last year, losing in the finals.

Q. How did you get started in the game?

JOHN KELLY: Eight years old, I think my mom just it was Kingwood, Texas and my mom just put me in the junior program to try to t out.

So nobody ever pushed me but I kind of caught the golf bug early and have been playing ever since.

Q. Do you know what you've learned to this point? You've already got the exemption from winning this morning to come back here. Can you allow yourself a glimpse of what if you win tomorrow means?

JOHN KELLY: It's great. I think it's at Olympic Club next year. I've played there, and I had a family vacation there back in high school and I was fortunate enough to play the Olympic Club, one of the greatest courses eve ever played. That's neat, already being able to put that one on the calendar for next year.

CRAIG SMITH: If you win tomorrow, you get to play at a place called Oakmont next June.

JOHN KELLY: That would be great. That's the one thing I've got to keep out of my mind, if I start thinking about that, that could be trouble. (Laughter) So I'm going to try and just stay in the present and worry about each and every shot that's right in front of me.

Q. Were there other sports, as well, for you?

JOHN KELLY: I played basketball through my junior year in high school, so I guess I was a well rounded athlete, so it wasn't just always golf. So I never was really in danger of being burned out in the game.

Q. And at what point did you just say, golf is it?

JOHN KELLY: I would have to say when I wasn't really getting quite the playing time I guess in my sophomore year. I didn't really put I'm kind of practicing more on golf and putting less time in basketball. You only get 24 hours in the day and I knew I wasn't going to be like Bo Jackson or something playing two sports. So I had to pick one or the other. I'm glad he picked golf.

Q. How about a golfer of your caliber being at the University of Missouri, you could put them on the map, you know.

JOHN KELLY: Yeah, I hope that people out there see that, I mean, golf, there's a lot of parity in college golf. University of Missouri is right up there as one of the better teams I think. We can play with all of the big boys, just some people just don't know that.

CRAIG SMITH: Well, you've showed that.

Q. How are you occupying your time away from the course this week? Are you thinking about it?

JOHN KELLY: I'm staying with one of my roommates in private housing, one of my teammates actually, Peter Malnati; he did not make the match play, missed it by a couple shots. So we've just been going to the movie store, renting movies, trying to get my mind off golf a little bit.

Q. What's the best thing you've seen this week?

JOHN KELLY: I haven't really seen any good movies. I saw Benchwarmers, that was pretty funny.

Q. And your caddie, he's about half your size?

JOHN KELLY: He's done a great job, done everything a caddie is supposed do: Put up, keep up, shut up. He's done well. He's a great caddie. Loved having Charlie on the bag.

His name's Charlie. He's 16, a junior in high school and just a local kid I think. Like I said, I think my dad knows his dad or something along those lines.

Q. What's his last name?

JOHN KELLY: I think it's Doran, if I'm not mistaken, but I'm not for sure. I just know he's Charlie. (Laughter) I'm glad I know his first name.

Q. Is he from Chaska High School?

JOHN KELLY: He's from around here, somewhere in the area.

Q. Do you have other family or anybody up here?

JOHN KELLY: My mom and dad are up here.

Q. So how are you taking all this in?

JOHN KELLY: Well, like right now, it I kind of seem to be calm but probably tonight it's go to be a little bit overwhelming, but hopefully a good night's rest will allow me to just keep on plodding along.

Q. Forgive me if somebody asked this before I came in, but how did you feel about the way you were playing coming into this week? Did you feel like you were ready for something like this?

JOHN KELLY: Yeah, I put in a lot of time. A lot of the courses back home in Missouri are zoysia, so I don't get a whole lot of practice on bentgrass.

But actually I had a tournament two weeks ago at Boon Valley and they are going to be hosting the Junior Amateur next summer. That's a fine golf course, all bentgrass. That's a great, great tune up for this event. I played all right, finished third. I thought that was a good lead in to this week, so helped me out.

Q. What would you say, what's the strongest part of your game especially like this week, or just overall?

JOHN KELLY: I would say I hit the ball a pretty long way and usually keep it on the map for the most part. So I guess it helps on this course, this is a big golf course, it's a man's golf course and you've got to hit it a long way. I think this golf course sets up for me well.

Q. And you're a marketing major?

JOHN KELLY: That's right. Marketing.

Q. So if you win this thing, you will market yourself, how?

JOHN KELLY: I mean, I want to try and play this game professionally, but just kind of take it day to day.

Q. How did you kind up at Missouri? I know you're from the area there, but is there anything?

JOHN KELLY: I've had a fairly decent junior career. Guess a late bloomer many people would say. I just ended up at Missouri, I had a few other schools, Indiana, Michigan. I just thought Missouri fit me the best. Close enough to home and far enough away, a couple hours.

End of FastScripts.

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