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August 26, 2006

John Kelly


CRAIG SMITH: John, how does it feel, you were out there signing autographs.

JOHN KELLY: Yeah, I got my 15 minutes of fame it feels like here. But it's pretty awesome. I don't know, it's just kind of hitting me here. But, I mean, I don't know what to say.

CRAIG SMITH: Keep going. You had a heck of a back nine. You never really trailed after the well, you took the lead at 10.

JOHN KELLY: All week I think the best I've ever been going into the back nine has been even. I seem like I've been down early and I found a way to kind of scratch and claw my way back, and once I've gotten the lead, I kind of haven't surrendered it. So I played well on the back nine especially.

Q. Seem like all those 4 foot, 5 foot putts, they all went in for you?

JOHN KELLY: Yes. With the exception of 16, I putted extremely well this week. So I'm proud of myself for that.

Q. And you had a good support crew, some of your teammates came down?

JOHN KELLY: Yeah, that's awesome, seeing some familiar faces. That's great to have that support.

Q. Did you know they were coming?

JOHN KELLY: I did. It wasn't a surprise.

Q. Is it a surprise that you're here in the finals?

JOHN KELLY: I mean, I kept trying to tell myself that I'm a good enough player to be here, and I believed it. I don't know, maybe everybody else didn't, but as long as I'm believing that I can play for the trophy, that's great.

Q. On 10 with that second shot that you hit over the tree, real close in, it seemed like that got you going.

JOHN KELLY: Yeah, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get that over the tree. I was on a pretty severe downslope, but pulling off that shot helped, definitely. Making that putt really helped my confidence.

Q. How were your emotions last night after you got out of here and had a chance to think about it?

JOHN KELLY: For about an hour or so, I was kind of thinking about the whole deal. But, I don't know, I watched a movie with the guy I was staying with again and kind of got my mind off golf and slept well last night, so wasn't all that bad.

Q. What was last night's movie?

JOHN KELLY: I saw Grilled with Kevin James and Ray Romano. That was pretty funny.

Q. Have you ever played in a professional tournament?

JOHN KELLY: No. I've tried Monday qualifying for the John Deere Classic for the last would years and haven't made it either time.

Q. So your first professional event will be that little thing they have up there in April?

JOHN KELLY: I think that's probably what it's going to be, so that will be awesome.

Q. How are you going to pick who gets to caddie for you next year?

JOHN KELLY: I don't know, I'm sure there's going to be a long list, maybe I'll do it by lottery. I have no idea, no idea.

Q. Did you save the Missouri outfit or was it special delivery?

JOHN KELLY: My coach called and wanted me to wear some Missouri clothing just to kind of help things out. So I had a lady that I'm staying with, Ms. Salanstein (ph) and she watched one of my teammates' outfits and I wore his shirt today.

Q. What do you know about your opponent tomorrow?

JOHN KELLY: I think he played on the Walker Cup a couple years ago. So, I mean, obviously a good player. All I can do is play as well as I can play, so that's all I can do.

Q. How did you feel about the way you did play today? Were you happy with that?

JOHN KELLY: I thought I played real steady. I think I played all pars on the front nine ask kind of made a few bogeys, a few birdies on the back side. Played real steady. Played well I thought.

Q. One of your teammates said that when he went home from school in May and then came back and watched you play this week, that it's a night and day in the difference in the way you're hitting the ball in just three months. What's changed?

JOHN KELLY: I don't know, I guess the whole summer, not having to worry about school, I could really focus in on golf. I can't really tell you that I've made some huge swing changes because I really haven't. But, I don't know, that's a good question.

Q. Do you agree with that assessment?

JOHN KELLY: I feel like I'm hitting it a lot better than I was at the end of the season last year. That's definitely true.

Q. You're even par today. Does even par win tomorrow do you think or do you need a couple of birds?

JOHN KELLY: It's hard to say. I'm sure the pin locations will be pretty tough.

But I think even par around this course is going to give you a pretty good chance. You never know, though.

Q. What's been your biggest win before perhaps tomorrow? What's your biggest win in your career up to now?

JOHN KELLY: I mean, I've had a few wins. I'd have to say I won an AJGA a few weeks before I started college and that really kind of helped me realize that I could compete with some really outstanding players. So that might have been my biggest win.

Q. It sounds like regardless of the outcome tomorrow, one of the biggest things you're going to take out of this is the confidence that you belong at this level?

JOHN KELLY: Yeah, right, I had never really played in front of this amount of people, in front of TVs. This is the kind of experience I'm going to need if I want to have success on the PGA TOUR some day. So no doubt, this is going to be a huge, huge learning experience for me.

Q. Is this enough time to wash that outfit for tomorrow?

JOHN KELLY: I'm sure there will be. We have plenty of time.

Q. What are your memories of watching the Masters growing up?

JOHN KELLY: It's just the most pure course that I've ever seen. I mean, everybody says that TV doesn't do any justice, so I'm just looking forward to seeing what it's all about.

Q. You also get to play at this little place called Oakmont which is supposedly the toughest course in the country.

JOHN KELLY: That is absolutely awesome as well. I cannot wait.

Q. Did your coach make it here in time today?

JOHN KELLY: I think his flight came in and he rented a car. I think he got here right as I was finishing. I don't think he got to see my golf, but I got to speak to him for a little while.

Q. Your teammates behind you were ready to leap on 16.

JOHN KELLY: Yeah, I'm glad I didn't have any broken Bones on 16 after that. That would have been some story.

But I can't thank them enough for coming up and supporting me.

Q. 16, that putt, was it just?

JOHN KELLY: Basically the same putt oh, I'm thinking about 17.

16 was like a left center putt and I just pulled it a little bit, but that kind of thing happens every once in awhile.

Q. When did you feel comfortable like you were going to win this match?

JOHN KELLY: Well, at no point in time did I ever start thinking about winning. I was trying to play my game. And if you start thinking about winning, I think you're overlooking the match, and that's not a good thing, or you're kind of focusing on the future rather than what's happening right now.

Q. Is there anything specific going on with your game or anything that you were working on this summer that might have led to this or given you any indication?

JOHN KELLY: This summer I haven't really been working on anything too much. I've just been working on fundamentals, I've been working on tempo, lines at address, kind of just been working on getting the club right set in the first few feet of the swing. Nothing crazy. I think that might be what's lead to go some of my success; I've been keeping it pretty simple, nothing too mechanical.

Q. You had the chance at 12 I believe to go through up back of the green there and the chance to win it on 16. After 16, did you ever have to talk to yourself of, hey, let's not let this get away?

JOHN KELLY: Well, I mean, sure, you'd like to make those putts. But yeah, I didn't let those few little problems bother me. You can't let anything bother you out there I guess if you're worried about what just happened, it's just not the way to do it.

Q. I know you were kind of focused on your game, but could you see that he was getting a little frustrated with his game?

JOHN KELLY: I thought he kept his emotions in check pretty well. I never really got the sense that he was down at any point. So I knew he was going to give me a good run and he did. He played well. He's a great player and just glad to emerge victorious I guess over him.

End of FastScripts.

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