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August 11, 2011

Jerry Kelly


KELLY ELBIN: Yet another badger, Jerry Kelly, in with a round of 5-under par 65, two strokes behind fellow badger Steve Stricker after the first round of the PGA Championship. Terrific round, Jerry, congratulations on the 65. Comments on tying your all-time low mark in your PGA Championship history.
JERRY KELLY: I'm guessing that's probably a low mark in major championship history for me. That doesn't go too deep. Probably that's the case.
No, I was happy with the way I drove the ball, number one. That's what you have to do on this golf course. Still, it's a long golf course. The PGA has done a fantastic job of setting it up, varying the tees. But still getting it in the fairway is A No. 1. I don't hit 3-wood on many 470, 480-yard par-4s, and I'm doing that here, so it's a testament to the golf course, but it's also great how they're setting it up.
KELLY ELBIN: Just start with your birdies and the one bogey.
JERRY KELLY: 10, drive and a -- I hit an 8-iron into 10, knocked it about 15 feet, made the right-to-left putt.
Then I knocked a utility wood onto the green in two on 12, two-putted from about 40 feet.
Then I hit 3-iron, 8-iron to about 15 feet on 13.
15, left bunker, knocked it past about 18, 20 feet, missed that one coming back.
16, just driver, 3-iron, normal for my 476-yard uphill par-4s to about 15 feet, made that one.
Numerous saves beginning on the front side. 115-yard wedge to about 12 feet on 5.
6, I hit a wedge to I'd say 12 feet again. Popular number for me today.
KELLY ELBIN: Jerry hit 11 of 14 fairways for the day.

Q. First major tournament played on ultradwarf Bermudagrass, kind of a newer variety, Champion. Can you tell us how the greens felt out there?
JERRY KELLY: I think I said, when we played at The Champions Club in Houston years back, if I'm not mistaken it's the same grass, Champion Ultradwarf, I thought every course in the south should have this type of grass because it was the firmest, the tightest, the fastest, not nearly as much grain affected for a Bermuda. I thought it was the best grass you could possibly use. And I've never seen anything like the Diamond Zoysia like you have in the fairways.
Everybody is raving about the condition and about the grasses, and now it's just up to the PGA and the superintendents to keep hold of the golf course through the end of the week.

Q. Obviously you know Steve Stricker for a long time. He's a guy that for the past five, six years people have said, oh, he's going to win a major. He's always around, and yet he hasn't done it. What do players think about him and about that?
JERRY KELLY: You know, there's not much left for Steve Stricker to do. From what he did at the beginning of his career to what he did in the middle to what he's done at the end -- sorry, it's not the end. It's what he's done up until now, you know, he's surprised everybody. But now it's not surprising anymore, now it's, oh, there's Steve, look out. Everybody still considers it only a matter of time. I think he's been plagued by tough starts, a couple of bad waves, things like that. But I think he got a pretty good start on it this week, and he's going to be awful tough.

Q. How do you explain two guys from Wisconsin coming down here in this heat and length and going this low in the opening round?
JERRY KELLY: I think Steve, myself and Scott Verplank all played practice rounds the last couple days, and we saw that you really didn't need to overpower this golf course, that position was the key. It certainly helped me. I know it helped those two guys, as well. We made a lot of birdies the last two days. We're not natural long hitters.
I think we took a lot of comfort in coming to a longer golf course that you don't really have to explode on every shot.

Q. If you were going to write a couple of sentences or a paragraph describing Jerry Kelly, it would start out, "Jerry Kelly was a PGA TOUR player who," and then what would you have it say?
JERRY KELLY: Was always a little too aggressive for his own good. I'm trying to scale it back a little bit this week, consciously, and I did a fantastic job today. And I'd like to continue that for the rest of my life, and maybe we'll rewrite that sentence down the road.

Q. Why is that difficult?
JERRY KELLY: I've never known any other way than to go at it as close to 100 percent as I can. I've never had the technique, I've never had the swing to be able to gear down except for in a short golf swing type of way.
Now, I have much better lines and I'm able to actually hit it smooth. I've never been able to do that before, and I hope it continues.

Q. First round obviously, but is it nice to think about perhaps a weekend with your buddy close to the top of the leaderboard?
JERRY KELLY: Oh, absolutely. Love to have the three guys that are up there right now playing. I guess there would have to be a rain delay, though, wouldn't it? We don't want that. I mean, he's a great guy, he's a great friend, and I think we'd have a good time playing down the stretch.

Q. Do you indeed have dinner plans with Steve tonight, and if so, what do you sit down and discuss after a day like this?
JERRY KELLY: We don't talk about golf too much. That's what makes us able to go out and have dinner together. Our families are real close, so it's usually all about the kids.

Q. Do you have a bet on low Wisconsiner?
JERRY KELLY: No, pride is plenty (laughing).
KELLY ELBIN: Jerry Kelly in with 65 at the PGA Championship. Thanks, Jerry.

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