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Friday, February 17, 2017

Jerry Kelly Makes the Leap

Well, it finally happened. Jerry Kelly has joined the Champions Tour and will make his debut this week at the Chubb Classic. And he said that he doesn't plan to jump back and forth -- this is his new home.

Jerry Kelly

This looks to be a good year for the Champions Tour, given the rookies who'll come out his year. Jose Maria Olazabal made his first appearance last week and, although he only finished T41, his -5 debut is a good start for a favorite player who has struggled with so many health problems. David Toms also played last week and posted a T23, at -10. And Steve Stricker will turn 50 next week.

According to this lengthy article at PGATOUR.com, Kelly has been planning for this move since he was 40. Check out this quote from the article:
Kelly is right where he wants to be. He said he identified the over-50 circuit as a goal of his as early as the age of 40. He would play often, make cuts, cash checks, keep his card and climb the career money list. The top 70 players on the PGA TOUR all-time career money list are eligible to play on the PGA TOUR Champions, and Kelly sits comfortably at No. 30.
Now THAT'S planning ahead! He said he realized that, with his lack of length, he wouldn't be able to keep up with the young guys forever.

Of course, that begs the question of how well he'll actually play on this tour. After years of playing a lot of tournaments to make sure he qualified for it -- but only winning three times -- can he really compete with these guys? Again, here's a quote from the article:
Kelly is hardly a bomber off the tee, but he is extremely accurate with his driver. In his final full season on the PGA TOUR in 2016, he ranked 174th in driving distance but third in driving accuracy. He also ranked 66th in greens in regulation but fourth in proximity to the hole. 
What does it all mean? It means he hits fairways nearly all the time, and when he hits greens, he hits it closer than the guys he’s playing against. Don’t be surprised if it’s a recipe that leads to victory in his first season.
I don't know how soon he'll win, but I'd be willing to bet he's going to enjoy himself.

The Chubb Classic starts today at 11:30am ET on GC. And yes, both Jose Maria and David Toms are teeing it up too. It's a good week to watch your favorites!

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