Kelly disappointed not to make Ryder Cup
Jerry Kelly gave Hal Sutton a copy of the movie "Miracle" - the story of the United States' 1980 gold medal hockey team - and told him to show it to the team.
Was it perhaps a subliminal message? Was Kelly, a former college hockey player who plays golf with the same sort of bulldog tenacity he played hockey, trying to warm up Sutton for a potential at-large spot on the team?
"Not at all," Kelly said. "Hal didn't need a subliminal message.
"He knew I wanted to be on the team."
Unfortunately for Kelly, it won't happen this year. Sutton named Jay Haas and Stewart Cink as his captain's picks at a Monday morning news conference at the Milwaukee Hyatt. That fills out the U.S. roster for the Ryder Cup matches that will be played Sept. 17-19 at Oakland Hills Country Club in Detroit.
Haas, who will be competing in his third Ryder Cup, and Cink, who will be competing in his second, will join the 10 players who had previously qualified by virtue of their top-10 finishes in Ryder Cup points. In order, they are: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Davis Love III, Jim Furyk, Kenny Perry, David Toms, Chad Campbell, Chris DiMarco, Fred Funk and Chris Riley.
Haas, who finished 12th in the point standings, is 50 years old but was expected to be chosen because of his great season and Ryder Cup experience. Cink was a bit more of a surprise because he was 14th in the point standings, behind Steve Flesch, who dropped to 11th at the PGA Championship, and Kelly, who was 13th but failed to make the cut at the PGA.
His omission from the squad was not a surprise to Kelly, however.
"I basically knew on Friday that I had no chance," Kelly said. "I guess it might have been a 5% (chance) if things had fallen right, but I knew it was a long shot.
"I certainly wasn't an obvious pick, more like a wild-card pick even if I had been 11."
It might be a small consolation for Kelly, but Sutton expressed regret that he was unable to put the Madison native on the squad.
"I feel very badly for Jerry, because I know he is feeling a lot of disappointment today and I feel sorry about that," Sutton said. "I may be wrong, but I picked the two guys I feel can help the team the most.
"That's exactly what it is. It's an opinion and it's my opinion."
Kelly graciously accepted Sutton's decision and offered an explanation why he was left off.
"I'm sure the way I played last weekend had a lot to do with it," Kelly said. "And I haven't played particularly well at the majors.
"It isn't that I don't play well under pressure. It's that I just haven't responded well in the majors.
"It's absolutely my fault because I knew what I had to do and I didn't do it. I could have been on the team with a good showing at the PGA, but I didn't get it done."
Kelly has played in 21 majors and his highest finish was a tie for 20th at the 2002 Masters. He has missed eight cuts and withdrawn twice.
Still, Sutton seemed to like Kelly's scrappy attitude and apparently gave him serious consideration.
"I considered Jerry very seriously," Sutton said. "He is a fighter. He really wanted to make this Ryder Cup team and like I said earlier, I'm sorry that we can't pick everybody (in the top 25)."
Kelly expected the selection of Haas, who is having a sensational season going back and forth between the PGA Tour and Champions Tour. He seemed a bit more surprised by Cink's pick.
"I knew Jay was going to be on the team because he is a guy with good experience and good character," he said. "Stewart is a great pick, too.
"I can't argue with those picks."
Kelly also couldn't argue with the fact that he didn't receive a call from Sutton after he had made his decision Sunday. To paraphrase the old saw, when the phone didn't ring, he knew it was Hal.
"I don't think it warranted a call," Kelly said. "I pretty much knew to make the team I needed to be in the top 10, and I certainly didn't help my cause this weekend."
Sutton said the only player not chosen whom he called was Scott Verplank, who probably would have been named to the team if not for a nagging foot injury. Sutton admitted that he felt uncomfortable calling players he didn't choose.
"If anybody deserved a call, it was probably Steve Flesch," Sutton said. "The only reason I called Scott was because he put me on the spot a couple times and I ended the conversation by saying, 'I'll call you later.'
"But where do you stop the calls? And what can I tell (Kelly) that is comforting to him? It was really in his hands, not mine."
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