Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker combined for a 16-under 56 during round one of the Franklin Templeton Shootout.
Afterwards, the twosome took questions from the media, with Dave Senko, the PGA Tour’s Communications Director, acting as the press avail moderator.
Some of the highlights:
- AGES: Aware that some of the combined ages of a couple of teams don’t add up to either one of them alone.
- TEAMMATES: Enjoy playing as a tandem and hope to team up again for the Zurich Classic (a new team even in 2017) and the Bass Pro Shops event on the Champions Tour.
- GO WAY BACK: Have known each other from their junior golf days back in Wisconsin.
- USGA RULING: Both were happy to hear about the USGA’s (Dustin Johnson) rule change.
DAVE SENKO: We’d like to welcome Jerry and Steve. 16 under 56, which was just one shy of the tournament record for the scramble. I don’t want you to go through all your birdies, it would probably be easier going through your pars today. Three pars, an eagle and 14 birdies. Maybe just talk about what went well today for both of you.
JERRY KELLY: Well, I got the ball in the fairway so Steve could let the driver go and he got us a heck of a lot closer than I was. Then we both put good iron shots on it all around the course. Each of us had a bunch of tapins, and even one of the pars we made was from about six to eight feet. That was one of our closer ones. But yeah, we know everybody’s going to get in the fairway and get on the green in this format, so it’s really rolling in the putts. I just need to do my job and hit solid putts so he can see where the line is and make it like he does.
STEVE STRICKER: It was just a great team effort today. We both played well. We both kept the pedal down all the way around, we never let up. We made a lot of good birdies, threw in an improbable eagle at the sixth hole, but other than that it was just good, solid golf all the way around, all the way to the end. Usually we have little hiccups here and there or a little lull period and today that never happened. We just continued that good play every hole really.
SENKO: Just take us through the eagle on No. 6.
STRICKER: Yeah, it was a drive and Jerry hit a good 3wood right short of the green on the front fringe. The pin was in a very difficult position kind of on the left side of the green. It was kind of up and over and speed was tricky. He put a good putt on it, of the first one. It was difficult, it had a lot of break. But speed was the issue and he gave me great speed and the line because I ended up giving it a little bit more. It was probably almost a 60footer probably.
KELLY: 60foot with about 10 feet of break.
STRICKER: Yeah, it had a lot of break to it. That was a putt I’m just trying to nestle up there close. He was already fairly close so I could kind of get a little aggressive with it, but it was one of those you don’t expect to make but it ended up going in.
KELLY: It was awesome.
SENKO: Any of these other birdies, were there any long putts made?
KELLY: Maybe the hole right after that. We were on the back fringe again and so we did make two fringies in a row. That was probably about 25.
STRICKER: 30 feet maybe.
KELLY: Yeah, bordering on 30.
SENKO: Who made that one?
KELLY: I did.
SENKO: You guys have played before. How much of a comfort level is there with being with someone
STRICKER: Yeah, this is easy for us. We’re going to play a couple more team events together as well. The Zurich Classic I think we’re going to team up together, and then out on the Champions Tour with the Bass Pro Shops. We’re going to try to pull off the trifecta. We’ve got to try to get in contention here and try to win here and then we’re going to do it two more times and play together. So we’re looking forward to that. It’s very easy playing with Jerry. We know one another, we’ve played a lot of this event together and we know what to expect from one another. It’s always fun, I always enjoy coming here and playing with him.
MEDIA QUESTION: Steve, you mentioned you usually run into a hiccup here or there. Was there a shot or a putt that may have led to a hiccup in the past that you guys saved it or kept it going?
STRICKER: Well, actually, the birdie at No. 9 probably was huge.
KELLY: That was big.
STEVE STRICKER: Because we just missed a sixfooter at 8 and it was a tough putt. It had a lot of break to it and it was down the hill, but it was one that we should have made. You know, typically that little hole at 8, missing that kind of would lead to a little bit of a lull. That birdie at 9 was big. Jerry had a great shot in there and hit a good putt, too. Then I ended up making the putt, but that I think got the momentum back right away again and got us going again into that back side. So yeah, it was pretty much all day. Just that one little hiccup at 8 and we were in there and making good putts and birdies all the way through.
SENKO: How long was that putt at 9, Steve?
STRICKER: I don’t know, probably a 12footer.
MEDIA QUESTION: Have you guys been in Wisconsin and the clubs have been away or are you feeling a little rusty coming into this? Was this a little bit of a surprise?
KELLY: He was shaming me into it a little bit. Normally I’m the one, C’mon, let’s go. “No, I’m going to fly out on Monday afternoon and we’ll play on Tuesday,” but he came down here
KELLY: Yeah, Wednesday. So I’ve been up there, I was the one who delayed. But he got me here Sunday so I hit a few balls on Sunday and then we did the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday thing. I was happy to get a little extra work, I think I needed it, so it was good.
MEDIA QUESTION: Guys, a little perspective. Combined age between the two of you guys is a cheese wheel short of 100. By comparison, Bryson and Lexi combined age, 44. Feeling good?
KELLY: Feeling good with where we’re at right now. We’ve made that joke with a bunch of the amateur guys that there’s a couple of tandems here that their ages don’t add up to either one of our ages. Yeah, trust me, it’s nothing we haven’t already thought about.
MEDIA QUESTION: How satisfying is it, though, to shoot 16 under first round?
KELLY: It’s great, especially, strange as it is, that’s been our toughest format has been the scramble. I think we played pretty well the last time we played scramble, but before that, that was not our best. So to get out there and play well, and we both just did play well. That was about as comfortable as we’ve ever been as well. We just had a good time.
MEDIA QUESTION: Jerry, I saw I guess you were down here, I don’t know how recently, your caddie got married or something. Did you play or were you just down here?
KELLY: I did. I had a practice round out at TwinEagles, I know that. I hit balls out here and worked on some clubs up in Bobby’s new place. Yeah, I got the vibes early for this place and had a great time at my caddie’s wedding. Then got a little work in for the Champions Tour, so it was a good trip.
MEDIA QUESTION: Do you guys, do you remember the first time you met or you played golf together, the junior event?
STRICKER: Well, it was definitely in jeez, it had to be in high school, somewhere along the line.
KELLY: It was before high school. I was just telling him, my mom puts together scrapbooks every year. I mean big thick ones, it’s incredible. The stuff that she finds, it’s just amazing. So I was going through one from way back trying to I can’t remember what I was trying to find, but some of those long silver hair with glasses pictures, I told him, it was him holding the trophy and me looking up at him like (smiling). But yeah, it’s back to junior golf days.
MEDIA QUESTION: Any thoughts from either one of you on the USGA with the putting or even if you’ve seen it?
STRICKER: I haven’t seen it. I know they changed one of them about if the wind moves the ball or even if you’ve addressed the ball
MEDIA QUESTION: Even if you’ve addressed the ball and it moves, it’s no longer a penalty.
STRICKER: I think with this day and age with the cameras on every hole being able to pick up in high def, you can see if somebody actually moved the ball or not. For the most part, all the players, they know when they move it. We’re all, you know, to the point of we’re going to call it on ourselves. I think that’s the right thing to do because the way it was, how do you determine what moved it? I mean, what happened to Dustin Johnson there in the last U.S. Open, we’re all scratching our heads still on that one, how that turned out.
KELLY: That was terrible.
STRICKER: Luckily, it didn’t affect the outcome of it, but I think that’s the right thing, what they just did.
KELLY: I didn’t even hear that. I think that I sometimes come down hard on the ruling bodies because there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of common sense that comes out of how they try and word them and how they they’re trying to fit things into little pathways and you need wide lanes out here to kind of you know, the officials can’t always be in, what was that, 51 percent of a chance or 49 percent of a chance and that will make the difference in two shots, it’s just not right. So clarifying is what needs to happen in our rules, there’s no question.
SENKO: Thanks, guys.