With 11 wins and two senior majors, there aren’t many players on the Champions Tour with more accomplishments over the last half decade than Jerry Kelly. Once he reached the 50-year-old age requirement in 2017, it didn’t take him long to burst onto the senior-circuit scene. He won twice in his rookie season, and in the five years since has established himself as one of the top players on the over-50 tour.
It’s not a bad way to live out the latter portion of your playing career — but it’s a far cry from Kelly’s pro-golf beginnings. Three decades ago, Kelly wasn’t competing against major champs and Ryder Cup captains. Instead, he was cutting his teeth on the developmental Nike Tour (now Korn Ferry Tour).
In 1995, Kelly reached his zenith on the AAA circuit. That season, he won two times and made nearly $200,000 in winnings, which was enough to earn him Player of the Year honors.
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When it came time for the trophy to arrive in the mail, there was a slight problem. Instead of sending the Nike Tour Player of the Year trophy, the execs in Ponte Vedra got mixed up and accidentally sent Greg Norman’s PGA Tour Player of the Year trophy.
“I totally thought about keeping it,” Kelly said on this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar. “I can’t remember if they called me first or I called them first — I’m not positive on that one. I remember a conversation with my family going, ‘This is kind of cool.’”
A POTY trophy for one of the top players in the game would be quite the conversation piece, but ultimately, Kelly returned it to its rightful owner.
Check out the entire episode of Subpar below.
Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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