November 3, 2008
When golf's best ambassadors team with Habitat for Humanity, they hammer home charity faster than a Bubba Watson drive leaves the tee.
When Mickey Bradley makes a ruling or when Jerry Kelly holes out a wedge, they're doing their jobs. When they invite the PGA's best to Shell Landing Golf Club in Gautier, they're doing the thing they do best, raising money for charity.
The Kelly/Bradley Pro-Am on Nov. 10 will raise thousands again this year to build houses for unfortunate people who were devastated by Hurricane Katrina, and that makes the Ocean Springs native proud.
"I wanted to do something for people who I knew, people who were from my hometown," Bradley said. "Jerry Kelly got involved, and the rest is history."
Tim Herron, Woody Austin, Tom Pernice Jr, Tim Petrovic, Steve Lowery, Michael Allen, Bob Tway, Guy Boros, Kelly Gibson and Joe Durant are just a few of the PGA Tour stars who have already committed to the event, while Anthony Kim, John Daly and Boo Weekley are trying to schedule the pro-am into their fall plans.
Gibson, a New Orleans native, and Pensacola native Durant are more than welcome on the Mississippi Gulf Coast because of their involvement in the Gulf Coast Junior Golf Foundation.
"We had a couple of pros who wanted to help us with our junior program, and that's big for us," foundation director Kevin Drum said.
Habitat for Humanity director Kent Adcock knows the importance of having the PGA Tour's best players involved.
"When these guys are willing to lend their name and stature to the tournament," Adcock said, "it's a great benefit to us and to our community at large."
Habitat for Humanity has built 253 homes in Harrison and Jackson Counties since Katrina, and the Kelly/Bradley Pro-Am is responsible for nine of those houses.
"(Bradley) has used his influence to help us on the Coast. I just can't tell you enough about his compassion for people and passion to help," Adcock said.
When Kelly asked Bradley three years ago how he could help, the former Hickory Hills golf professional quickly suggested a pro-am that would rebuild dreams.
The sold-out event will feature two long-drive champions, a fish fry for players and guests on Saturday night at the Schooner, a pairings party at Mary Mahoney's on Sunday night and a 9:30 a.m. shotgun start at Shell Landing on Monday.
For a $10 donation to Habitat for Humanity, the public can come out Monday and eat lunch and watch top pros play golf.
"It does my soul good, being from Biloxi and growing up on the Coast," Bradley said. "I have to hold back tears when I see these people move into their houses. I owe these pros a lot."