November 6, 2007
Some familiar faces on the PGA Tour turned out Monday for the Jerry Kelly/Mickey Bradley Pro-Am at the Shell Landing Golf Club. The tournament was put together to benefit Habitat for Humanity, and golfers such as Joe Durant, Keith Slocum, PGA Championship runner-up Woody Austin and former PGA champion Bob Tway were on the course.
But the big draw, without a doubt, was freewheeling John Daly, who is trying to recapture the form he showed in winning the 1991 PGA Championship and the British Open four years later.
Daly played his round barefoot and often with a lighted cigarette dangling from his mouth, but his long drives off the tees were impressive. He also sported an Arkansas Razorbacks cap, his former college team, and was joined by his 4-year-old son, John, who took some random shots himself.
Tournament officials plan to build at least three homes through the Habitat for Humanity program. Kelly and Bradley decided to put the tournament together last year after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
"I'm just really humbled, by the players who came in on their own time, to support our community," Bradley said. "It couldn't have been a better day. I think it was a big success."
It proved to be a big success for Daly's team, too, because they won the tournament with a score of 46 in the "shamble" format, which takes into account a player's handicap. Daly teamed with Michael Sunderman, Jake Vanderlei, Doug Anglado and Brandon Dardeau, sometimes letting his partners do most of the work around the greens.
Daly's "grip-it-and-rip-it" style was evident throughout his round, and the spectators on hand appreciated his self-deprecating sense of humor.
"Well, it felt good," Daly said after trying to drive over some out-of-bounds vegetation guarding the front of the ninth hole at Shell Landing.
Todd Trenchard, a vice chairman for Habitat for Humanity, estimated the tournament would raise about $100,000. "Having someone like John takes this to another level," Trenchard said.
Kevin Drum, the executive director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Golf Association, believes the tournament will become an annual event.
"The Beau Rivage puts the PGA players up, and the players pay $1,275 to help build homes for families on the Coast," Drum said. "(The pros) aren't charging us a dime. We think it's going to be a long-term partnership."