By Cam Huffman
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS —
It happens all the time on The Price is Right or Wheel of Fortune. The winner goes home with a trip to beautiful Great Britain. But the loser usually has to settle for free popcorn for a year or a book full of coupons.
For the 2012 Greenbrier Classic runner-up, Troy Kelly, the consolation prize was almost as grand as the big one. Because of his finish on The Old White TPC this week, he’ll be headed across the pond to Royal Lytham & St. Annes to participate in the 2012 British Open in two weeks.
If, that is, his brother Ryan, who also serves as Troy’s caddie, can get his passport ready.
“I guess I’ll have to make some plans,” said Kelly, minutes after falling short in a sudden death playoff with Ted Potter Jr., only to find out he would be playing in his second major tournament — he missed the cut in the 2005 U.S. Open, after qualifying through a sectional qualifier. “I don’t think my brother has his passport, so I’ll have to work on that.”
To put in perspective just how rare this opportunity will be, when asked if he’d ever played in England, the former Washington Husky responded with, “I played in the Doug Sanders Junior Invitational (in Scotland) as a kid, so I’ve played a little bit over there.”
The British Open is a whole different animal.
But the other prize the 33-year-old will take home, the intangible one, may make that trip a little more enjoyable.
“I had some success in that situation, and it’s a huge thing in golf to really believe in yourself,” said Kelly, whose best finish on the PGA TOUR prior to this week was a tie for 37th at the 2012 Mayakoba Golf Classic. “That’s one thing that Tiger (Woods) and Phil (Mickelson), and all the great players, (do). I think when you’re coming down the stretch, you have to look back on things you’ve had success with.
“I think the biggest difference is that Tiger and Phil and those guys are so comfortable out there. I was uncomfortable all day. It maybe didn’t look like it, but I hadn’t been there. But I thought I handled it well, and I enjoyed it. It was an experience I can build off of.”
With that experience under his belt, Kelly may need to take a little more cash with him on his upcoming trip.
He’s likely to hang around longer than most expect.
— E-mail: chuffman@