Kelly, 19th Hole spice up a Hubba Bubba time for golf

Unless it’s a major, I usually don’t spent a lot of time watching golf on television.

But Sunday, feeling a bit logy after a week-long battle with the Northwest crud, I jumped on the treadmill and clicked the tube on just as Bubba Watson was preparing to hit his driver on the par-5, 13th at Torrey Pines. My dog jumped when I let out an OMG!  And that was before they said he’d hit it 363 yards. That swing, the finish and the power Bubba generated — he just exploded on it. I’m surprised the golf ball was in one piece. He almost inspired me to ditch my sometimes-trusty 3-iron and learn how to hit a driver. Almost.

But whether you’re a golf or not, it’s hard not to pull for a guy named Bubba, and it seems like it just might be his time. Sunday’s win was only his second on tour, but I won’t be surprised if he wins three or four more times this year.

And if you don’t like Bubba, there’s always Johnny Vegas, who has a victory and has already desposited $1.2 million into his account after five events. Where’d this cool cat come from? Golf, all of a sudden, has a bunch of guys not named Tiger who are fun to pull for. And they’ve got some personality to go with it, which makes it even better.

But back to the headline of this post: Kelly spices up …. (well, you saw it).

Of course, I’m talking about Troy Kelly, who learned the game at the Kitsap Golf & Country Club. If you’ve followed his story at all, you know he earned his PGA Tour card for the 2009 season, but lost it after cashing in on only three of his 17 starts. He had some success on the Nationwide Tour, but an arthritic hip caught up with him about the time he hit the ripe old age of 30. Tough break.

Well, Troy finally opted for hip replacement surgery. Had it done in September and now he’s back. I mean, he’s really back.

I wrote about the 63-63-58 he shot at The Plantation Golf Club in Indio, Calif., and how he was going to try a few Monday qualifers on the PGA Tour. If you missed it, click here. He shot 72 in San Diego last week, not good enough to make it to the Farmers Insurance Open that Bubba won.

Kelly fired a 5-under 67 on Monday at the McCormick Ranch Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz, during the Waste Management Phoenix Open Qualifier. It left him tied for first. That’s pretty good, but it’s still not good enough. He’s in a six-way tie for first and returns to the Pine Course at McCormick on Tuesday for a sudden-death playoff. Three of the six will survive and move on to the main event.

Any week’s a good week for Kelly to get back on the PGA Tour, which is where he ultimately wants to be on a permanent basis, but he might have some extra karma going for him this week. Kelly’s 19th Hole Sports Bar and Grill, located in downtown Chico, is opening this Friday. It’s owned by his dad, Bob Kelly, and managed by his brother, Ryan Kelly, who is probably the second-best player to come out Kitsap over the last 30-40 years. Stepbrother, Andy Kelly, is the chef.

How cool would it be for Troy Kelly to pop up on the big screen during this week’s broadcast of the Phoenix Open while family and friends are celebrating the grand opening of the 19th Hole, which sits behind the 11th green and 12th tee at Kitsap Golf & Country Club.

Kelly’s got a 50-50 chance. Six players, three positions.

Even if he doesn’t make it into the field, you get the feeling there’s a comeback story brewing here for the golfer from Bremerton.

It’s hard

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