Kelly made the most of it. One day he made 14 birdies from the reds, and this season he took what he had learned to the Nike tour, which he led in birdies. That translated into his record earnings and, in turn, one of the 10 spots on the 1996 PGA Tour awarded to Nike players.
Allen Doyle, who won the Nike tour championship last week in a playoff with John Maginnes, was No. 2 on the money list and also won a place on the big Tour. Others to qualify were David Toms, Franklin Langham, Stuart Appleby, Tom Scherrer, Chris Smith, Sean Murphy, Hugh Royer III and Brad Fabel.
A bad stretch for the red, white and blue—at last count U.S. teams seem to have misplaced the Ryder, Walker, Solheim and Curtis cups—got worse last week when Ben Crenshaw, Peter Jacobsen and Lee Janzen were annihilated in the Dunhill Cup. Everyone got a piece of the U.S. at St. Andrews. The Americans were swept by Ireland, eliminated by Sweden, then frozen out by Canada to finish last in their group. Only Crenshaw had an excuse. He was rushed from the Old Course on Saturday to catch a flight back home to have a painful kidney infection treated.
For the first time since it debuted in 1987, this week's Tour Championship will have to do without Fred Couples. Only the top 30 money winners compete, and Couples, who hasn't played since the Ryder Cup, is ranked 68th.
Knowing that, the European tour invited Couples to its season-ending equivalent, the Volvo Masters at Valderrama in Spain. Couples, who won Euro tour events in Dubai and Manila to open the season, has declined. Reason: He wants to rest up for the Kapalua International, the World Cup, the Shark Shootout and the Skins Game, silly-season events in which he always makes a killing.
We agree, it's hard to imagine Dr. Dirt cleaning up on the Tour. But the way 40-year-old Brad Bryant has been rubbing the glamour boys' noses in it this year—yes, he will be in Tulsa for the Tour Championship—it's becoming difficult not to take him and his potbelly seriously.
Dirt's big breakthrough, of course, was his win in the Walt Disney World Oldsmobile Classic earlier this month. He had been runner-up seven times since joining the Tour in 1978, but the victory was his first in 486 starts. Now, look out world.
"I think I've become a real threat to win, where for a lot of years, shoot, I was no threat," Bryant says. "I think I'm the most-improved player out here." He attributes the turnaround to David Leadbetter, who revamped his swing. "Before David started working with me, I was on my way off Tour," Bryant says.