NEWPORT BEACH, California -- Jerry Kelly never made it to the first tee Sunday for the final round of the PGA Tour Champions Toshiba Classic. But his absence was understandable.
The Charles Schwab Cup earnings leader rushed home to Madison with wife Carol to be with his biggest and proudest fan -- his father, Jack. The elder Kelly was placed into hospice care at Agrace HospiceCare in Fitchburg over the weekend, family members confirmed Sunday, and his condition overnight prompted his son to withdraw before his 1 p.m. CST tee time.
Jack Kelly died Monday at 12:50 p.m. CDT. He was 85.
According to family members, in lieu of a memorial service, there will be a St. Patrick's Day celebration Saturday at Maple Bluff CC in Madison.
Kelly, who opened with back-to-back 70s, was six shots behind leader Tom Pernice, Jr. after 36 holes. Vijay Singh birdied his final hole Sunday to shoot a 5-under-par 66 in the final round and beat Pernice (69) and Tommy Tolles (65) by one shot for his first PGA Tour Champions win.
Despite withdrawing, Kelly held onto the No. 1 spot in the Schwab Cup standings, remaining $17,710 ahead of second-place David Toms. Madison’s Steve Stricker, who spent the weekend playing at the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship following his first PGA Tour Champions win last week at the Cologuard Classic, slipped to No. 3 -- $26 ahead of fourth-place Joe Durant.
How big an influence has Jack Kelly been on his son and his golf career?
As an amateur, Jerry Kelly won just one Wisconsin State Golf Association event on his own ball -- the 1989 WSGA state match-play championship. That was two years after he won his only other WSGA title by teaming up with his dad to capture the low-gross division at the WSGA Pater-Filius (Father-Son) Championship at what is now the River Club of Mequon.
The PGA Tour Champions is idle this week before the next event on the senior schedule, the Rapiscan Systems Classic, which is March 23 through 25 in Biloxi, Mississippi.