From Brian Keogh in Tucson
Jerry Kelly hopes to “kill” Padraig Harrington in a WGC-Accenture Match Play death match in Tucson.
The former ice hockey player is famous for his aggressive, attacking style on the golf course.
And the world No 55 reckons that’ going to the jugular is the only way to get the better of Open champion Harrington on a bomber’s course that doesn’t suit his game.
Itching to get going, Kelly said: “Neither of us give up but he’s is the Open champion so he’s expected to win, right? I have just got to go out and play hard.
“I love matchplay. It’s head to head. Kill or be killed. I play the man all the way through. It is more like a boxing match than anything.
“You have to be prepared to change game plan and counter-punch instead of just playing the golf course.
“So I’ll be going for it. It’s all about holing the putts at the end of the day and in this event anyone can beat anyone else.”
Coming off his share of third place in the Los Angeles Open last week, Harrington is happy with his form but worried that he might not last the pace at the Gallery Golf Club outside Tucson where he lost in the second round last year.
He battled the ‘flu at Riviera and reckons the case of shingles he suffered in January has left him vulnerable.
Before taking on Niclas Fasth in a warm-up match, he said: ‘”I am not 100 percent physically at all. I am actually very tired and run down because of the shingles more so than the cold I had.
“Going far this week makes it awkward. But you just have to be ready to play in your very first match or you are knocked out. If you are not 100 percent ready, you are going home early.”
Harrington expects a tough match from Kelly, who he describes as “a dogged player who never gives up.”
The Wisconsin native hasn’t qualified for this event since 2005 but reached the quarter-finals in 2003 and 2004 before taking Sergio Garcia to the 19th in the second round three years ago.
World No 1 Tiger Woods faces big hitting JB Holmes in the first round and confessed: “You just have to step up to the plate and hit shots. You just can’t afford to slip up.”
Seeking his sixth tournament win on the trot, Woods won the matchplay title in 2003 and 2004 but hasn't gone past the third round since.