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By Drew Markol, TSN Contributor - Archive - Email
Nobody asked me, but...
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Originally, today's column was going to be about Notre Dame's Manti Te'o getting hosed by the Heisman voters.

Or how good Peyton Manning has been, despite 17 neck surgeries, for the Denver Broncos so far.

But the Te'o beef and the Manning praise can be talked about another day.

We have weeks before Notre Dame plays Alabama for the national title and nearly two months before Manning leads Denver to a Super Bowl win.

With the holiday season upon us, and dreams of sugar plums in our heads, let's look at all sports and one wish.

The wish being, If you could be any professional athlete, whom would you pick?

Now, you could pick a dead guy, but that kind of takes away the fun. I'm thinking more among the living.

Ask your buddies and you'll likely hear they want to be Tom Brady.

Lots of Super Bowl rings.

A spot in the Hall of Fame waiting for him.

Vaults full of money.

And, last but surely not least, a supermodel wife at home.

Wow, that's a pretty good argument to be Tom Brady, but I'm going to go a little more obscure. In fact, we'll go way more obscure.

Given my choice, I'd have to go with Jerry Kelly.

Who?

Yes, Jerry Kelly, the golfer.

After you stop laughing, and after you realize that no 350 pound defensive linemen are hitting you like they hit Brady, Kelly is not a bad guy to be - for several reasons.

The first is obscurity.

He's never won a major, although he did tie for fifth once at The Masters and tied for seventh at the U.S. Open, both in 2007.

By not winning a biggie, he gets left alone.

Also, just a few weeks back, he didn't make news because he finished 126th on the PGA Tour's money list for 2012. For those that don't follow pro golf that closely, the top 125 finishers on the cash list keep their Tour cards for the following season.

The players beneath that number are in limbo, a perfect spot for Kelly (although he's really not in limbo).

Now, today, he might not be thrilled with that finish, but the guy can play, flat out.

Watch him get out to a good (but not great) start in January and go on a little run.

The second reason (and maybe this should be the first) is that Kelly is loaded. He's won over 20 million bucks playing golf (so you can never feel sorry for him) and there will be more to come.

Because he's won so much, he can use a career money list exemption to get into events in 2013. That's why limbo is not a problem.

And that career money total? It's really over 23 million and puts Kelly 25th all-time, yes, all-time, on the PGA Tour's money list.

OK, let's get this straight.

Nobody, except the diehard fan recognizes him, and he's loaded. Perfect. He can walk through airports at his leisure.

He can play any golf course in the world because of what he's done (the guy has three PGA tournament titles to his name) and have nobody bothering him. Plus, he's only 46 years old.

Kelly can keep playing, and cashing checks, on the PGA Tour for a few more years and then shift to the Champions Tour and keep raking it in.

Does it get any better than that? I'd have to say no.

And the best thing about him? Everybody likes the guy. He's funny and friendly and gets it. Kelly realizes he gets to play a game for a living. Not enough pro athletes ever reach that conclusion.

And we can't stress this point enough he also never gets chased by an irate lineman looking to remove his head from his body.

You can't put a price on that. Or, well, maybe you can.



Drew Markol has been a sportswriter and columnist for several newspapers in the Philadelphia area for more than 25 years.

Copyright 2012