2006: Forcaddie - Tom, did I mention I’m Irish?

The Forecaddie cannot remember a non-election year when he has seen so much rampant campaigning, but the Ryder Cup race officially has gone full throttle, with nary a putt dropping from Hamburg to Milwaukee without some sort of September implications being mentioned.

The latest to make a late audition plea to U.S. captain Tom Lehman is Jerry Kelly (pictured above), a tough-as-nails former hockey player who got a sip of international team play at the Presidents Cup in South Africa three years ago. He’d love to jump on that U.S. charter bound for Ireland in September.

By finishing second in his home-state U.S. Bank Championship, Kelly moved from 22nd to 12th in the points standings, just a few points behind Vaughn Taylor. With the newfangled points system, Chi Chi Rodriguez still could make the team with a good week in Flint. (OK, maybe not.)

“The next couple of weeks are huge for me because I think I have a legitimate chance to make the team,” Kelly said.

So what will Kelly do during these huge weeks? Take them off. In skipping the Buick Open and the International, he plans to recharge, work out, work on his game and make a couple of scouting trips to Medinah, site of the PGA Championship Aug. 17-20, the last event before Lehman finalizes his Dirty Dozen.

“The best chance for me to qualify on points is to take two weeks off and win the PGA,” Kelly said. “If I go play somewhere I don’t want to be, it’ll hurt me.”

Kelly’s message to Capt. America: Vote for me.

“What I can bring to the team with heart can be backed up with game now,” said Kelly.

“I’m excited.”

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