DUBLIN, Ohio — Skip Kendall already has been through 36 holes of qualifying for the U.S. Open, and he still has another 36 holes to go.
The 50-year-old is pulling double duty this year.
Kendall, who earned over $8 million in 13 full seasons on the PGA Tour without ever winning, had a busy May even though he officially played one tournament. He tied for 34th in the Senior PGA Championship in Indiana.
The week before leaving for the Senior PGA, he made a 20-foot birdie putt on his last hole and made it through an 18-hole local qualifier for the U.S. Open. The week after the Senior PGA, he earned one of three spots in an 18-hole sectional qualifier that got him into the U.S. Senior Open.
Next up for the 50-year-old Kendall is a 36-hole sectional qualifier in Purchase, New York, to get into the U.S. Open. In a perfect world, he’ll tee it up at Chambers Bay for the U.S. Open on June 11-14, and then play the U.S. Senior Open the following week at Del Paso in Sacramento, California.
“Honestly, my focus is more on the Champions Tour and Senior Open right now than the regular U.S. Open,” he said. “That being said, I’d still love to play the U.S. Open. I’ve always given the U.S. Open a shot and I’ve played in five of them.”
His most recent U.S. Open appearance was at Winged Foot in 2006, where he tied for 59th. Part of the desire to play in this U.S. Open is that his swing coach, Brian Mogg, has a teaching academy at Chambers Bay.
“Obviously, it would make it a little more special to play at Chambers with all he has going on there,” Kendall said.
But it wasn’t easy, and that was before he made it through U.S. Open qualifying.
Kendall doesn’t have exempt status on the Champions Tour and played one event in February before getting a spot in Indiana in the Senior PGA, which forced him to find a U.S. Open qualifier that didn’t conflict with an important week on the 50-and-older circuit.
He picked the qualifier in Lake Mary, Florida, which offered only three spots. Kendall shot 5-under 67 for a two-way tie for second to advance.
Kendall signed up for the U.S. Open sectional qualifier in Columbus because he knows the courses. That’s where PGA Tour players typically play, and it’s a large field that usually offers 15 or more spots. But there wasn’t room, so he’s off to New York and a qualifier that likely will have four spots.
It’s a long road, which he knew going in. But at least he has a chance.
“Whether it’s a tour site or one that only has a couple of spots, you’re still going to have to play well,” Kendall said. “I’m not sure one is easier than the other. If you go there and play well, you’re going to get through.”
BACK TO WORK: Steve Williams had every intention of taking an entire year off from caddying. A phone call from Adam Scott changed that.
“It came as a complete out-of-the-blue thing,” Williams said Tuesday from his home in New Zealand.
Since starting his year with a tie for fourth at Doral, this season has been a struggle for the former No. 1 player in the world. Scott missed a cut for the first time in three years and has been middle-of-the-pack at the other tournaments. He abandoned the conventional putter to return to the long putter while it was still allowed. And then after the Colonial, he decided to part ways with new caddie Mike Kerr.
And then called Williams, who worked for him from 2011 until the Tour Championship last year.
Williams had just wrapped up another racing season in New Zealand and his summer schedule was booked with engagement and family plans.
“Before I could even consider it, I had to see if I could change my plans,” he said. “I thought about it quite a bit. I was adamant I wasn’t going to caddie this year. I had other offers, players asking if I was interested, and I said ‘No.’ But given the fact I caddied for Adam, he reached out to me and he’s a good mate of mine, I agreed.”
Williams will be with Scott at his next four events — the U.S. Open, British Open, Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship.
When he gets to Chambers Bay, Williams said it will be the first golf shot he has seen this year. Asked if he had heard of Jordan Spieth, he laughed.
“I didn’t watch any of the Masters,” Williams said. “But I saw it the paper.”
HALL OF FAME: The World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony is getting a live television audience when it goes to St. Andrews this summer.
The ceremony on July 13 will be televised live for the first time since it was held at the new World Golf Village in 1998. It will be shown in the United States by Golf Channel (1 p.m. EDT) and by Sky Sports in Britain (6 p.m. GMT).
British TV personality Di Dougherty, who has a history of working big golf events, will be the host for the induction of Mark O’Meara, Laura Davies, David Graham and the late A.W. Tillinghast.
This is the first time the induction ceremony has been held away from the World Golf Village. It had been in May, November and most recently in conjunction with The Players Championship. Now it is every two years, and the goal of moving it around the world was to raise more awareness and attention.
The ceremony will return to the World Golf Village in 2017 and then go to Pebble Beach in 2019 during U.S. Open week.
KISNER’S HOPE: Kevin Kisner ended last year at No. 236 in the world, and playoff losses at Hilton Head and The Players Championship nearly got him into the U.S. Open. The cutoff for the top 60 getting into the U.S. Open ended after Colonial. Kisner tied for fifth and moved up to No. 61.
He is entered in the 36-hole qualifier next Monday. He also is playing the Memorial.
Effectively, Kisner has two chances — the tournament and the qualifier. The U.S. Open will take the top 60 two weeks from now. If Kisner has a good week and moves into the mid-50s in the world, he likely will stay there and can skip the qualifier.
“I’d rather not have to play on Monday,” Kisner said. “If I just win on Sunday … or if I just birdie every hole to Sunday, I would probably get in the U.S. Open.”
DIVOTS: FedEx has extended its title sponsorship of the St. Jude Classic through 2017. … The Canadian Open will return to Glen Abbey in 2016 in its traditional spot the week after the British Open. The Canadian Open will be held July 21-24 in what figures to be a crowded summer with golf’s return to the Olympics in Rio. … Michelle Wie has withdrawn from the Manulife LPGA Classic this week in Canada because of a recurring hip injury. She missed the cut in her return last week at the ShopRite Classic. … Brian Harman got married last year on Dec. 13 — given the year, that’s written in America as 12-13-14. But the defending champion at the John Deere Classic said that wasn’t the date his bride picked out. “My wife wanted to get married the last weekend in October,” Harman said. “But that was the Georgia-Auburn weekend.” Harman went to Georgia.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Justin Thomas is 135-under par on par 5s, the best score of anyone on the PGA Tour. Next is Daniel Berger at 101-under par.
FINAL WORD: “By changing coaches so much, it led to him renting several swings instead of owning just one, which upset his original goal. But he was very good at renting.” — Steve Williams in an interview with Golf Digest, on former boss Tiger Woods.
Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press