Golf Talk

Written by Lee Barfknecht
Omaha World Herald
August 4, 2005


John HurleyThe buzz about high school golf star John Hurley of O'Neill, Neb., continues. Consider these items:

The 18-year-old this week qualified for the U.S. Amateur. In a 15-man field, Hurley shot a 143 in a 36-hole qualifier in Aberdeen, S.D., then won a one-hole playoff with a par.

The U.S. Amateur, open to anyone with a 2.4 handicap index or less, will be played Aug. 22 through 28 at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.

About two weeks ago, Hurley visited Sieckmann Golf Labs, the golf performance and teaching center in Omaha recently opened by former PGA Tour pro Tom Sieckmann.

Hurley's swing speed was clocked at 134 mph.

Said Sieckmann: "There may be only 30 or 40 people in the world with that speed."

Hurley's tie for fifth place in last week's Nebraska men's amateur caused chatter among other contestants.

"John Hurley has more talent and potential than anyone I've seen," said Omaha attorney Tom Kelly. "The sky is the limit for him.

"He'll be playing in tournaments a lot bigger than this some day."

Kelly played collegiately at Creighton. For one year, his teammate was Omaha Scott Gutschewski, now a PGA Tour pro.

"Scott will probably kill me for saying this," Kelly said, "but Hurley hits it farther than Scott does."

When told of Kelly's comments this week, Gutschewski shrugged and smiled and said: "He probably does hit it farther."

Gutschewski is ranked fifth on the PGA Tour in driving distance at 306.5 yards.s Scott Hend is first at 318.3 yards and Tiger Woods second at 313.

Last week at the state men's amateur, Hurley drove the dogleg 370-yard first hole at Omaha Country Club. He also had drives of 335 and 350 yards on the par-5 16th.

You can't have any serious talk about long drives without discussing equipment. So here are the specs on Hurley's driver.

It's a Titleist 905S, with 8.5 degrees of loft and a 45-inch Grafalloy X-stiff shaft.