By John Torsiello Geez, maybe it is something in the water.
Brett Quigley is the latest PGA Tour stud to emerge from the tiny state of Rhode Island. Quigley, the nephew of Champions Tour star Dana Quigley, has enjoyed a superb year in the Big Show, posting a remarkable eight top 10’s since the Verizon Heritage Classic at Hilton Head the week after The Masters.
Quigley, who is joined by fellow Rhody residents Brad Faxon, Billy Andrade and Patrick Sheehan on the PGA Tour, had won almost $2 million going into the 84 Lumber Classic in mid-September and was solidly in the top 30 on the money list, which will earn him a spot in the year-end Tour Championship.
Quigley hasn’t been an overnight success. He turned pro in 1991 and made some noise on the then BUY.Com Tour (two wins) and on the PGA Tour before making it to the majors for good in 2002. Always a solid player, he finished in the top 100 on the PGA Tour money list four times in the five years he played on Tour heading into the 2006 season. Now, he’s poised to join Faxon, Andrade and his uncle as Tour winners.
He was in contention on the final day at the Canadian Open and was paired with eventual winner Jim Furyk. “Q” believes it is only a matter of time before he hoists one of those nice trophies they give out to winners.
“Playing with Jim the last two days and getting to see him handle the pressure and compare my game to his told me that I’m not very far away,” said Quigley, as he prepared to head off to Pennsylvania for the 84 Lumber Classic. “He didn’t play perfect on the final day but he made putts when he had to. He beat me by three strokes in the end and I stood toe to toe with the world’s number two player.”
He continued, “My goal now is to win. I feel like I’m close and the fact that I have eight tops 10’s (fourth best on the Tour) since Hilton Head tells you something.”
Quigley’s spirits and confidence received a huge boost when U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman gave him a call in early September.
“Tom called and said that he wasn’t picking me for the Ryder Cup. It was disappointing but it was also encouraging that I was in the running for a spot. I thought it was a real nice gesture on his part to call and talk to me about it.”
Quigley’s run this season has been highlighted by a third at the Barclay’s Classic, fourth place finishes at the Canadian Open and the Bank of America Colonial, a fifth at the Verizon Heritage and a sixth at the Booz Allen Classic.
Ironically, his early season results would not have prepared an onlooker for what was to come. Of the nine events he played in prior to the Verizon Heritage he missed the cut in five, and his best finish was a 16th at the Buick Invitational.
And nothing among his statistics jumps out at you, except for the stats that count the most--scoring average (14th) and money won (26th). He also has one of the best final round scoring averages (sixth at 69.67) on Tour, a number that bodes well for his winning in the near future.
“It’s true, you look at my stats and nothing stands out. I think I’m driving it better than the stats would indicate (87th in distance and 187th in accuracy) and I’m more confident with the driver than I have been in the past. Sometimes I don’t think the people keeping stats get it right all the time.”
Quigley is pleased to be among the band of brothers on Tour from Rhode Island.
“There really is a fraternal feeling among us guys in Rhode Island. I know Brad and Billy have said that Dana inspired them, and myself and Patrick were inspired by Billy and Brad and they success they have had on Tour. We are always keeping tabs on one another, and if we see each other at events we always talk and encourage one another to do well.”
Any theories on why Little Rhode has produced so many top shelf golfers? (By the way, Brett’s dad, Paul, was a skilled New England amateur.)
“I think some it may stem from the fact that we couldn’t play golf year round growing up and we all played other sports in high school. We were always doing something else in the off-season and we didn’t have a chance to get burned out on the game. And I think having someone like Dana to set the tone and then to be followed by Brad and Bill has inspired younger players like myself and Patrick to follow in their footsteps Maybe we can inspire the young kids coming up today.”
He added, “I think it’s neat that this small state in New England, which when you take all the states is the size of Texas, has produced so many pros. The best thing is that we are all close and root for each other to do well.”