Rhode Island’s Brett Quigley has been one of the hottest golfers during the first third of the PGA Tour season.
Quigley, who will turn 40 this August, began the season inconspicuously, missing the cut in three of his first four tournaments and finishing 57th at the Mayakoba Golf Classic split field event in March. He then finished a solid 12th at the Honda Classic and took off like lightening in a bottle. He posted back-to-back runner-up finishes at the Puerto Rico Open and Transition Championship, earning almost $800,000 in those two tournaments alone and vaulting to 19th on the money list.
Of course, winning money has never really been a problem for Quigley on Tour. In fact, only two other players have won more cash and not won a tournament. He has earned nearly $10 million for his career and recently passed none other than Arnold Palmer on the all-time money list.
“I’ve been playing well all year,” said Quigley, who was born in Devens, Ma., and is a graduate of the University of South Carolina where he was named an Academic All-America twice. “But I didn’t get much out of it at the beginning. I started putting real well at the Honda and turned the corner at the tournament. I stumbled coming down the stretch at the Honda but finished off well in Puerto Rico and the Transitions. I’m playing well and making some key saves and up and downs.”
Asked if his stick-to-it attitude has been a key reason for his success this season, Quigley, the nephew of Champions Tour star and multiple winner Dana Quigley, opined, “Yeah. A buddy called me and said, `If you deal drugs long enough you’re going to get caught, and if you get into position long enough you’re going to win. That’s all I’m trying to do,” referring to the winning a golf tournament, of course.
Quigley, whose father, Paul, is a top New England amateur, had a good season in 2008, making $878,216 and finishing 72nd on the money list. He finished 116th on the list in 2007 after a career year in 2006, during which he won $2.6 million, had 10 top 10 finishes and played in his first Tour Championship.
Although Quigley, a full-line Titleist Tour player, has yet to taste victory on the PGA Tour, he won on the then Buy.com Tour and captured the 1987 U.S. Junior Amateur title.
One of the smaller players on Tour (5-11, 160, pounds), Quigley doesn’t take a back to seat to anyone with the big stick in his hands. In fact, he averaged almost 300 yards a drive in 2001 and finished second to John Daly in driving Distance category that year. He’s averaging around 285 yards a drive this year.
Quigley, who is joined by fellow Rhody residents Brad Faxon, Billy Andrade, Patrick Sheehan and Brad Adamonis on the PGA Tour, is no overnight success story. He turned pro in 1991 and made an impact on the then BUY.Com Tour (two wins) and on the PGA Tour before making it to the big time for good in 2002.
He says, “My goal now is to win. I feel like I’m close.”
Nothing in his Tour statistics jumps out at you, except for the stats that count the most--scoring average (47th) and money won (19th) through March. He also has one of the best putting rankings on Tour, 35th.
“It’s true, you look at my stats and nothing stands out. Sometimes I don’t think the people keeping stats get it right all the time.”
Quigley is proud to be among a 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.”
On the success the tiny state of Rhode Island has had on Tour, Quigley says, “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 adds, “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.”