The 2006 edition of the JELD-WEN unreels Aug. 24-27 near Portland, Ore., and Roberts is once again one of the prime favorites. So, by the way, is Quigley.
Quigley is the ultimate survivor, a confirmed golf-a-holic who never quite made a big splash on the PGA Tour. Roberts recalls Quigleys days as Dana tried to make it on the junior circuit.
It was around 80, 81, 82, 83, right around in there, and yeah, I know he came out and tried for two or three years, and I think most of the years he was still Monday qualifying, Roberts said. I remember the guy could shoot 66 every Monday.
You know, he was a really good player then. Unfortunately, I don't know why he didn't stick it out, but that's one thing about professional golf It's tough to stay out here for five, six, seven years economically sometimes to finally break through. Obviously he's broken through because he's really had a great career since he's been out here.
Loren Roberts is on some kind of drug, we don't know what it is yet, but we're all trying to get it, I know that, said Quigley.
Roberts has for sure impressed those who play alongside him on the senior tour. An old veteran like Hale Irwin has seen plenty of pluses in Roberts golf game ' not the least of which is the excellence with which he wields a driver.
I just think hes a good driver of the ball, said Irwin. He doesnt get himself into predicaments. You dont HAVE to drive the ball nine miles out here ' youre not competing against those guys. If youre averaging 300 yards and ranked 40th, you average 300 yards and youre ranked first. So youre not competing against a whole plethora of those younger guys who are driving the ball nine miles and not worried about accuracy, and theyre all hitting wedges to greens.
He drives sufficiently and certainly has a good iron game. His short game, bar none, is one of the best.
His prowess among the elder golfers was well-known before he turned 50. Curtis Strange marveled at Roberts ability to hit all the shots and at his ability to stay competitive with the younger set ' Roberts finished T18 at the Sony, T27 at Verizon and T29 at Barclays on the PGA Tour this year.
I dont think it (his successes on the Champions Tour) surprises anybody, said Strange. Hes still very competitive on the under-50 tour ' if there were a guy who you would think would do that, he would be at the top of the list.
And in addition to Roberts natural ability, there is another reason why he has done so well on the Champions Tour, says Strange. Roberts is one of the seniors who didnt take any time off between his junior tour years and the senior tour.
If you never have a break, then your game never takes a break, said Strange. You stay sharp right up to 50, and then you come right out here. And obviously the competition out here is not the same as on the regular tour, but hes pretty consistent with anybody.
But those whove taken a break ' and I dont care who you are ' it takes awhile to get back. It just takes a year or two to get back and feel more comfortable.
That same assessment could be made of Jay Haas, who is locked in a battle with Roberts for the top spot on the Champions Tour money rankings. Haas, who is actually 52 years old now, has played in six PGA Tour events this year, tying for 22nd at Wachovia in his best effort. Haas also has won three Champions event in a row this year.
As you're seeing the players of the like of Loren Roberts and Jay Haas and Peter Jacobsen, said Irwin, those guys that have come out over the last couple of years, they're bringing not only their persona with them, great personalities, but they're bringing a very strong playing credentials.
'This year it's been Loren and Jay that have really kind of gone and taken the lead. And here in the past it was, of course, myself and Gil Morgan and there have always been players that do that.
Certainly the youngsters havent won everything on the Champions this year. Quigley, Allen Doyle, Tom Kite, Gil Morgan ' all have notched victories this year. Will they win another this year at the JELD-WEN? Or will it be another youngster who will win out West this year?