Quigley to Set Mark for Most Successive Events
Mike McCullough set the previous record of 177 straight events, missing the SAS Championships last year in Raleigh, N.C. Recently Senior PGA Tour media official Dave Senko sat down with Quigley and chatted about the streak.
SENKO: HAVE YOU COME CLOSE TO MISSING A TOURNAMENT SINCE YOUR STREAK BEGAN IN 1997?
QUIGLEY: I came close a couple times. I remember distinctly when it was. The first time was probably three years ago when my daughter graduated from high school. I was in Nashville. We hemmed and hawed with it, and she was, 'Daddy, I don't mind if you don't come,' and I knew she did, and I was going to do it.
My wife got the idea to rent a plane. Fortunately she graduated on a Friday night, so we rented a plane, I think it cost me $7,500. I played the round on Friday, flew in, surprised her at her graduation, and flew back that night with my son and played Saturday and Sunday at Nashville. That was a close one.
The other time was when my former caddy and I parted ways. I was pretty down about it. I played the next week and I really just wasn't there, and I talked to Bob Rotella and he told me, 'You've got to take a week off. You have to promise me.'
So I flew home from I think Kansas City, and I wasn't going to play in Indianapolis the next week. That was two years ago. Bob made me promise I wouldn't play. So I put the clubs in the corner, stayed home Monday, Tuesday and by Wednesday, I was pacing, and I flew to Indianapolis. I was scared to death to tell Rotella or have him see my name in the paper.
SENKO: HOW LONG DO YOU PLAN TO CONTINUE THE STREAK?
QUIGLEY: As long as my health holds up. I can't think of not playing golf; not playing in a tournament. I would never take a week off because I didn't feel like playing or didn't like the golf course, because I don't think there's a golf course that I don't like.
I may not be able to play some of them, and maybe some of them I haven't played well in the past, but I would still go there and play. I mean, God, I've got nothing better to do. I've got no life other than golf. I just enjoy playing.
SENKO: WHAT DO YOU ON AN OFF DAY?
QUIGLEY: Play golf. I have no off days from golf. I tell everyone, when the season ends, that's when I'm really going to play some golf. I don't just hold to it 18 holes a day then. As long as the course is open, I can go.
All the years I was a club pro, I would start at 7 o'clock in the morning, and my bag would be on the cart, and if I didn't have lessons, I would be on the course. I would just pick different holes to play. I would go out alone all the time. I would play every day at 12:30, then at 4:30, my lesson book would be open again. Anyone wanted lessons after work, I would teach. If they didn't want lessons, I was on the golf course until dark. That's what I've done all my life.
SENKO: DO YOU REMEMBER THE LAST DAY YOU DIDN'T PLAY GOLF?
QUIGLEY: I can't remember the last day I didn't play golf when I was home in Florida. There are some days I don't play if I'm flying from the east coast to the west coast. But when I'm home, I can't remember.
SENKO: YOU PLAY EVERY DAY, THEN?
QUIGLEY: You kidding? My son just came down this last week, and he came down late on Sunday night and we played 36 holes Monday, we played 45 Tuesday, we played 43 Wednesday, and we played 54 Thursday. So, you know, if I have a choice, I'm going to be on the golf course. I can't get enough of golf.
Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead
New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.
The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up right where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.
"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."
Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.
It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.
Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.
Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore
SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.
Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.
He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.
Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.
Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.
The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.
''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''
Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.
He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.
Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.
Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.
''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''
13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest
Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.
Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.
“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”
Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.
Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings.
McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi
It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.
Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.
Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.
“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”
Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.
“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.
This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.