PGA Tour pros stop on the range and watch Alvaro Quiros hit balls more than they do just about any other player.
It happened again last week at the WGC-CA Championship at the TPC Blue Monster at Doral.
The 27-year-old Spaniard is as much a spectacle as he is a player because he hits it places other pros can’t, like off the rooftop of the Jim McLean Golf Center at the back of the range at Doral, or over the rooftop.
At 6 feet 3, with his long, whiplash of a swing, Quiros led the field in driving distance for the week at Doral, averaging 316 yards per smash, but he’s becoming about more than titanic drives. He’s a three-time European Tour winner who tied for sixth at the WGC-CA Championship, his best finish in a PGA Tour event. He is getting more time in the United States because he has climbed among the top 50 in the world rankings (No. 33 this week), which gets him into majors and World Golf Championships.
Quiros is this week's subject in a Quick Round:
Many of us imagine your swing thoughts must be something like “Kill” or “Decimate” or “Destroy” because you hit the ball so far. Are we close?
No, no, no. I try to be coordinated, to have balance with my swing and the speed.
So you aren’t imagining a missile launch when you waggle over the ball?
No, lately, I’ve been focusing on hitting the ball straight.
Where does your power come from? Is there some sort of hyper-alloy, skeletal-combat chassis beneath your skin?
I have long arms, but what’s important is the coordination and balance with the speed. It’s impossible to hit it long without that.
Is your power a gift, or can normal human beings learn to hit it long?
You can learn. If you are a child, and you practice to swing fast always, the power will come.
I’m guilty of something here and wonder if it annoys you. The focus on your power, does it bother you because it overshadows what a strong player you are becoming? You just tied for sixth at Doral.
I understand. I know people focus on my strength and that’s all, but I think as you become a better player, they start to realize how good you are. So I have to be a better player and people will realize.
What’s the most underrated part of your game?
I’m very skillful around the greens.
What are you working on most right now?
My pace, I play too quickly.
I’ve read where you’re trying to play smarter. There’s been so much focus on young players laying up this year. You hate laying up, don’t you?
Yes, and that’s cost me a lot. If it’s impossible to go for it, I will lay up, but if I know I have even a small chance of getting there, I always go for it. I’m learning.
You were paired with Tom Watson at the Dubai Desert Classic. What did you learn from him?
I learned even if you hit it shorter, you can make a lot of birdies. If I was north, he was south. You could feel how smart he was playing. At the par 5s, he didn’t need to be the closest to the green to make 4s. It’s something I have to learn.
European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie says he has his eye on you, that you’re a player he “wants to see mature into a Ryder Cup player.” You are 10th on the European world points list (top four qualify) and 16th on the European points list (top five qualify). How important is making the team for the October matches in Wales?
Yes, it’s on my mind. It would be one of the most important tournaments that I’d play. At the same time, to be honest, it’s so far away. My scores aren’t what they need to be to play the Ryder Cup today.
You’re becoming more recognized in the United States. Do you want to play the PGA Tour?
I would like to establish myself over here. It’s something I have on my mind, but it’s not going to be possible this year because it is a Ryder Cup year. Also, I have to be happy here. To be honest, I feel lonely here. If I’m going to suffer here, it’s not a good thing. I’m very happy around Europe and being around my colleagues and being in the top 50 in the world. The real tests, I know, are world Golf Championships and majors.
What’s hardest about playing in the United States right now?
Missing family, friends, the culture is different. We have different ways, you know.
What do you like about the United States?
People love spectacular things here, they love action.