Quigley Leaves Masters for Birth of First Child

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AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Only one thing could interrupt Brett Quigley's dream week at his first Masters.
 
A beautiful baby girl.
 
Quigley left Augusta National in the middle of his practice round Tuesday after getting a call that his wife, Amy, was about to give birth to the couple's first child, a girl. Amy Quigley had stayed behind at the couple's home in Jupiter, Fla.
 
'Optimistically, I'd love to come back,' he said. 'If everything goes great today or tonight, I'll try to come back either late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, depending on my tee time.
 
'Like I said, it just depends on how momma and the baby are doing.'
 
Quigley's daughter is expected to be born sometime Wednesday morning. He didn't know his tee time when he left Augusta, but when pairings were released -- about an hour later than usual -- he'd been given the second-to-last tee time of the day Thursday, a 2:03 p.m. pairing with Vijay Singh and Hideto Tanihara.
 
And how's this for coincidence: Quigley recently signed an endorsement deal with Talon Air, a private jet service. The company sent a jet to pick him up Tuesday and will return him to Augusta whenever he asks.
 
'Hopefully coming back will be neat,' Quigley said. 'Leaving here -- I'm a little more anxious than I was coming here. It's pretty amazing.'
 
Amy Quigley wasn't due until April 16, so her husband decided to go ahead and play the Masters. After 10-plus seasons on the PGA Tour, he'd finally earned a spot in the field after finishing 20th on the money list last year.
 
But he said he would return home immediately if he got a call that his wife was going into labor.
 
'I'm hoping that little girl stays put until her due date,' Quigley said at Doral.
 
It wasn't to be.
 
'I got a call at 5:30 this morning. She thought there were some problems, so she went to the hospital,' Quigley said. 'But it turned out everything was fine.'
 
After finishing the 11th hole of his practice round, though, he decided to turn on his phone to see if there were any messages. No sooner had he turned it on than it rang.
 
'She said her water broke,' Quigley said, 'so I'm going home.'
 
While Quigley collected his things and tried to make travel arrangements, his father and caddie, Paul, sprinted down to the caddie shack. He had a huge grin on his face as he rushed around, dropping a few items off.
 
'Amy's having the baby!' the soon-to-be grandfather shouted over his shoulder at a friend, who yelled back, 'Congratulations.'
 
Quigley is hardly the first golfer to have one of the biggest events in his life coincide with a major championship.
 
Tiger Woods and his wife, Elin, are expecting their first child this summer. Woods hasn't said when the baby is due, although it would likely be between the U.S. and British opens.
 
If the baby comes during the British Open, Woods has already said he won't be at Carnoustie to seek a third straight title.
 
'If she's going to have it the week of the Open, I just won't go,' he said.
 
Phil and Amy Mickelson were expecting their first child around the 1999 U.S. Open. Phil Mickelson didn't arrive at Pinehurst until the night before the Open began, and said he'd leave the minute he'd hear Amy's water had broken -- even if he was leading the Open.
 
Mickelson lost the Open to Payne Stewart by a stroke. His oldest daughter, Amanda, was born the next day.
 
'He's going to have more Masters, but you will never be able to get back the birth of your first child,' Mickelson said Tuesday. 'It's the most emotional experience that my wife and I have ever shared together, the birth of our three children.
 
'As much as I love the Masters, and revere all the majors, you just can't get that back. That's a once-in-a-lifetime experience.'
 
Quigley couldn't agree more.
 
'I am thrilled,' he said.
 
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