Hale Irwin is 60 years old now, and he stands No. 2 on this years money list with earnings of $1,929,846. And the money leader is a man who is 58 years old. Dana Quigley has earned $2 million-plus this year - $2,041,758.
They are two of the 30 who will play the Charles Schwab Cup Championship this week at Sonoma, Cal. Irwin, of course, was a standout on the regular tour when he won three U.S. Opens.
Quigley was not.
Quigley played the regular tour from 1977 to 1982. It would be kind to say he was just mediocre during that period. He went to the qualifying school three times, then finally gave up on the regular tour experience and became a club pro in Rhode Island.
And, he doesnt look back on those memories with a great deal of fondness.
I was a pretty solid party kind of guy, said Quigley, with not a trace of braggadocio. Party guy, you figure, could be translated to big boozer.
Times have certainly changed since he gave the Champions a try in 1997.
I haven't had a drink in 15 years, he said. That's been huge for me. That's been the biggest change in my life.
At the golf course, he drank for moral support. Quigley had something of an inferiority complex.
When I was out there in those days I was very intimidated by all the players. All the top, all the big stars, he said. I would get to a point where I wouldn't even practice on the range next to any of them. I really just didn't think I belonged and I made sure I sabotaged myself with alcohol and staying out at night so that I made sure that I didn't belong.
But Quigley, who is one of the all-time good-time guys, eventually figured out that he had a problem. Alcohol was taking its toll on his psyche, and he had to overcome it.
I think that I think it took on my part a lot of growing up to do to figure out that potentially my game would be good enough to play out here with these guys, Quigley said.
But get over he did, and now has won almost $12 million from golf. Quigley realizes that purses have been vastly inflated, but thats more than Jack Nicklaus, more than Arnold Palmer, made in their careers.
I have to pinch myself still every day, he said. I really haven't had time to reflect on it. Every round of golf that I play, I still can't believe that I'm good enough to compete with these guys, if you could possibly believe that.
And how did he do that ' how did he decide to lay off the alcohol and start trusting his clubs? He credits Bob Rotella, who handles the mental aspect of the game for a number of golfers.
Bob Rotella absolutely transformed me from being afraid of all these guys to believing in my own self and trusting my own game, Quigley said. And for some reason he flipped a switch in me that I was able to go out there and hit balls along, play against Hale Irwin and guys like that and not be intimidated. I can't tell you what he said or how we did it, but honest to goodness, from when I went, I went to him in November of '96, I turned 50.
The PGA of America was - I turned 50 on the Monday of the '97 PGA Senior Championship and they gave me an exemption. And that was the start of all this. And to be honest with you, I can't possibly even begin to guess how, why this happened to me or how. I've been certainly blessed by the Lord in more ways than one. I just can't say enough that I just feel like I'm out here to try to somehow bridge the gap between the players and the gallery and the fans and the marshals.