Iron Man Finally Has to Concede

By George WhiteJuly 21, 2005, 4:00 pm
I imagine we all know a guy like Dana Quigley. Lets see someone retired, someone who loves sports, someone who hangs out at the club and plays golf every day, all day.
The only difference between that guy and D. Quigley is Quigley gets paid for it. And if he isnt getting paid, it doesnt matter. He plays golf anyway.
But Quigley is not getting paid today. And he probably isnt playing golf. The Champions Tour is in Scotland where the old boys are playing the Senior British Open. The Quig is home in Florida, pacing around the living room, hardly believing that his senior buddies are going to play without him.
Old age, you see, has finally caught up with him. He has a balky hip now, something that started last month, and that plus a series of misadventures meant that he didnt make the trip overseas. It ended a streak of 278 events for which he was eligible, and 264 Champions Tour tournaments over-all. He wasnt eligible for the Champions Tour Charles Schwab Championship event the first year the streak started.
Despite the bad hip which would have been made even worse by an overseas flight, Quigley had decided to make the flight and postpone the final decision on playing until he got to Scotland. But his flight from Providence, R.I., to Aberdeen was postponed Sunday night, and Quigley could not be sure of getting another flight Monday.
He mulled over the situation, finally decided to take it as a sign that he really shouldnt go anyway, and headed home.
His 58-year-old body just cant take this kind of pounding, Dana finally was forced to admit. Actually, there were several times the last 2-3 years that he probably should have rested. Little creaks and groans began emanating from the body. And it all just compounded to the tournament this week, which he was finally forced to sit out.
Actually, it should have ended last year. He lent his driver to a corporate acquaintance at the Tampa tournament, the acquaintance broke it, and Quigley overdid it while trying to adjust to the new one. I mean, it was stupid, I know better than that, he conceded, but I was having so much fun hitting them, I just kept whacking them.
He hurt his elbow. The next week was an off-week, and Quigley went home to the Miami area ' and proceeded to play as always as per his off-week custom. That means at least 36-54 holes per day. The elbow puffed up, but when the tour went to Mexico the next week, there was ol Quigley. By favoring my right elbow I tore all the muscles in my back, he said. I dont know if torn is the right word, but I definitely hurt it.
But there was the streak to consider. He should have headed for home without hitting another shot. But that is not Quigley. So he stayed, gritted his teeth, and played. Call it pride, call it something else, but the streak survived intact.
I never really felt it was as important as my family does ' they are all into it, my friends are all into it, he said.
My wife put it this way ' she said, You know, theyre talking about you all over the world. They arent able to talk about my golf, so I got to have something.
He used to feel nearly immortal. Now he feels decidedly mortal. All these nagging injuries have forced him to slow down and realize that a 58-year-old man just doesnt have the body of a 28-year-old man.
Its just really getting old, he said with a sigh. As I get older Im finding out that I do have some limits. Im gonna have to calm down a bit.
Quigley began the streak eight years ago, in 1997. And amazingly, this year was shaping up as his best ever. He is first on the money list with $1,380,840 and has already won two tournaments this year ' to go with eight others during the streak.
Now, he has new respect for his own mortality and for his age. But still, next week when the Champions Tour returns to the States for the U.S. Senior Open, he will be right back on the tee.
I never thought age was ' I thought I was as young as ' yeah, I play golf every day, thats what I do, he said. It never has been a hindrance. This just shows me that I got to slow it down a little.
I am not invincible ' every morning when I get up, I feel like Im Superman. But when I go to bed at night, I feel l feel like Im Lois Lane.
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Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers

By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:54 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.

Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.

While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.

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“It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”

Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.

“I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”

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Rory tired of the near-misses, determined to close

By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:46 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy has returned to the Travelers Championship with an eye on bumping up his winning percentage.

McIlroy stormed from the back of the pack to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, but that remains his lone worldwide win since the 2016 Tour Championship. It speaks to McIlroy’s considerable ability and lofty expectations that, even with a number of other high finishes this season, he is left unsatisfied.

“I feel like I’ve had five realistic chances to win this year, and I’ve been able to close out one of them. That’s a bit disappointing, I guess,” McIlroy said. “But at least I’ve given myself five chances to win golf tournaments, which is much more than I did last year.”

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The most memorable of McIlroy’s near-misses is likely the Masters, when he played alongside Patrick Reed in Sunday’s final group but struggled en route to a T-5 finish. But more frustrating in the Ulsterman’s eyes were his runner-up at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, when he led by two shots with eight holes to go, and a second-place showing behind Francesco Molinari at the BMW PGA Championship in May.

“There’s been some good golf in there,” he said. “I feel like I let Dubai and Wentworth get away a little bit.”

He’ll have a chance to rectify that trend this week at TPC River Highlands, where he finished T-17 last year in his tournament debut and liked the course and the tournament enough to keep it on his schedule. It comes on the heels of a missed cut at the U.S. Open, when he was 10 over through 11 holes and never got on track. McIlroy views that result as more of an aberration during a season in which he has had plenty of chances to contend on the weekend.

“I didn’t necessarily play that badly last week. I feel like if I play similarly this week, I might have a good chance to win,” McIlroy said. “I think when you play in conditions like that, it magnifies parts of your game that maybe don’t stack up quite as good as the rest of your game, and it magnified a couple of things for me that I worked on over the weekend.”

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Sunday run at Shinnecock gave Reed even more confidence

By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:08 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – While many big names are just coming around to the notion that the Travelers Championship is worth adding to the schedule, Patrick Reed has been making TPC River Highlands one of his favorite haunts for years.

Reed will make his seventh straight appearance outside Hartford, where he tied for fifth last year and was T-11 the year before that. He is eager to get back to the grind after a stressful week at the U.S. Open, both because of his past success here and because it will offer him a chance to build on a near-miss at Shinnecock Hills.

Reed started the final round three shots off the lead, but he quickly stormed toward the top of the leaderboard and became one of Brooks Koepka’s chief threats after birdies on five of his first seven holes. Reed couldn’t maintain the momentum in the middle of the round, carding three subsequent bogeys, and ultimately tied for fourth.

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It was a bittersweet result, but Reed is focusing on the positives after taking a couple days to reflect.

“If you would have told me that I had a chance to win coming down Sunday, I would have been pleased,” Reed said. “I felt like I just made too many careless mistakes towards the end, and because of that, you’re not going to win at any major making careless mistakes, especially on Sunday.”

Reed broke through for his first major title at the Masters, and he has now finished fourth or better in three straight majors dating back to a runner-up at the PGA last summer. With another chance to add to that record next month in Scotland, he hopes to carry the energy from last week’s close call into this week’s event on a course where he feels right at home.

“It just gives me confidence, more than anything,” Reed said. “Of course I would have loved to have closed it out and win, but it was a great week all in all, and there’s a lot of stuff I can take from it moving forward. That’s how I’m looking at it.”

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Koepka back to work, looking to add to trophy collection

By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 8:53 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Days after ensuring the U.S. Open trophy remained in his possession for another year, Brooks Koepka went back to work.

Koepka flew home to Florida after successfully defending his title at Shinnecock Hills, celebrating the victory Monday night with Dustin Johnson, Paulina Gretzky, swing coach Claude Harmon III and a handful of close friends. But he didn’t fully unwind because of a decision to honor his commitment to the Travelers Championship, becoming the first player to tee it up the week after a U.S. Open win since Justin Rose in 2013.

Koepka withdrew from the Travelers pro-am, but he flew north to Connecticut on Wednesday and arrived to TPC River Highlands around 3 p.m., quickly heading to the driving range to get in a light practice session.

“It still hasn’t sunk in, to be honest with you,” Koepka said. “I’m still focused on this week. It was just like, ‘All right, if I can get through this week, then I’m going to be hanging with my buddies next week.’ I know then maybe it’ll sink in, and I’ll get to reflect on it a little bit more.”

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Koepka’s plans next week with friends in Boston meant this week’s event outside Hartford made logistical sense. But he was also motivated to play this week because, plainly, he hasn’t had that many playing opportunities this year after missing nearly four months with a wrist injury.

“I’ve had so many months at home being on the couch. I don’t need to spend any more time on the couch,” Koepka said. “As far as skipping, it never crossed my mind.”

Koepka’s legacy was undoubtedly bolstered by his win at Shinnecock, as he became the first player in nearly 30 years to successfully defend a U.S. Open title. But he has only one other PGA Tour win to his credit, that being the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open, and his goal for the rest of the season is to make 2018 his first year with multiple trophies on the mantle.

“If you’re out here for more than probably 15 events, it gives you a little better chance to win a couple times. Being on the sidelines isn’t fun,” Koepka said. “Keep doing what we’re doing and just try to win multiple times every year. I feel like I have the talent. I just never did it for whatever reason. Always felt like we ran into a buzzsaw. So just keep plugging away.”