Quigley is ultimate Ironman

Like Ripken and Gehrig, Dana Quigley never misses a day of work. And he likes it that way.

Originally Published: July 7, 2004
By Bob Harig | Special to ESPN.com

Dana Quigley actually thought about skipping a tournament once. Well, maybe more than once. But he remembers this time in 1999 when his sports psychologist, Bob Rotella, told him he should take a week off.

Quigley tried. He stayed home in Florida, but by Wednesday of tournament week, he couldn't stand it. Quigley boarded a plane for Indianapolis, where that week's event was being played, got in the Thursday pro-am and played again. And he has never stopped.

Where they're playing

This week:
133rd Open Championship
Troon, Scotand
Royal Troon (7,175 yards, par 71).
Thursday: 7 a.m.-7 p.m. ET (TNT)
Friday.: 7 a.m.-7 p.m. ET (TNT)
Saturday: 7-9 a.m. (TNT); 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (ABC)
Sunday: 6-8 a.m. (TNT); 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (ABC)
Defending champ:
Ben Curtis

This week:
B.C. Open
Endicott, N.Y.
En-Joie GC
(6,974 yards, par 72)
$3 million (Winner: $540,000)
Thursday: 4-6 p.m. ET (USA)
Friday: 4-6 p.m. ET (USA)
Saturday: 3-6 p.m. ET (USA)
Sunday: 3-6 p.m. ET (USA)
Defending champ:
Craig Stadler

This week:
Giant Eagle LPGA Classic
Vienna, Ohio
Squaw Creek CC
(6,454 yards, par 72)
$1 million (Winner: $150,000)
Defending champ:
Rachel Teske

This week:
Pete Dye West Virginia Classic
Bridgeport, W.Va.
Pete Dye Golf Club (7,248 yards, par 72)
$600,000 (Winner: $108,500)
Thursday: 1:30-4 p.m. ET (TGC)
Friday: 1:30-4 p.m. ET (TGC)
Saturday: 5-7:30 p.m. ET (TGC)
Sunday: 5-7:30 p.m. ET (TGC)
Inaugural event

Oh, there was the close call earlier this year when his elbow was bothering him. But Quigley played through it, keeping alive a seven-year streak of competing in every Champions Tour event.

When he tees off this week at the Ford Senior Players Championship in Dearborn, Mich., Quigley, 57, will make the 250th consecutive start for which he has been eligible. And it will be his 236th straight tournament overall.

"All I think about is golf," said Quigley, who has won eight Champions Tour events and more than $9.7 million. "When I get home at night, I'm thinking about something that might improve my game for tomorrow. It's what I do. It's all I do. I'm about as passionate now as the day I started this tour."

For Quigley, there is no offseason. Far from it. During the winter in West Palm Beach, Quigley said he averages 45 holes per day.

"I'm still the first off the tee every morning at 7:15," he said. "My car is in the first spot and it stays there all day. I challenge myself to hit the ball where I'm looking. Fortunately, my health has been good. I haven't been hurt. It's my passion. You have to really kind of kick me off the golf course."

Quigley's peers shake their heads, but have come to appreciate what he is all about.

"They all think I'm nuts," Quigley said. "But they've finally figured out this is what I am. It's not something I force myself to do, or I have to do to live up to my reputation. They understand that I truly enjoy playing golf."

Five Things To Watch

Vijay Singh defends his title at the John Deere Classic, with his eye on next week's British Open.

Jay Haas, 12th in the Ryder Cup team standings, will try to improve his position by playing the John Deere, skipping a Champions Tour major championship.

Meg Mallon, fresh off her U.S. Women's Open victory, tries to stay on a roll at the LPGA Canadian Women's Open.

The Champions Tour has its second major of the year, the Ford Senior Players Championship, where Craig Stadler is the defending champ and Peter Jacobson makes only his third start of the season.

A strong field, including Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els, has assembled at the Scottish Open, played at Loch Lomond near Glasgow.

At the TPC at Deere Run in Silvis, Ill., players know they have to go low. Vijay Singh won the tournament last year with a total of 268, 16 under par -- and that was the highest winning total in the four-year history at Deere Run. J.P. Hayes shot 262 in 2002. The course does have some challenges, however, including the par-4 finishing hole, a dogleg that measures 463 yards. The tournament has moved to July from last year's September time slot, but it remains to be seen how the date change will affect things. It makes things a bit easier on the golfers who just played in the Western Open, but presents problems for those headed to next week's British Open. The tournament, which dates to 1972 when it was known as the Quad Cities Open, has enjoyed renewed success at its relatively new venue. Players generally like the TPC layout.
Michelle Wie
At one point in the tournament, she led the field in birdies. Her name was consistently on the leaderboard. And she had some of the biggest crowds following her.

Is there any doubt that Michelle Wie deserved her special exemption to last week's U.S. Women's Open?

Sure, it rubbed some LPGA players the wrong way; the USGA had typically given such free passes to players who had already made their mark.

But if the USGA is trying to grow the game, bring more attention to the sport, what better way to do so than give a spot to a 14-year-old prodigy?

At times, it was easy to forget her age. Wie appears so natural out there. You have to catch yourself questioning her strategy and rememeber that she is so young. What a future.

Now she says she'll try to qualify for next year's men's U.S. Open. Meanwhile, no special exemption will be necessary for the Women's Open. By tying for 13th, she earned her way into the field.

Bob HarigGot a question about the PGA Tour? Ask ESPN.com golf writer Bob Harig, who will answer a few of your inquiries in each installment of This Week in Golf.
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Your comment:

Q. I'll be the first to admit that Tiger Woods is a victim of his own success, but it still seems clear that for the better part of a year and a half, he's not the best golfer in the world. So why are the world rankings so weighted on past performances that he continues to be ranked No.1, and by a considerable margin at that?
Jeoff Demos
Tacoma, Wash.

A. Woods might not be the best player right now, but he built up such a huge lead in the standings, it would take a huge fall for him to be passed. And it's finally on the verge of happening. Despite Woods' lack of victories, he still makes every cut, still posts a lot of top-10s. And he does so in tournaments that have a strong field. If Ernie Els had won the U.S. Open, he would have passed Woods. Yes, the world rankings are weighted on past performance, but players still get more credit for what they do now than in the past, which says something about Woods' consistency.

Q. I know Casey Wittenberg got some bad press for how he acted at last summer's U.S. Amateur. With his recent decision to turn pro, is he mature enough to make the jump? Also, what's been the impression of how he has acted this year in the few pro tournaments that he's played in?
Lance Peters
Eastport, N.Y.

A. Wittenberg handled himself quite well at the Masters, where he tied for 13th to earn low amateur honors and receive an invitation to the 2005 Masters. Wittenberg missed the cut in his pro debut at the Western Open, so he's got some work to do if he is going to earn his PGA Tour card without going to the qualifying tournament. But so far, so good.

Q. The one rule that I believe has to change is allowing one's caddy to align a player to play a shot. That's not golf. Alignment is probably the key fundamental that every player, professional and amateur, constantly battles. To have someone line you up in competition I think is just plain cheating, especially on the putting green. I know the player still has to make the stroke or swing, but they are professional golfers, aren't they? It amazes me that such a firm stand against Casey Martin in his fight to be allowed a cart was hinged on walking being "an integral part of the game". In my opinion, being responsible for your own alignment is just as, if not more, "integral." Your thoughts?
Mike Smyth
Livermore, Calif.

A. Helping a player line up, whether in the fairway or on the green, seems to be against the spirit of the game. That should be for practice rounds. Part of the skill involved would seem to be lining yourself up correctly. As most amateurs know, that is often the biggest part of the battle.

Bob Harig covers golf for the St. Petersburg Times and is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com. He can be reached at harig@sptimes.com.

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com