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Golf

Quigley just won't stop swinging

By BOB HARIG
Published February 19, 2004

LUTZ - Dana Quigley actually thought about skipping a tournament once. It was in 1999, when his sports psychologist, Bob Rotella, told him he should take a week off. Quigley tried.

But by Wednesday of tournament week, he could not stand it. He boarded a plane for Indianapolis, site of the tournament, got in the Thursday pro-am and played again. And he has never stopped.

Quigley has played in every Champions Tour event for six seasons. When he tees off in the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am on Friday at the TPC of Tampa Bay, Quigley, 56, makes his 222nd consecutive start. It also will be the 236th straight tournament for which he has been eligible.

"All I think about is golf," said Quigley, who has eight Champions Tour victories and has earned more than $9-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."

Quigley doesn't even put the clubs away in the offseason. He said he averaged 45 holes a day at his home in West Palm Beach.

"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."

NO GRIPES: PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem visited the TPC of Tampa Bay before a meeting Wednesday night with players.

It was five months ago that Finchem was in town to announce Outback was taking over title sponsorship of the 17-year-old event. While he stopped short of saying the tournament could not have continued without Outback, he called it a "good marriage" for the Champions Tour and said he is happy with the pro-am format.

"The golf course is too good, the field that comes here is too good," Finchem said. "It's the right tournament at the right place at the right time. Not playing here was not an option."

COURSE KUDOS: The TPC of Tampa Bay has long been a major selling point of the tournament. This is the 13th year the event will be played at the venue. Sam Torrance, the 2002 European Ryder Cup captain, got his first look at the course this week and was impressed, calling it one of the top 10 he has played.

"It's a wonderful test of golf," Torrance said. "Aesthetically, it's beautiful. Course-wise, it's awesome. The greens are great, very fair. Some of the holes you look at them from the tee ... great design, great position."

PRO-AM: In Wednesday's Jose Cuervo Challenge, the team led by pro Mark McCumber won with a score of 16-under-par 55. McCumber's amateur partners were Ted Speltz, Gary McCorry, Jim Rose and Constance Schwartz.

[Last modified February 19, 2004, 02:00:25]


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