2007 Masters: Quigley becomes a father during his first Masters appearance

Augusta, Ga. | Brett Quigley always wanted to play in the Masters, something he’d never done since turning professional in 1991. He also wanted to become a dad, wishing to follow the same tight-knit family model his parents have provided him.

So what happens when one huge aspiration travels at oh, about the speed of light, and just happens to intersect with the other?

Welcome to the Quigley’s whirlwind odyssey at Augusta, which included not one, but two round-trips between Florida and Georgia. A first Masters was great; a first daughter, little Lily, was even better.

“This has been the best week of my life,” Quigley said.

Quigley, 37, was playing a practice round in preparation for his first Masters April 3, standing on the famed 12th tee, when he just happened to check the cell phone he’d sneaked into his golf bag. He turned it on and it was ringing. His buddy, Nationwide Tour player Jason Caron, was on the line.

“You’ve got to go,” Caron told him. Quigley didn’t understand the urgency at first, telling Caron to come out to the back nine to meet him. “No,” responded Caron. “Amy is in labor.”

Amy is Quigley’s wife. Her due date was April 16, and she was miles away at home in Jupiter, Fla.

Quigley hurriedly changed his shoes, hustled to the local airport in Augusta where a private plane awaited, and took off for the longest 1-hour, 20-minute flight of his life. By about 5:25 p.m., he was running into Jupiter Medical Center, hoping he wasn’t too late.

As it turns out, Quigley made it in plenty of time. Amy’s labor was rough, and at 2:30 a.m., doctors discovered the baby’s head had turned and decided to perform a Cesarean section. Lillian Sage Augusta Quigley entered the world at 2:55 a.m. April 4.

She was healthy, but one issue remained: Lily was crying uncontrollably.

“I mean, wailing,” said Quigley, smiling. Soon, nurses took the newborn and gently tucked her in her father’s arms for the first time.

“Once she got in my arms, she stopped crying.

“ ‘I’ve been talking to you for eight months,’ ” he told Lily. “ ‘I guess you recognize my voice.’ ”

The first-time dad took over most of the crying from there.

With Amy’s blessing, Brett was back at the Masters Wednesday night. Thursday, with his father, Paul, caddying for him, he shot 76. Quigley finished 51st at 18-over 306, then said he planned to take three weeks off.

For so many reasons, he won’t forget his first Masters. “A couple of times, as we were walking down the fairway, I said to my Dad, ‘We’re here, at Augusta National!’ ” Quigley said.

His feet may have been in Georgia, but his heart was somewhere else. He spent a good deal of his rounds flipping through his yardage book, looking at two special pictures he’d tucked in there of Amy and the couple’s new daughter. That’s what got him through his first round.

“There were probably five or six times out there I was fighting back tears,” Quigley said.

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