Tour notes: Quigley on the outside looking in

Brett Quigley, at No. 71 in the standings, missed advancing to the BMW Championship by four points.

For those who think making cuts is a blueprint for success on the PGA Tour, meet Brett Quigley. He made 19 of them in 2010 and only three times in his 14-year PGA Tour career has he made more. Yet he’s on the outside looking in for 2011.

Consequently, a little writer’s cramp.

“I’ve already written to almost every tournament director,” Quigley said. “It’s just a tough thing, a weird deal, but it means I’ve got to chase it a little more.”

Though he missed the cut just 10 times in his 29 starts, he just never pushed into contention or put together that one or two great finishes you need. In fact, here’s the difference between getting it done and not – Quigley made 19 cuts, which was more than players who finished second (Jim Furyk, 18) and third (Ernie Els, 17) on the money list.

With just one top 10 and four top 25s, Quigley earned smaller checks than usual and thus finished 158th on the money list. While it’s the third time in the past 10 seasons Quigley has fallen outside the top 125, it’s the first time since 1999 that he’s been below 150.

The good news is, he was exempt into the second stage of Q-School. (“Then again,” he said, laughing, “I could have skipped the entire season and been exempt into second stage.”) The bad news is, he came up short, and that’s not a good thing in his business.

Fact is, it transports him to nowhere, which is why between possible sponsor exemptions, his veteran category and Monday qualifiers, he foresees getting into 15 tournaments. “But it’s more than enough if I get the results I think I should,” Quigley said.

There remains the positive side – with nearly $11 million in career money, Quigley has earned a lifestyle that will allow him this year to spend more time with his two daughters, “and that’s not such a bad thing,” he said.

“For the first time in forever, I’m not rushing out the door after Christmas to chase the West Coast swing.”

Perhaps that joy on the homefront explains why, even after missing at second stage, “I’m actually feeling good about 2011 and my game,” he said.

All he’ll need is opportunities to put those good feelings in motion.

• • •

Congratulations are in order for Aree Song as the onetime phenom scored medalist honors at this past weekend’s final stage of the LPGA Tour Qualifying Tournament.

The only thing that dulls the shine is knowing Song played the week before in the LPGA Tour Championship. That’s right: One week she’s eligible for an event that is allegedly of marquee value, and the next she’s back at the starting line.

Isn’t that akin to being in graduate school, yet having to go back to finish high school classes?

Peculiar doesn’t begin to describe some of the LPGA Tour landscape during the past few months. Forget for a minute that there were some players who missed the cut at one Q-School sectional qualifier, only to turn around and make it through another sectional qualifier. How do 763 players make it into the Tour Championship?

OK, so it wasn’t 763, but it sure felt like that, given that rounds weren’t completed before darkness fell and 120 players couldn’t finish their rounds. Yes, 120, and when you consider that a player who earned $3,302 in three tournaments, Jessica Shepley, got to play, well, you’d have to agree an overhaul is in order.

Wouldn’t top 30 on the money list be a nice place to start? That way you’re not dipping down so low you’re into a group of players who made less than the minimum wage.

• • •

When the list of what’s new to the PGA Tour in 2011 is compiled, in addition to clubs, balls, and shafts, may we suggest including Perky Jerky.

If you’re thinking it sounds like beef jerky that provides an energy boost, well, you’ve caught on to a product developed by Brian Levin and his Performance Enhancing Meat Snack Co.

Perky Jerky is marinated in guarana, which provides the caffeine and the energy boost. Guarana is in Red Bull, which has a presence on the PGA Tour, thanks in large part to Camilo Villegas’ endorsement efforts, and now Perky Jerky will grab some billing, too. It made its debut on David Duval’s golf bag at the Shark Shootout, and it’s not hard to figure out how it came about: Duval’s caddie is Ron “Bambi” Levin, Brian’s brother and business partner.

• • •

Heading into the final round, there was a storyline stating Fred Funk and Kenny Perry had a chance to become the oldest winners of the Shark Shootout.

Oldest winners of the Shark Shootout? Wow. Be still, emotions.

Doesn’t quite have the Watson-almost-wins-Turnberry feel, does it?

• • •

Stuart Appleby won Comeback Player of the Year.

He’ll be hard-pressed to match Steve Stricker’s accomplishment of back-to-back Comeback Player of the Year honors (2006-07), however. That’s because the leading contender for this trophy in 2011 is . . . Tiger Woods.

In fact, Woods told a colleague – kiddingly, perhaps – that he’d like to be Player of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year in the same season.

• • •

If you’re thinking it’s silly that a guy like Stricker could be Comeback Player of the Year two straight seasons, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re probably joined by those players who couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Rory McIlroy as Rookie of the Year, given that he turned professional in 2008.

McIlroy didn’t seen to mind finishing second to Rickie Fowler, telling a reporter that he didn’t consider himself a rookie.

Still, it’s a peculiar situation, because McIlroy was in his rookie year on the PGA Tour, so he was eligible, and from the Tour’s perspective, it’s hard to argue they could do it any differently.

But if you think McIlroy’s situation made for a curious ROY race, just wait until next year, because Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, pros since 2002, will be candidates, as will Robert Karlsson, who played his first pro tournament with hickory.

OK, maybe not hickory, but certainly with 1989 being his first pro season, Karlsson is not your prototypical rookie candidate.

• • •

Seems to me the Nationwide Tour supporters are annually more vocal than the Q-School lobbyists, when it comes to which avenue provides the better-prepared PGA Tour member.

Maybe, maybe not, but it’s such an inexact science within the confines of the ultimate inexact sport, so shouldn’t we spare the hot air?

But before we do, here’s the scorecard from 2010:

Of the 25 players who earned PGA Tour cards via Q-School, 11 finished within the top 125. Those getting there from the Nationwide Tour were 8-for-25.

Maybe that will quiet the vocal ones.

• • •

New year, same story: John Daly already has been granted a sponsor exemption into the Sony Open in Hawaii.

If Daly is still a draw, that’s an indictment of our good senses. Consider what he’s done in his last 88 PGA Tour tournaments, which have taken five full seasons to play – he’s totaled $724,054 in prize money. Heck, 51-year-old Michael Allen finished 130th on the money list with more than that in 2010.

• • •

It was said the first week of the PGA Tour season, when players were in the heart of paradise, at the Kapalua Resort on Maui, but we’re not sure the remainder of the year included a better quote.

“It’s completely absurd, the lifestyle we live,” Geoff Ogilvy said. “For our generation, our timing is impeccable.”

Amen.

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