Former U.S. Amateur champ Jeff Quinney finds life after golf in real estate game

Chris Condon/PGA TOUR

Former U.S. Amateur champ Jeff Quinney finds life after golf in real estate game

Amateur

Former U.S. Amateur champ Jeff Quinney finds life after golf in real estate game

Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the May 2018 print issue of Golfweek Magazine and is part of a series looking at former phenoms who found a path outside pro golf.

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Jeff Quinney knew 2015 was it.

It had been five years since he lost his PGA Tour card, and his remaining Web.com Tour status had dried up, too. He was 36 years old, and 2015 marked the last year he would be exempt into the second stage of Web.com Tour Q-School. So he had an ultimatum.

“If I wasn’t going to do it this time, I was done,” Quinney said.

He ended up failing to advance to final stage by a single shot. His pro career was over. For years, Quinney had wondered about his future. Then the question loomed large: “What am I going to do?”

Three years later, he’s found his place.

Quinney, 39, has found a passion after pro golf, as he has matriculated to the real estate world in Arizona – the state where the Eugene, Ore., native has been based since college at Arizona State.

For more than a year Quinney has worked in commercial and residential real estate services for Everyday Investments, based out of Scottsdale. And he’s attacked his current job with the fervor of his old one.

“Jeff’s a really, really nice, humble guy,” said Brett Angner, the owner of Everyday Investments. “He’s been really willing to learn.”

Once upon a time, Quinney was a potential American star. He didn’t go into college necessarily thinking about a pro golf career, but then he defeated James Driscoll in an epic 39-hole final at the 2000 U.S. Amateur.

Jeff Quinney holds the Havermeyer Trophy after winning the 100th U.S. Amateur Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J., Monday, Aug. 28, 2000. (AP Photo/Mike Derer)

A whirlwind ensued, and Quinney, a three-time All-American at Arizona State, turned pro in 2001. He quickly earned a Canadian Tour victory in 2002 and won on the Web.com Tour in 2004. He grabbed his PGA Tour card in 2007 and made more than $3.5 million on course in the next two years.

By the end of 2010, though, Quinney had lost his card. And he missed gaining it back at the final stage of PGA Tour Q-Schoolby a single shot. He played only 14 PGA Tour events in 2011, and his Web.com Tour status thereafter was limited. He kept getting bounced out of second stage of Q-School and had little luck in Monday qualifiers.

He played just seven PGA Tour and Web.com Tour events combined in 2012 and 2013, then none in 2014 as his remaining Web status from his 2004 win vanished. He was concerned about his future. But financially secure and without the motivation he had in the past, Quinney spent more time taking vacations, attending sporting events and going back home.

“I was happy doing nothing,” Quinney said.

Then, matters changed. Bob Quinney, Jeff’s father, worked as an attorney and had interest in real estate, holding a number of properties in Eugene. When he passed away in May 2016, it triggered a son who had been looking to transition.

“After his death, it really intrigued me to learn about the (real estate) business and make sure as a family we knew what we were doing,” Quinney said.

Quinney, a finance major at Arizona State, took 90 hours of classes and got his real estate license in Arizona roughly 15 months ago.

Angner and Quinney had a number of mutual friends, and the pair hit it off when they met. Quinney is thankful for his current spot.

“I’ve been really lucky to have (Brett) mentor me at 39,” Quinney said. “If you go to these big commercial firms at age 22 or 23, you’re working 60-80 hours (per week) trying to make money for your guy above you.”

Jeff Quinney in his office at Everyday Investments.

Quinney is clear: His future is here, not in golf. He plays about once a week, estimating his handicap would come in around +2, and applied last year to get his amateur status reinstated. He was told he’ll gain it back in 2021. Quinney doesn’t seek a return to big-time amateur events, as the reinstatement is mostly just to avoid complications when trying to play in member-guests and invitationals.

Quinney still keeps in touch with several PGA Tour players, among them Charley Hoffman, Kevin Chappell, Kevin Streelman, Colt Knost and Chez Reavie.

His former Arizona State teammate still values how Quinney aided his career.

“He was really instrumental for me,” Reavie said. “I really looked up to him a lot and learned a lot from his golf game. He helped me get better.”

Quinney’s pro career started to unravel when he suffered a herniated disc early in 2009 and had to sit out for six weeks. The injury didn’t linger beyond the year, but lasting swing flaws crept in as he adjusted his motion to avoid pain.

His commitment waned, too, as he reached his 30s and his status was slipping. In retrospect, he could’ve held out a little longer.

“I think I had some more potential in there to play at least two to three more years,” Quinney said. “That frustrates you at times.”

He then quickly adds the challenges of his current venture are satisfying.

“I kind of achieved that goal on the PGA Tour. Now I’ve got a new goal to chase, something to get motivated for to have a second successful career,” Quinney said. “There is life after golf, basically.”

– Dan Kilbridge contributed to this story

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