TURNBERRY, Scotland — Brett Quigley had the best 36-hole score Sunday at the John Deere Classic, 62-67 in the marathon finish to tie for second. It came with a perk that Quigley wasn’t expecting — a spot in the British Open.
He loves links golf and the British Open. He also had a pro-am obligation Monday, and his family was coming to Milwaukee to attend the memorial service for Chris Smith, whose wife was killed in a car accident in Indiana last month.
Quigley never thought he would have a chance at Turnberry, so he didn’t bring his passport with him to Illinois. To go home to Florida to retrieve it would mean arriving at the British Open on Tuesday, getting his legs under him Wednesday, then teeing off Thursday.
Quigley had five minutes to figure out what to do, and decided to stay put.
“My heart is not into playing the British,” he said. “I know I’ll catch some heat for it. But I know it’s the right decision for me.”
Quigley is not the first American to skip golf’s oldest major. Kenny Perry sat out last year, even though he was eligible two weeks in advance, because he had committed to play Milwaukee in his quest to make the Ryder Cup team. Fred Funk also had designs on the Ryder Cup in 2004 when he skipped Royal Troon, figuring he would have a better chance to earn points in Milwaukee.
In a text message Monday morning, Quigley said he felt better about his decision, especially the service for Beth Smith.
“I cannot even begin to fathom his pain,” Quigley said. “I hope he feels the love from his tour family and everyone else. Family and friends are vital in these times.”
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BROTHERLY LOVE: Lloyd Saltman made his British Open debut four years ago at St. Andrews, when the Scottish amateur tied for 15th and spent the week with his entire family.
The whole clan is back at Turnberry, only the roles are much different.
Saltman, now a 23-year-old professional, qualified for the British Open. So did his 27-year-old brother, Elliot, making this the first time since 1992 (Joe and Jumbo Ozaki) that brothers have competed against each other in this major.
If that’s not enough, younger brother Zack is caddying for Elliot, after failing to make it through the first stage of qualifying.
“The whole family is here and girlfriends are coming up. It’s great,” Eliot said. “We’ve got a lot of coverage and pressure on us during the day, and it’s great to have. We’re trying to support Scotland as much as we can, and at the end of the day, we just go back and chill as a family.”
And the best of all.
“We’ve got mom’s cooking,” Lloyd said.
They’re not here just for show. Having grown up on links golf, both have designs on contending. Lloyd Saltman already has been through this drill, shooting a 68 in the third round — three shots better than winner Tiger Woods — and closing with a 71 to finish in the top 15.
“Ideally, we just start off the rounds, make the cut, and if that happens, I’ll try to progress as much as possible,” Elliot said. “As Lloyd says, it’s golf. Anything can happen. Hopefully, come Sunday, we can be up at the top of the leaderboard. You never know.”
Leave it to Zack to best describe the differences between his brothers.
“I think Elliot is a lot more chilled out than Lloyd really is,” he said. “Lloyd always sort of plays to the crowd, likes to be in the spotlight. This is Elliot’s first time, but he seems to be a lot more chilled, a lot more relaxed, just staying within himself.”
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A LONG WALK: Billy Foster, a prominent European Tour caddie now working for Lee Westwood, walked from the practice range at Loch Lomond to Turnberry carrying a 40-pound golf bag to raise money for health charities.
Foster raised nearly $100,000 that is to be split between the Darren Clarke Foundation for breast cancer research, and an organization in England called “Candelighters Children Cancer.”
He worked for Clarke at the 2006 Ryder Cup after Clarke’s wife died of breast cancer.
The journey was 90 miles, although it’s a little less than that to Turnberry. Foster made a few detours along the way.
“We arrived in Helensburgh a few hours early, and thought it would be keeping with traditions to go a few miles to the pub,” he said.
He also tried a short cut that didn’t pan out.
“He was heading toward Irvine Bogside Golf Club and he saw it in the distance and decided to cut through this corn field,” Westwood said. “He got within 15 yards of the Bogside and suddenly realized whey it’s called Irvine Bogside, because between him and the golf was a bog about a half mile up and down.”
Foster went an extra three miles looking for a way out, then finally charged through the most narrow part.
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OPEN DRAW: Tiger Woods is used to having a lot of photographers follow him in majors.
The number is about to go up.
Woods will play the first two rounds at Turnberry with Ryo Ishikawa, a 17-year-old from Japan who has a massive following. They have never played with each other, although they met at the Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona this year, where the Japanese sensation was an alternate. Some four dozen photographers captured the occasion.
Joining them will be Lee Westwood, who already feels more pressure than usual as a leading British player.