It’s Hard To Win

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Winning is never easy.” Well, that well-worn saying was front and center last weekend.

The PGA Tour Champions tour held its very first stroke play tournament in Morocco at the Samanah Golf Club by Nicklaus in Marrakech. In the recurring theme of “firsts,” there was another first-time winner, Brett Quigley, who might sound familiar. His uncle, Dana Quigley, won 11 times on the Champions Tour.

Brett Quigley is a very talented golfer from Rhode Island who won the 1987 Junior Amateur, then played for the University of South Carolina and was a two-time academic All-American. The next stop for Quigley was the big dance: the PGA Tour. During this time he teed it up in more than 400 events without tasting victory even once. Now, in just his second start on the over-50-circuit, he won for the first time in his professional career.

Meanwhile, on the PGA Tour, the largest crowds can always be found at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Despite the large, rowdy, fun-loving crowds that raise millions for charity it was clearly seen that it’s difficult to win.

Thirty-year-old Tony Finau, the proud father of four children, was taught the game by his father who, having played a lot of sports, was a natural coach but didn’t know how to play golf. Finau turned pro at 17, played all the worldwide mini-tours, and eventually got his PGA Tour card in 2015.

Since Finau made it onto the PGA Tour, he has earned 35 Top 10 finishes but only one Tour victory. In the final round of the Phoenix Open, Finau lost to his good friend and former U.S. Open Champion, Webb Simpson. What really made it tough for Finau standing greenside was his 5-year-old son with tears rolling down his cheeks. Win number two must be coming soon; Tony is just that good.

Elsewhere in the world of global golf, a five-year winless drought on the European Tour came to an end as 2010 U.S. Open Champion Graeme McDowell won in Saudi Arabia over Dustin Johnson. Every victory by McDowell brings a smile to my face. Back in 2006, I had been hired by Irish TV to be part of their Ryder Cup coverage. Much to my surprise, I learned I’d be working with McDowell, who, at the time, had lost his form so much that he was relegated to TV work. Four short years later, McDowell won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Resorts and made sports history. I always get a chuckle from McDowell, who now owns a restaurant in Orlando. When his children ask why they have such a nice house, he simply replies, “Because your daddy is a good putter.”

In closing, let me illustrate one more example of how tough winning really is. Andy Reed, the head coach for the Kansas City Chiefs, won 221 times in his career as a head coach. Win 222 is his first victory in a Super Bowl. No coach ever went that many wins without a Super Bowl ring.

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