Sunday, September 14, 2008

Dana Quigley: An Appreciation

True, DQ – as Mr. Quigley is known - has never won a major. In fact, his highest PGA tour finish was a not quite yet Reagan Administration epoch sixth place back at the less than universally-acclaimed Milwaukee Open. However – and this is an undisputable fact - the man has more class & style that Kim Jong-Il possesses wackiness plus at least ten years of pomade stashed away for the Dear Leader's silly coif.

Too often, we just watch the ball or the leaders at the top. In 2005 on the Champions Tour, that kind of focus was on Mr. Dana Quigley. ‘Player of the Year’ – Dana racked-up two wins and five runner-ups to claim the money title. Overall DQ has been a solid Champions Tour player for over a decade now – a rare feat for a profession where fifty year old “rookies” fade, usually, well before even early dispersed Social Security money could kick-in. That, however, is not why you should look at Dana with interest nor why the man is still so damn hip at past sixty.

Respect. A guy who was a true struggler until the century meridian point of his life, DQ did conquer finally his personal fight with alcoholism. Along the way, too, he overcame the sense that he wasn’t worthy of playing with the best. As Dana said in a “Golf Digest” interview, during the three years he played the big tour he would purposely not hit range balls next to someone like Tom Weiskopf for fear of what someone in the crowd would think of his workman-like swing next to the future golf architect’s more classic arc.

Instead Dana chose to rebuild himself in a manner similar to that of a ball flight gone awry. He has spoken openly about having to find an entire new way of life in light of his decision to stop drinking. For someone who was a former long-standing club professional and socially is quite skilled, this must have been a horrific undertaking of unlearning well-engrained behavior patterns at such a late stage of adulthood.

Along this tough enough path, Dana continued to hone his playing craft despite the hardships. He became the top New England professional not actually on the PGA tour full-time and won all three of his adjoining state opens over a more than 20 year span.

Uniqueness. Maybe a reason Dana succeeded in his bottle battle is rooted within a huge chunk of his attractiveness as an individual. Amidst the benign but bland sea of corporate-sponsored Champions Tour links-men, DQ stands out like the sight of John McCain at an internet cafĂ©. Nattily-attired always, our role model has a definite partiality to utilize accents with the kind of more strongly hued colors one might find during a stroll down Miami’s South Beach. On top of such – and like most outstanding men – our Mr. Quigley has a trademark – his ‘Indian’. Although not the only Champions Tour player to savor a cigar during his round, a tasty Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real No. 2 Belicoso stays with him, as I have seen, all round save the initial hole. In his stylish get-up, it is the perfect accompaniment to a man obviously at ease with his world. Only the accomplished Senor Jimenez of the European tour is his rival in combination of sartorial style & stick swagger, but I don’t believe Miguel Angel plays tournament rounds while also indulging his passion.

Innovative. His highest iron carried (by personal observation) being a '7' as of 2008’s Hickory Classic, Dana walks his talk of using hybrids to tackle today’s game. Presently four Adams Boxers - a 21 deg., two 22 deg. (bent, per Caddie Chris, to be DQ's 4 & 5 irons) and a 24 deg. - await pin-seeking glory in his Allianz-enscribed bag. In past interviews DQ has challenged readers as to why they still carry 3,4 or 5 irons? One of his best quotes is that today’s player – liberally using hybrids - should “hit all their clubs high except their short irons & wedges”. It’s a great statement – both in phrasing and, after pondering, course strategy.

As far as mechanics, Mr. Quigley is a tad old school and certainly unlike your average David Leadbetter Academy graduate with regards to form. Not quite as truncated in length as his fellow Champions Tour New Englander Allen Doyle, Dana’s nearly three quarter swing action has more than a share of Carl Yazstremski-like cock action during his inside takeaway. Combined with a hold-off finish, watching Dana hit on the range or the course is much akin to observing the repeated fluid action of a piston hammering into an engine. You’re not so much awed by his shots as you come away wondering how this rhythmic action can ever miss? That said, Dana does have the ability to be 'sneaky long' off the tee during to his boring ball trajectory and is rarely more than 15 yards back of the Champion Tour's longer hitters.

Gentlemanliness. I have heard that a then still-amateur Johnny Miller approached his idol, Ben Hogan, at the U.S. Open once while ‘the Hawk’ was dining al fresco. A very young Miller, nervous, drew-up to the ever-reclusive Bantam Ben, cited his current standing as low amateur in the tourney and stated his deep regard for Mr. Hogan’s record. Without pausing at least to acknowledge his presence much less offer any words of encouragement, apparently the Lone Star State's Mr. Personality dismissed the future blonde Hall of Famer with a curt, “Kid, can’t you see I’m eating my soup?”.

Think of the polar extreme of that kind of attitude and you have instead Dana Quigley’s persona. From personal experience I can attest unequivocally that DQ is one of the most approachable, likeable & generous men you’re going to meet – Champions Tour or otherwise. Even when not playing his best, Dana maintains a calm demeanor that befits a true gentleman. He is appreciative of crowd acknowledgement [“Thanks, man”], tips his visor graciously and gives lie to the perception that some athletes get too caught up in their own world that they fail to realize it’s a game the fans would kill to play at their level.

If you’re a man closer to the great beyond than your high school prom (not to be morbid, of course) and want to think of someone who has some attributes which you could borrow with pride, spend some time via the internet – or better yet in person – getting to know Dana Quigley. You'll thank me, I promise (and, no, I'm not related).
His approach to golf will certainly benefit your scorecard, but, I think, you’ll find a new long distant friend, too, in the man himself. Certainly his attitude on life and the manner in which he conducts himself is worthy of admiration and/or emulation by those of any age.
Bravo, Dana, and keep workin’ those Indians! You are truly a credit to our fine game, a great example in your personal life, a perpetual giver to your community and, most importantly, a gentleman.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Palin at RNC convention - "Right Wing MILF's Rule!"

Sometimes, it's just plain easy. Last night's speech by the estimable Governor of our 47th most populous state up yonder, is a truly delightful case in point.

From her "lipstick is the difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom" line to sneering summations of Obama's lack of qualifications based on simply self-serving memoir writing alongside community block-party lemonade sales, Sarah sunk all but her back molars into the intended rhetorical victim and wasn't going to be moved off message save a cattle prod to the back of her beehive. Great stuff!

My previous high-water mark had been the 1976 circa Bob Dole in the 2nd slot as best hatchet man for the ticket. I'd like now to amend my ranking. Most are too young to remember the mid-'70's Gov. Reagan debacling of the RNC's presidential chances. Still I have 'The New York Times' Week In Review section speculating on an offer of a co-presidency with Gerald Ford in order to hold the Reaganauts. Instead the bone then thrown to the emerging conservative wing - now base - of the party was a spry Sen. Dole for Veep and not some Rockefeller East Coast cocktail clinker whom Lowell Weicker had not talked down to yet.

Ah, those distant halcyon days! Now we have a cultural Luddite in low heels who pines to pare off her respectable pantyhose if only to use as a crude garrote for anyone wanting to see what American education looks like in the reel after "Inherit The Wind's" conclusion. Perhaps the odd frames sported by our Pat Buchanan pal are really Bond-like daggers for pinning Socialists, literally, to the wall at 20 paces? [Can't wait, by the way, to see what Mr. C. Hitchens makes of this imbroglio?]

Cheap shots above, I admit fully, but let me express, as well, my thanks to the Governor and sincere appreciation of her speechification - as W., no doubt, would dub it. Her timing was exquisite (actually somewhat similar, no kidding, to an early Jesse Jackson's) and should be studied by anyone who aspires to public speaking. More importantly, I haven't had chortles during a talk like that for some time. Her zingers were curare-tinged and as deliciously divisive as the negative to a photo of Huey Long stumping way back when. Her America ain't at the crossroads of the bodega on Martin Luther King Highway and the Indian-run liquor store, but that doesn't vitiate Palin's posture as the true poster MILF for her peeps.

So now no further analytical content from this scribe and, instead, mirthful manna for the multitude of schandenfreude-deprived amongst you. I give you the vaunted Top Ten list from the Applachian home office of various reactions to Gov. Palin's glorious maiden speech.

#10 - Now you know why her husband was a commercial fisherman and left the house routinely for the comfort of 60 foot sea swells in the middle of the Pacific

#9 - Made Margaret Thatcher look like a crumpet-baking house frau by comparison

#8 - Made General Patton & the 8th Army look like wimps by comparison

#7 - If they did play basketball, Palin would foul-out but Obama’s jock strap wouldn’t be in one piece from all the elbows to the groin while driving the lane

#6 - That nervous smile on Cindy McCain’s face during Palin's speech really masked a desperate plea for a Vicodin Smoothie, stat

#5 - Not only does Palin actually know how to fire a rifle without collateral damage and skin her kill cleanly afterwards, but, a-right, Cheney is a borderline McGovernite compared to Sarah Barracuda

#4 - Want to bet that if Palin found Obama on a darkened street then a beat-down with a baby seal to Barack’s noggin wouldn’t be the result?

#3 - Can I have the soft core video rights right now to a sudsy Palin squaring-off with Michelle Obama in some tawdry minimum security Federal Prison shower scenario? [“I’m always as proud of my country as I am of slapping down commie bitch Ho’s!”]

#2 - Made Barbara Bush, in tone, look like Mother Theresa handing-out cups of jambalaya in post-Katrina French Quarter

…, and, drum roll, please …

#1 - Even though Palin was 8 years old when Biden was elected to the U.S. Senate, she still could have kicked his ass!