Stateline, Nev. – Former NHL center Dan Quinn birdied three of his first seven holes Sunday to take the lead. Quinn then stretched his lead on the back nine to earn a six-point victory over former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien in the American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.
Above, American Century Investments CEO Jonathan Thomas presents Quinn with the Winners Check for $125,000.
Below is his interview after the win
THE MODERATOR: Dan, congratulations on your fifth American Century Championship. We know it’s an absolutely huge day for you, because your good friend Ernie Els won the British Open.
So congrats to both of you guys. As Mark Rypien said: Dan made a lot of money today. He made some here and some from Ernie. Congratulations. Take us through the round and hole by hole if you would.
DAN QUINN: It was obviously an interesting hour prior to‑‑ we talked yesterday if I monitored how the British Open was going. So obviously I watched all morning. When I went to the range, looked like Adam Scott was pretty secure in the victory.
Then all of a sudden it was a three‑shot lead. And now I was within 10 minutes of my tee time, and I went and watched Adam hit off 18, having made three bogeys, I believe, and Ernie birdied 18, which I did not see because I was on the range, to post 7‑under.
If I can tell you that the range of emotions that I went through in that 25, 30 minutes and then trying to tee off on the first tee and do something I really wanted to do myself, which was win here, it was pretty unbelievable.
As far as my round, to get to your point, I hit a decent drive and decent second shot and quickly 3‑putted and said here we go.
And then I hit a horrible drive the second hole, which could have done anything, but I made a good 4.
I kind of just chitchatted a little bit with my wife on the fourth tee and freed up a little bit. Birdied 4, 6 and 7, which on the front nine, in my opinion, this week it’s a bonus. Nobody really ran away with the front nine. I got a lot of points on the front today even with two bogeys.
And I felt, when I turned, I looked at the scoreboard if I could shoot 34, which I did, 33, I would be pretty solid.
That’s the way I looked at it. I was lucky enough to birdie 11, which was big. Then I hit a really good shot on 12. I said: Make this you’re six, eight clear of everybody.
I missed that putt. Then I made a good par on 13 and hit good putts on 14 and 15 and really lucky on 16, made one, secured everything. Then I hung on for dear life watching the scoreboard.
THE MODERATOR: When you dropped the putt off the fringe on 16, did you figure it was over? You gave it a good fist pump, raised your arms towards the heavens and looked relieved.
DAN QUINN: When you get to 64, I noticed Mark wasn’t going to make eagle on 16 and Tony was the only one I thought that I was watching and he didn’t make eagle, and I didn’t hear any yells on 17, so I didn’t think he birdied 17. I thought 64, with them being in the mid‑50s, unless I did something crazy, crazy, I was pretty solid.
THE MODERATOR: As we look at the scores in the 10 years we’ve had the Stableford, this is the lowest winning score we’ve had. I imagine you’d take it, though.
DAN QUINN: Absolutely. The last two years were kind of crazy. Billy Joe, I think two years ago, just took off and ran away with it and had a couple of great rounds.
And last year Jack did the same. So this year to sort of play very mediocre, didn’t feel great, didn’t play great Wednesday in our practice round. Didn’t play great in the Pro‑Am. Very tentative the first two days, but to still have a chance was exciting, and I think a lot of guys felt that way when they went to bed last night.
THE MODERATOR: Mark mentioned he thought the pin placements, or maybe it was John Elway, thought the pin placements had a lot to do with the scores this week.
Did you feel the same way? Were they a lot different, tougher places, tucked away or what?
DAN QUINN: Definitely. Some of the birdie holes, the pins were very difficult this year. And the golf course played longer because it’s just overall a little cooler this week.
So the air, the balls, a lot of us‑‑ I started playing things at sea level the first two days instead of factoring in the altitude of my irons. I think that’s a big factor.
The golf course played a little moist. There was a moisture in the ground. So it played longer for a lot of us. The greens were decent. They’ve been in worse condition. They were good, I thought. I got a win, gotta say that.
But for the most part, I think it comes down to the lack of us playing five, six events a year. It’s one week where we all go home and none of us will probably play for a while. And maybe that sort of caught up to us all this year.
THE MODERATOR: I would imagine Ernie’s about 15 or 20 pints ahead of you at this point, but have you heard from him yet?
DAN QUINN: I have not. And I plan to catch up (laughter).
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Did your wife say something specific that relaxed you or freed you up, as you said?
DAN QUINN: She did. The wives sometimes can say something that can freak you out. I just went over to her and I just said to her: How about this day? How am I supposed to play after that and all the things that could go on with a player/caddie relationship?
And what’s Ernie going to do? Is he going to fly home? Fly to Canada? Pull out of Canada? I was supposed to fly tonight here on the red eye, but I’m flying tomorrow based on the fact I understand he’s flying Tuesday.
She just went: Hey, focus. Whatever. You can’t control what you can’t control. And I went‑‑ my wife’s the best lady in the world, and she’s blond, so that was very articulate of her to say. (Laughter) But I say that with all due respect.
She’ll agree with me. She knows. But anyway, she did, and I couldn’t reach 4 this year, one day, which is normally a driver and rescue for me. I laid up, hit a good wedge in there. That was a key hole, the fourth hole. Because I was kind of wobbly 1, 2, 3, and I birdied 4 without going to the green. I just laid up and made a birdie.
Q. I heard you talk with the NBC folks out there in the middle of the round, and you mentioned that you really didn’t want to talk much about Ernie’s win because you thought you’d get emotional. I didn’t maybe realize how close your relationship is. Can you just talk a little bit about how close your relationship is?
DAN QUINN: Well, you know, it’s been‑‑ I’ve been in 30 some events the last two and a half, three years with him, actually three years ago, we started talking about three years ago this week after this tournament in Turnberry, British Open. Then I worked in the fall of ’09. We had a great 2010 together with the bag share job and all that.
Then I didn’t do much in 2011 until‑‑ a year ago today I went to the Canadian Open. But in whatever way you can, for some small way, to know how‑‑ Ernie’s a very demanding guy and the Big Easy‑‑ but he works so hard.
Six months ago or nine, ten months ago he wasn’t sure if he would ever let alone win, let alone win a major let alone play golf. He’s already in the Hall of Fame.
He grinded his way through the playoffs last year to get to three‑‑ it’s just‑‑ I can’t tell you how hard he’s worked and how hard it is for all of the mental stuff he’s had to overcome to put himself in this position and then to obviously‑‑ I think Adam Scott made some errors, but Ernie’s played great all year. He’s played good for nine or ten months now.
And I think he’s got a lot more in him. Four majors is a special thing. There’s a lot of guys with three or two or one, but to have four is a special, special thing.
Q. Can you tell me if this is right or wrong, but I get the sense that you might be a little bit of an Ernie Els for the Celebrity Tour in the way you approach the game, a focus, a steadiness, compared to a lot of the guys out here. Is that fair?
DAN QUINN: I grew up in golf and hockey and I love the fact that people might say I’m just his friend out there. I take caddying and the sport of golf and the profession of golf very seriously when I do caddie.
Out here I was nervous‑‑ I think Gary Cook said: When do you think you’d maybe never win this tournament again? I said about three holes ago. Because I hadn’t won since ’04.
But it’s a cool day. Ernie and I both won 10 years ago in 2002. He won the British in the morning. And I won my third event, this one, and 10 years later, and I won my first one 20 years ago, which I’m surprised my good friend Steve Griffith hasn’t talked about.
But I thought about it. I’ve won ’92, 2002 and 2012. And I thought about it all year. So I was thinking this would be a cool year cool, cool little anniversary. I haven’t done anything 22 years but play in this tournament, but to win over a 20‑year span is a cool thing.
Q. Finally, real quick, can you talk a little bit about the split you and Ricky have? Is it just the year is added up, it was split in half?
DAN QUINN: Correct.
Q. What’s this win mean to you?
DAN QUINN: You know, I don’t know how to articulate it, because from 1991 when I played this first tournament, the Monday I go home I look forward to the next year.
Even when I still had six years of hockey. You could ask every guy that’s about to get into a limo and go to an airplane, they’re going to check their mail in January, February for the invitation.
For those of us that have been lucky enough to win or compete or all of the above, especially once you retire, this is a really cool week.
And I try every year. It doesn’t come off. It’s been harder the last three or four years, even though, as I said, I think I could have won in ’09, ’08 and ’09 if I birdied 18, but I didn’t.
But to really emphasize the fact that for Monday when I get here and having dinner with some American Century people, the lack of turnover with that company is incredible. The friendships that we’ve made.
NBC and all of the‑‑ Steve Griffith and all the people, there’s been so little turnover. It’s like a real incredible anniversary, really, and I think when you’re retired and you’re like me, you caddie and you say: What are you doing? This is a cool week.
Q. Is your caddie here?
DAN QUINN: He’s in there. He’s having his fifth beer, I’m sure. He’s a friend of mine. Usually my brother comes and he’s won a couple of these with me. He’s got three teenage boys now and he just couldn’t‑‑ he’s going to Chicago next week, was in Canada this week and hockey and all that stuff.
So a friend of mine, Jim Bauserman, lives up in the Reno area. Played in the LTVA. Good friend of the community here. I’ve known over the past five, six years. He carried for me. We’ll go have a few beers now.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports