Quigley is ultimate Ironman

Dana Quigley actually thought about skipping a tournament once. Well, maybe more than once. But he remembers this time in 1999 when his sports psychologist, Bob Rotella, told him he should take a week off.

Quigley tried. He stayed home in Florida, but by Wednesday of tournament week, he couldn't stand it. Quigley boarded a plane for Indianapolis, where that week's event was being played, got in the Thursday pro-am and played again. And he has never stopped.

Oh, there was the close call earlier this year when his elbow was bothering him. But Quigley played through it, keeping alive a seven-year streak of competing in every Champions Tour event.

When he tees off this week at the Ford Senior Players Championship in Dearborn, Mich., Quigley, 57, will make the 250th consecutive start for which he has been eligible. And it will be his 236th straight tournament overall.

"All I think about is golf," said Quigley, who has won eight Champions Tour events and more than $9.7 million. "When I get home at night, I'm thinking about something that might improve my game for tomorrow. It's what I do. It's all I do. I'm about as passionate now as the day I started this tour."

For Quigley, there is no offseason. Far from it. During the winter in West Palm Beach, Quigley said he averages 45 holes per day.

"I'm still the first off the tee every morning at 7:15," he said. "My car is in the first spot and it stays there all day. I challenge myself to hit the ball where I'm looking. Fortunately, my health has been good. I haven't been hurt. It's my passion. You have to really kind of kick me off the golf course."

Quigley's peers shake their heads, but have come to appreciate what he is all about.

"They all think I'm nuts," Quigley said. "But they've finally figured out this is what I am. It's not something I force myself to do, or I have to do to live up to my reputation. They understand that I truly enjoy playing golf."

Five Things To Watch
1. Vijay Singh defends his title at the John Deere Classic, with his eye on next week's British Open.

2. Jay Haas, 12th in the Ryder Cup team standings, will try to improve his position by playing the John Deere, skipping a Champions Tour major championship.

3. Meg Mallon, fresh off her U.S. Women's Open victory, tries to stay on a roll at the LPGA Canadian Women's Open.

4. The Champions Tour has its second major of the year, the Ford Senior Players Championship, where Craig Stadler is the defending champ and Peter Jacobson makes only his third start of the season.

5. A strong field, including Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els, has assembled at the Scottish Open, played at Loch Lomond near Glasgow.

Bob Harig covers golf for the St. Petersburg Times and is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com. He can be reached at harig@sptimes.com.