Jeff Quinney says he is not necessarily a “die-hard’’ NHL fan, but he still is proud to be wearing the Phoenix Coyotes’ howling mascot as the logo on his golf shirt this season.
“I’m friends with Darren Blake and Dennis Blake, who represent Wayne Gretzky,’’ Quinney explained on Tuesday during his press conference for the FBR Open.
“I’m fortunate to have a relationship with them, and to have a chest deal with them going forward for the rest of the year. I think it’s the first NHL team to be on the PGA Tour, and I’m excited about it. You know I’m learning more about hockey. I’ve been to a few games this year.’’
Quinney, who finished third at the FBR Open last year despite leading by three shots with four holes to play, said he only has good memories of what went on a year ago at the TPC Scottsdale.
“I’m always excited to be back here in my hometown, and I love this course,’’ said the 29-year-old former Arizona State All-American who lives in north Scottsdale. “Obviously, I wanted (the victory) last year, but happy to be back and try to redeem myself.’’
In his second year on the PGA Tour, Quinney said the future looks bright after he won $1.6 million in 2007. It’s one of the reasons the Coyotes recruited him, he said.
“They wanted a young and up-and-coming guy. That’s kinda what they’re all about. They have a young squad, and they’re kind of building from the ground up. They’re looking to get their name out, and spread the word around.’’
UNDER THE LIGHTS
With the Super Bowl in town, the FBR Open is introducing a new closest-to-the-pin contest at the 16th hole dubbed “Shot at Glory.’’ The event, which features celebrities and national media covering the Super Bowl and tournament, takes place under the lights at 7 p.m. today.
Among those vying to win the $40,000 first-prize donation to charity will be Amanda Beard, Chris Rose and Charissa Thompson from “Best Damn Sports Show Period”; ESPN’s Ron Jaworski and Mike Tirico; Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly; and Fox commentator Joe Buck, to name a few.
Any participant who should happen to make a hole-in-one will earn his or her charity $1 million. Second place is worth $25,000 and third place $15,000. The event is by invitation only.
Credentials to cover the FBR Open hit 600 for the week, and may climb higher, according to media coordinator Rob Myers.
“By comparison, we gave out about 525 credentials last year,’’ Myers said. “The reason for the increase is a lot of reporters from the East Coast are here for the Super Bowl and they want to come out at least one day and experience the 16th hole and the Birds Nest.’’
Myers said he had to laugh because a few visiting reporters mentioned how “massive’’ the tournament seemed during visits Monday and Tuesday. “Massive? If they want 'massive,’ they need to come back this weekend,’’ Myers quipped.
South Africa’s Trevor Immelman is making his season debut after having a benign tumor removed from his diaphragm in December. ... Brett Wetterich withdrew from the tournament on Tuesday for undisclosed reasons and was replaced by Chris Stroud. ... The oldest player in the field at 51 is Fred Funk, while the youngest honor goes to Australian rookie Jason Day at 20. ... In the tournament on an exemption via the Southwest Section of the PGA is Paul Trittler, the director of instruction at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale. ... FSN’s “Best Damn Sports Show Period’’ added a couple of blockbusters to Friday’s lineup when it announced that comedian Adam Sandler, actress Pamela Anderson and rapper Snoop Dogg will take part in the hijinks from the Birds Nest beginning at 3:30 p.m. ... Tuesday’s attendance was 29,045. On Monday, 4,947 showed up despite the bad weather.