‘Mighty’ Quinn on the verge of playing out of the stars | TahoeDailyTribune.com

‘Mighty’ Quinn on the verge of playing out of the stars

Steve Yingling, Tribune Sports Editor

Celebrity golfers may spend the rest of the season telling Rick Rhoden how much they’ll miss him next year? But who are they kidding? The former major league pitcher has won 41 celebrity tournaments in the past 12 years, including five championships at Edgewood Tahoe.

The 49-year-old Rhoden will attempt to qualify for the Senior PGA Tour in November, but what are the celebrities going to do with Dan Quinn over the next 13 years?

For one, they better hope the former National Hockey League center soon qualifies for the Buy.com Tour or perhaps even the PGA Tour.

As soon as Rhoden leaves celebrity golf, the 37-year-old Quinn will likely become the next king of the stars.

“These are two guys who have the games and aspirations to take them to the next level. I wish to hell they’d leave tomorrow for the next level,” said Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt, who is searching for his first celebrity victory.

Quinn enters this week’s American Century Celebrity Championship as the defending champion and next in line to take a shot at becoming the first repeat champion in the tournament’s 13-year history.

“I think my chances are pretty good,” Quinn said.

Quinn equaled Rhoden’s 54-hole scoring record (9-under 207) last year in ending Rhoden’s odd-year winning streak at five. He held off a late Rhoden bid by eagling the final hole to win by three strokes.

“It was the easiest putt to have if you needed to win a tournament,” Quinn said after draining the 12-foot eagle putt for victory.

Quinn, who also won the tournament in 1992, is the only player besides Rhoden with at least two championships.

Like Rhoden, it’s probably only a matter of time before Quinn plays his way out of celebrity golf for good. He nearly qualified for a PGA Tour event at Doral, losing a playoff for the final spot. According to Quinn, he would have been the first professional athlete from another sport to qualify for a tour event since 1980.

Quinn made it to sectionals in U.S. Open qualifying last year and has played in three Golden Bear Tour events this year in his home state of Florida.

“I just like to play competitive golf,” Quinn said. “It’s a challenge and it’s something I look forward to. I don’t want to be 45 or 50 and say I never tried.”

Quinn has only won once in six tournaments on the 2002 Celebrity Players Tour. Rhoden is the only double winner, with Jack Wagner, Pierre Larouche

and Al Del Greco collecting the other titles.

Quinn may be due for another victory since his last one came in March in Las Vegas. At the very least it could be the final time he gets to battle Rhoden for the championship.

“I really enjoy playing celebrity golf. There’s been a lot of good battles, and it all accumulates with Tahoe being our No. 1 week,” Quinn said.

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