Other tours out of reach for now for Rhoden, Quinn | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Other tours out of reach for now for Rhoden, Quinn

Steve Yingling

STATELINE – Rick Rhoden isn’t healthy enough and Dan Quinn isn’t unrealistic about his chances of moving on to greater heights in golf.

Back surgery will slow up Rhoden, who has played a handful of events on the Champions Tour, including last year’s U.S. Senior Open. In less than two weeks he will have a disk fused in his back. Doctors have told him that he’ll need six weeks rest before being allowed to chip and putt.

“Hopefully in three months I’ll be playing,” Rhoden said.

That timeline may allow Rhoden to participate in the Champions Tour Qualifying School for the third straight year in November. But Rhoden realizes the chances of him qualifying – even when he’s 100 percent – are a crap shoot at best.

“They had seven spots last year and those guys aren’t really getting any tournaments, so it’s seven spots for the 2,500 to 3,000 people who apply,” Rhoden said. “So, you know, when you start figuring out those numbers, it’s not an easy thing to do.”

Even if he does come back in time, Rhoden has some concerns about his golf swing.

“Driving the ball has usually been my strength and now three or four a round just kind of go and I don’t know where they are going,” Rhoden said. “I’ve had (the pain) for so long my swing has changed a lot … I’m not getting through the ball good.”

The 39-year-old Quinn should be insulted by any senior tour questions as he is 11 years away from the tour’s age minimum. And the PGA is out of his league, according to Quinn.

“I’d say three years ago maybe when I retired (from hockey), but I’m not good enough,” Quinn said. “Those guys are and I don’t know if I want to. I have a young family.

“There’s 500, 600 great players in the world now, not just the tour guys, but the Nationwide and European tours. It would just be unrealistic for me to think I could play with them.”

Made-for-TV pairings

There was little grumbling about the final-round pairings, but former champion Mark Rypien had reason to be upset.

The final threesome for the final round included Tolliver, Rhoden and Quinn. Rypien should have been in the final group if the celebrity championship followed other pro tour formats.

Rypien posted his second-round total of 45 points before Rhoden and Quinn carded theirs. If the PGA Tour format was followed, Rhoden, Tolliver and Rypien would have been in the final group.

The former Washington Redskins quarterback played in the second-to–last threesome that also included Grant Fuhr and Ivan Lendl.

NBC arranges the spectator and TV friendly pairings for the championships. The TV network also selects the tournament field.

Van Dyken entertaining

Six-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Amy Van Dyken made up for her atrocious golfing by being quite the entertainer.

Upon request, Van Dyken cartwheeled onto greens for spectators. She also demonstrated quick wit.

After seeing Rhoden, Quinn and Tolliver’s tee shots land on the green on the par 3 seventh hole, she said, “We’ll follow that up.”

Her entertaining personality made up for her record -100 points. She had nothing better than a double bogey during the final round and finished 174 points behind Quinn.

Her playing partner, Bill Rancic wasn’t much better. “The Apprentice” champ finished next to last with -89 points.

Birdies scarce for Tolliver

Personable Billy Joe Tolliver wasn’t himself on Sunday.

The 1996 champion said little after telling Rhoden on the seventh tee that he’d have to hurt the former major league pitcher if he and Quinn didn’t save some birdies for him.

Tolliver started the final round with a two-point lead over Rypien, Quinn and Rhoden but birdies became as scarce as fans wearing windbreakers.

His final round included three bogeys and 14 pars. His only birdie came on the eight hole when he hit a wedge within three feet. It was Tolliver’s first birdie in 22 holes, dating back to Saturday’s second round.

“I putted for par exceptionally well. Right now, I’m chipping for birdie a heck of a lot better than I’m putting for birdie,” Tolliver said after round two.

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