Can Brett Quigley do Rhode Island proud? He’ll try at the 2024 U.S. Senior Open (in Newport)

NEWPORT, R.I. – While players in this week’s U.S. Senior Open can go just about anywhere on the property, the third-floor locker room at Newport Country Club is reserved for a select few who have USGA titles to their name.

Brett Quigley, winning of the 1987 U.S. Junior Amateur, is one of the select few who enjoy the privilege.

“It’s really cool to be up there in that little area,” Quigley said. “So yes, I would like to have another picture of the Senior Open trophy next to my name.”

Plenty of fans will traverse the property following and cheering their favorite players on, but Quigley – and fellow Rhode Islander Billy Andrade – will have an entire state behind them as they try and make history.

“I’ll definitely feel that pressure of the hometown, but I also feel it’s a positive where I know there’s going to be a bunch of people pulling for me and pulling for Billy and I love that,” Quigley said. “I love seeing everybody that I haven’t seen in a long time and feeling those good vibes and people cheering me on. It’s fantastic.”

While Quigley is one of the hometown guys, this week’s tournament doesn’t provide a home-course advantage you might think.

Growing up in Barrington, Quigley nurtured his game at Rhode Island Country Club – where father Paul, an RIGA Hall of Famer, was a member. Before uncle Dana was “The Ironman” of the PGA Senior Tour, he was the head pro at Crestwood Country Club and Quigley was there helping out in the shop, pulling carts and picking the range.

Plus, Rhode Island.

“You grow up in Rhode Island and if you drove 15 minutes, that’s a long drive,” Quigley said. “I grew up in Barrington and I wouldn’t go to Providence because that’s too far to go.”

Things have changed.

2023 Constellation Furyk & Friends
2023 Constellation Furyk & Friends

Brett Quigley poses with the trophy after winning the 2023 Constellation Furyk & Friends at Timuquana Country Club in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Over the last three decades, Quigley’s played more than a few casual rounds at Newport Country Club. When the USGA announced Newport would host the U.S. Senior Open in 2024 after having it taken away by COVID, those casual rounds turned a little more businesslike as he started mentally preparing for the tournament.

“I’ve gotten to play probably three rounds a summer here getting ready for this tournament the last couple of years,” Quigley said. “I’ve been trying to do my homework in those rounds.

“I love playing here – it’s a great walk, it’s a fun walk and it’s a great vibe.”

Quigley’s hope is the vibes get real high as the week goes on.

Wind will be the story of the week. If the wind doesn’t blow, the course can be picked apart. Since windless days in Newport happen as often as smooth beach traffic, it’s going to be the biggest challenge the players face all week. It’s going to be different every single day and, as Quigley noted, wildly different depending on what time someone is on the course.

“We played today, it was the north wind – I think – which is a different wind than typical here,” Quigley said. “A lot of the members we’ve spoken to said right at noon it changes to a south wind almost every day.

“We were on the seventh green and we played seven into the wind and it was about 11:50. We get to the eighth tee and the wind completely changed and comes out of the south.

“It’s going to play significantly different depending on the wind direction and that will be a part of the challenge.”

This spring’s rain provided enough saturation that Newport’s fairways and rough are more green than they usually are this time of year. There are still more than a few spots that are firmed up and crispy, which will force players to change how they attack.

“When you see it in the summertime fromnow on, it’s going to be brown and you know the ball is going to be bouncing,” Quigley said. “It’s a little more, not luck, but it’s a little more bouncing and just playing golf instead of more target golf.”

Quigley is excited for the challenge.

Last year Quigley closed major season off with a bang. He went t-4 at the U.S. Senior Open and backed it up with a t-9 at the Senior Players Championship. While he hasn’t started major season off great this year – finishing T-57 at The Tradition and missing the cut at the Senior PGA Championship – he likes where his game is at.

Newport Country Club might not technically be the home of Brett Quigley, but Rhode Island is and it should give him the push he needs as he tries to get the biggest win of his professional playing career.

“It’s a home week,” Quigley said. “And it’s still my home.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek