It doesn’t matter the sport, there’s nothing like a home game.
The PGA Tour Champions was at Newport Beach Country Club in Newport Beach, Calif., last week for the Hoag Classic.
That’s where Kirk Triplett – a runner-up the previous week at the Cologuard Classic in his home state of Arizona – showed up without his regular caddie, Tommy Anderson.
Frankly, Triplett wouldn’t allow Anderson to loop for him at the Hoag Classic.
Anderson’s son is an elite high school hockey player in Minnesota where hockey is a huge deal. The state hockey tournament was going on last week. Triplett didn’t want his caddie to miss out on that.
“I’m not going to let you work the Hoag Classic,” Triplett told Anderson. “They play this tournament every year. Your son won’t get to play in his tournament every year. You need to go to the hockey tournament.”
So, Anderson did.
And Triplett needed a fill-in caddie.
Just miles away, a gentleman named Tim Quinn – who sells title insurance – was in a lunch meeting trying to close a deal. His phone was going berserk. So annoyingly so, that he had to excuse himself from the meeting to find out what was going on.
“You have goals. A win at Newport CC was one of mine. I think I’m more thankful for him giving me the opportunity than he was to me – and he was really thankful to me.” — Tim Quinn
“Luckily, the client is a good friend,” Quinn told The Caddie Network. “So, I went and looked at the phone and I have messages from caddie buddies like Crispy Jones, Haas and Scott Gneiser telling me, ‘Kirk Triplett needs a caddie this week. Are you available?’”
Shortly thereafter, Triplett himself called Quinn and asked, “Would you mind helping me this week?”
Thirty minutes later, Quinn was at the course and ready to help.
It should be made clear that ringing Quinn was no random thing. Before he settled back into life in California selling title insurance, Quinn was a caddie on the Web.com and PGA Tours from 2002-2015.
Furthermore, he was a longtime member at Newport Beach Country Club, site of the Hoag Classic.
And there began the fairytale week. Quinn, on his home course, in his hometown, in front of loads of family, friends, clients and, most importantly, his 3 1/2 -year-old daughter, Willa, used his local knowledge to help guide Triplett to his seventh career PGA Tour Champions victory.
And it ended in stunning fashion, too.
Triplett began the final round trailing leader Fran Quinn (no relation to Tim Quinn, though they’ve made plenty of jokes about it over the years) by four strokes. Eventually, he wound up in a playoff with Woody Austin.
The tournament ended on the second playoff hole, when Triplett hit the kind of shot a player dreams about – a 3-wood from 252 yards out that settled 10 feet from the hole before he rolled it in for an eagle.
“Kirk on 18 in regulation, he’s like, ‘if you told us on Tuesday that we’d be in this position today, we would have taken it.’ I said, ‘Uh, yeah we would.’ He thanked me and I said, ‘No. Thank you!’ He filled out one of my dreams,” Quinn said. “I was usually working in Tampa the week this event was played, so I never got to caddie in it. You have goals. A win at Newport CC was one of mine. I think I’m more thankful for him giving me the opportunity than he was to me – and he was really thankful to me.”
This was Quinn’s home game, not Triplett’s.
“I had lots of friends and family there,” Quinn said. “Everyone was yelling my name. Kirk’s like, ‘If they’re cheering for you, they’re certainly cheering for me!’ My good friend works for Ernst and Young and had a great luxury box behind 18 that I was supposed to be sitting in. I’m looking around the 18th and seeing everyone. It was awesome. My daughter was there, and she was kind of pissed when Kirk got the trophy. She thought it was mine. But she did get a picture with the Happy Gilmore-sized check.”
Quinn, who lives one mile from Newport CC, estimates that he’s played the course about a thousand times. We asked how much that local knowledge helped over the weekend.
“You know, it’s just knowing the winds and what they’re going to do,” he said. “It was blowing hard and it was a west wind, which you never really see there, straight west. There’s one hole that’s downwind on west wind and that’s 17. It’s an old-school park. It was a crosswind day on Sunday. You had to know where west is. I was able to help with that and Kirk understood it, too.”
After the win, Quinn met a bunch of friends in the clubhouse to celebrate before heading to another friend’s house, just off the ninth fairway.
He gave a lot of credit to his caddie buddies – especially Gneiser (who caddies for David Toms) – for linking him up with Triplett.
“Gneiser is a good bud of mine,” Quinn said. “He was the caddie master for this deal. I’ll give him a referral fee.”
And has he had a chance to connect with Anderson yet?
“I called Tommy last week, and I didn’t hear back, but I’m going to shoot him a text to talk sh** and tell him have fun in Hawaii (a tournament reserved for tournament winners),” Quinn laughed. “The coolest thing about the senior tour and last week is that it’s how it used to be with players and caddies. On the regular tour, everyone is so stiff and in their own worlds. Out here, it’s old school. You’re on the practice greens talking to your buddies about the night before. You see caddie friends like Scotty Martin, Ryan Rue and Jay Haas Jr., you’ve got Rocco Mediate yelling at you and joking around. Everyone is loose and enjoying it. Scott Gnieser is hysterical. Day to day to day, it’s a good time with him.”
Did snagging a “W” give Quinn the itch to get back into caddying?
“Hell no, it didn’t give me the itch to come back!” he said. “I take that back. I have a friend on the Tour, Nate Lashley. I’d love to work just an event or two for him. And I’d love to work this particular event every year. But that’s it. I stopped caddying because I wanted to be around to watch my daughter grow up. I’m happy with life right now. I do a lot client golf, at least twice a week. Golf is amazing, especially in business. You can find out a lot of stuff. I use my golf, my experience, my story in business and it’s been very successful. I have a pretty good background in golf and people love it. And I love people who love golf.”
Oh, and in case you were wondering… Quinn did close the deal on the meeting that was interrupted when his phone was blowing up last week.
“I nailed the deal,” he said. “We got it done. You can’t go wrong with tacos and talking deals. It’s one of the best lunch meetings I’ve ever had.”