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Monday, July 13, 2009
Quigley out of British Open; Levet in news services

Brett Quigley had the best 36-hole score Sunday at the John Deere Classic, 62-67 in the marathon finish to tie for second. It came with a perk that Quigley wasn't expecting -- a spot in the British Open.

He loves links golf and the British Open. He also had a pro-am obligation Monday, and his family was coming to Milwaukee to attend the memorial service for Chris Smith's wife, who was killed in a car accident in Indiana last month.

Quigley never thought he would have a chance at Turnberry, so he didn't bring his passport with him to Illinois. To go home to Florida to retrieve it would mean arriving at the British Open on Tuesday, getting his legs under him Wednesday, then teeing off Thursday.

Quigley had five minutes to figure out what to do, and decided to stay put.

"My heart is not into playing the British," he said. "I know I'll catch some heat for it. But I know it's the right decision for me."

Quigley is not the first American to skip golf's oldest major. Kenny Perry sat out last year, even though he was eligible two weeks in advance, because he had committed to play Milwaukee in his quest to make the Ryder Cup team. Fred Funk also had designs on the Ryder Cup in 2004 when he skipped Royal Troon, figuring he would have a better chance to earn points in Milwaukee.

In a text message Monday morning, Quigley said he felt better about his decision, especially the service for Beth Smith.

"I cannot even begin to fathom his pain," Quigley said. "I hope he feels the love from his tour family and everyone else. Family and friends are vital in these times."

Thomas Levet will take Quigley's spot at the British Open. Levet, 40, secured the berth at Turnberry as the next available player based on the official world rankings, British Open organizers said on Monday.

The Frenchman, ranked 82nd, lost out in a four-way playoff for the 2002 British Open at Muirfield, won by South African Ernie Els, but has failed to qualify for the championship for the last three years.

Levet clinched his fifth European Tour title at the Spanish Open in May.

Information from The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.