It is hard to believe, but Anthony Quayle’s first real step into the big time at home when he opened the Australian Open in strong fashion was almost five years ago in 2017.
Since that time, the Port Macquarie born now Queensland based Quayle has established himself in Japan, won twice on his home circuit and this week sits as one of the favourites to take home the Vic Open.
And after a tough period during Covid, the product of Gove Golf Club in the Northern Territory has a new outlook on the game and life that is yielding some of his best results and energised an attempt to make his way to America, either via Japan or Europe courtesy of the new DP World Tour cards on offer at home.
“Last year was hard, we had next to no outlets with the way Tour golf was, but at the moment for me, I am enjoying myself the most when I am out on the golf course competing and chatting with my playing partners and caddie,” Quayle told Golf Australia magazine. “I am really just having fun out there, and I am not too concerned if I muck up or make a mistake or if I do something good as well, I am not getting super excited either it is just kind of in the middle.
“I guess it is probably a learning curve for me. I think when you are younger and super hungry and want to win everything, you live or die by the results and that sort of stuff. Whereas right now, if I enjoy myself just trying to win, then that is all I am really caring about, that is primary to the result.”
The evidence of this newfound attitude has been on full display in 2022, Quayle sharing sixth at the Australian PGA before winning the following week at Nudgee then almost having the engraver checking his spelling last week at Rosebud before faltering on the back nine.
Quayle’s close friend and fellow Japan Tour player Todd Sinnott was the beneficiary of last week’s mistakes by the 27-year-old. But there is no residual effect for Quayle as he prepares for the Vic Open, where he will hope to elevate himself further up the Order of Merit and perhaps secure a spot at the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews.
“Definitely,” he said when asked if he threw a golden chance away last week. “It was tricky to know where I was because we didn’t have any leaderboards or anything like that. I probably wouldn’t have played any differently, I didn’t even play that bad down the stretch, just a couple of things didn’t quite go my way.
“For me personally if I win or lose, at the moment I am reasonably fatalistic with my outlook with that stuff. If it goes my way that’s great, if it doesn’t, then I still enjoyed myself being in that position. With Toddy winning is almost a little bit of a bonus, because we spent heaps of time together in Japan, and I know a little bit about what he has gone through over the last couple of years.”
"As much as I am super ambitious and hungry to do a lot of things on the course, it is still secondary to just enjoying my life.” - Anthony Quayle.
Although America beckons, Quayle admits there are plenty of options on the table for him currently. And while he may have some definite golf-based goals in mind, there are more significant areas he is focusing on.
“If it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t, then so be it,” he said. “I am working pretty hard towards getting to the States this year, but the best chance for it to happen for me is to be reasonably fatalistic and I am doing a pretty good job at the moment just keeping everything in perspective.
“While I really want that, primary to that is just enjoying my life a bit at the moment and having fun. As much as I am super ambitious and hungry to do a lot of things on the course, it is still secondary to just enjoying my life.”
That kind of attitude doesn’t always come easily to professional golfers who rely on the quality of their play to create the quantity of their pay. And Quayle’s balance is still a work in progress, one that has even allowed him to find another healthy dose of perspective when it comes to Covid and the toll on his career the pandemic has taken.
“Unfortunately we lost a year of our career, but it is not that bad at the end of the day,” Quayle said Wednesday. “We lost it because of Covid, you had some of the greats of our game lose a few years to world wars, and we are all complaining about Covid. It sucks, but it is not that bad.”
When it comes to bad, plenty might use that to describe the Queenslander’s current facial hair choice (not this reporter mind you), yet even that offers a window into the sense of fun and perspective Quayle currently has. One that is producing some seriously good golf.
“I don’t think it is going to go anywhere, I think my biggest goal in 2022 was just to have the rudest possible head I could,” he joked. “So, I am going with a little bit of a sharp haircut and the moustache at the moment, so keep running that and see where it gets me.”