Quiros finished school at 18, turned pro in 2004 at age 21, won professional events, small and not so small, in '06, '07, '08 and '09, in Spain, in South Africa, in Qatar. He plays around the world and came to Doral ranked 33rd in it, with a goal of making Colin Montgomerie's European Ryder Cup team come September.
His caddie, Alastair McLean of Scotland and Huntersville, N.C. (and not related to Jim), caddied for Montgomerie for years. Some of Monty's pearls have worked their way from Alastair to Alvaro. Example: When playing out of the woods, never hit the first tree. This has particular application to Quiros because he spends a lot of time in the shade. He will sometimes say, in his singsong English, "The driver, she is not behaving well today, you know?"
The caddie and his man have a good time together, McLean speaking Spanish through his soupy Glaswegian accent, Quiros coming back to him in Castilian-inflected English. On one hole last Saturday, Quiros drove it a mile but into the right rough, 200 yards from the green, behind a tree.
"Pearfict six," the Scottish caddie said. He laughed.
"Yes, yes—six-iron, perfect," the Spanish player said. He was laughing too.
There was no six-iron in their bag. Not because Doral has no six-iron shots. Oh, no. The shaft on the six-iron had broken, and they could not find a replacement. Quiros plays a triple X stiff Rifle steel shaft, a 7.7 shaft flex, if that means anything to you. A Sequoia of a shaft, played by almost nobody and not even carried in the Tour equipment vans. Quiros slashed at a seven-iron instead. He's not a player with many swing speeds.
His playing partner was Francesco Molinari of Italy, an intense short-knocker with bags under his eyes and a putting game that will not quit. They were teammates last year in the Seve Trophy, a competition on the European tour, which they both call home. They chatted in Spanish all the way around, and the Spaniard gave the Italian a hearty thumbs-up when Molinari played a beauty from the rough. How do you say "people person" in Spanish? Persona de personas? Quiros is one.
He stiffed a shot on a short par-3, and while making the tee-to-green walk, putter in hand, he heard a man call out in Peruvian Spanish, "Gran tiro, gran tiro!"
Quiros turned his head to the man without breaking stride and said, in his Castilian Spanish, "Muchas gracias, muchas gracias!" As he says it, it comes out gra-thee-us.
Repeating words is part of his charm, along with hitting driver. He averages 10 or 11 drivers a round, and shouts about four or five go's at each of his airborne orbs. It's like this: Go. Go-go-go. Go! You're talking about 50 go's per round, give or take. His ball will sometimes listen. One of his Saturday tee shots, in a hook wind, measured 394 yards in McLean's yardage book. Oh, this guy's going to be huge.