A bumpy week for Quail Hollow
By Torleif Sorenson on 4/24/13
Quail Hollow Club hosts the PGA Tour's annual stop in Charlotte, currently known as the Wells Fargo Championship. And for not being a major championship, it is one of the prestigious and popular events on Tour — in no small part because of the outstanding and challenging golf course. But this year's event might be not only bereft of some of the excitement, but the course itself required some emergency surgery this week.
As Golfweek's Alex Miceli reports, four greens at Quail Hollow required all new sod; the 8th and 10th greens were in especially bad shape. According to Quail Hollow member and PGA Tour player Johnson Wagner,
"It went from a perfectly sodded green three weeks ago, which I thought was unbelievable, to being dead."Wagner and fellow Tour player Robert Karlsson opined that the damage was caused by excessive top-dressing by PGA Tour agronomists. The PGA Tour's operations chief, Andy Pazder, disagreed and said several factors caused the damage, although he refused to elaborate. He also acknowledged that the greens at 12 and 13 received new sod "for aesthetic purposes."
Interestingly, none of those repaired greens will stick around long; the club will bulldoze all 18 greens, replacing the bent-grass surfaces with MiniVerde Bermuda, a strain that holds up better under intensely hot temperatures. One reason for this change is that Quail Hollow will host the 2017 PGA Championship.
Once the 2013 Wells Fargo Championship gets underway on Thursday, May 2, it will be without Tiger Woods. As reported by Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press, Woods typically takes three weeks off following The Masters — and a scheduling shuffle means that this year, that time period includes Quail Hollow. Woods's absence was confirmed by his agent, Mark Steinberg.
Some say that Woods is also skipping the tournament because he carefully schedules his PGA Tour events based in part on his comfort level with the courses in question. Given the condition of some of the greens at Quail Hollow, it is reasonable to assume that Woods simply wants no part of the course — for this year, at least.
It's a shame for tournament organizers not just because Woods is an automatic audience magnet, but also because Woods won the tournament in 2007. At last year's event, Rickie Fowler notched his first PGA Tour victory by outlasting Rory McIlroy and D.A. Points in a playoff. Fowler, McIlroy, and Phil Mickelson are already confirmed for this year's field.
By no means does this render the 2013 Wells Fargo Championship meaningless, nor should you not attend the event if you're in the Charlotte area, if possible. But if you're a club member or tournament staffer, you would probably be chugging down the antacid tablets over the next two weeks.
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Image via Geoff Shackelford
[ comments ]
Still look better than the greens at my course. Even though Woods has won here, he hasn't always played that well. This could be one of those courses that he doesn't like very well and he'll cut it out of his schedule, which he has done with some other venues like Riveria.
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