Golf 2017: Fine form
The Wells Fargo Championship will take a one-year hiatus from Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Club as the course readies for the PGA Championship in August.
Johnny Miller was dominating pro golf the last time the PGA Championship was played in North Carolina, winning eight of 44 tournaments in 1974. But despite Miller’s hot streak, Lee Trevino won the title that year at Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, a stroke ahead of Jack Nicklaus. In 1936, at the only previous PGA Championship held in North Carolina, Denny Shute, known as “The Human Icicle” for his reserved personality, defeated Jimmy Thomson at Pinehurst No. 2. Shute received a $1,000 check, Trevino picked up $45,000, while last year’s winner, Jimmy Walker, settled for $1.8 million.
Now it’s Charlotte’s turn: In August, the championship is coming to Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Club, the first time the Queen City has hosted one of golf’s four “majors.” Miller, who is NBC’s lead golf analyst, won’t be front and center because rival CBS has the TV rights this year. Hopefully he can land a ticket, since the PGA’s four championship rounds sold out quickly last year. Only tickets for practice days were still available in early March.
The Quail Hollow event is the highlight of the golf year in North Carolina, where there’s optimism about the sport’s future despite declining participation. Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington hosts the Wells Fargo Championship in early May for one year, while the previous site — Quail Hollow — preps for this year’s PGA. A third tournament in North Carolina for premier men’s golfers, the Wyndham Championship, takes place at Greensboro’s Sedgefield Country Club a week after the PGA.
For more than 20 years, the North Carolina Golf Panel has ranked the state’s 100 best golf courses, plus regional standouts and favorites in other select categories. The group comprises more than 150 pros, coaches, notable amateur players and business leaders. Further proof that the sport is alive and well in the Carolinas: The panel is busier than ever, according to Executive Director Kevin Brafford. “We’re essentially already full for next year.”
Click here to see a PDF of North Carolina’s Top 100 courses