SportsPulse’s Trysta Krick checks in with Steve DiMeglio at Quail Hollow Club for an update on the PGA Championship and his thoughts on why the tournament is being moved on the golf calendar.
USA TODAY Sports
CHARLOTTE — As the final group in the final round of the 2016 Wells Fargo Championship made the turn at Quail Hollow, a small army of maintenance workers began an aggressive offensive on the front nine.
By the time James Hahn beat Roberto Castro in a playoff, the battalion and its chainsaws, bulldozers and other high-powered gardening weapons had started reshaping the course for the 99th PGA Championship.
In less than 90 days, all 18 greens were stripped of grass to deal with an imperfection in the surface in the greens, all the sand was removed from the bunkers and some 900 trees were cut down. The putting surfaces were replaced with a different type of Bermuda grass from Texas called G-12, the bunkers were filled in with the same type of sand used at Augusta National. The fairways are Bermuda and the rough is Bermuda instead of rye.
And there are essentially four new holes.
The opening hole is now a 524-yard par-4 dogleg to the right, ending on the old No. 2 green. Thus, with the elimination of the old second hole, a new par-3 was built — the 184-yard fourth hole. The old par-5 fifth is now a dogleg-right par-4 of 449 yards. And the green of the par-4 11th was moved back and the hole now plays 462 yards.
The course, now playing out at 7,600 yards and to a par of 71, presents a different set of challenges than the players were familiar with during the Wells Fargo Championship.
“Obviously they made it harder, which I like; it’s longer,” world No. 1 Dustin Johnson said. “But the golf course, it’s in fantastic condition. Perfect greens, perfect fairways. I really do like the changes so far.”
The course was long enough, but with rain having already softened it and the forecast calling for more precipitation, Quail Hollow will play very long. It also will play very differently. Bermuda greens pose a challenge because of the grain. Unlike bent, where putts roll on a true line, the grain of Bermuda will influence…