Thursday, September 06, 2007

Quail Hollow deal means dream can build

The news this week at the Wachovia Championship will be extended through 2014 - the official papers should be signed in the relatively near future - was another example of why and how the five-year old tournament has been able to establish itself as one of the PGA Tour’s premier events.

The current contract has another three years remaining but organizers - that means tournament staff, Wachovia officials and Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris - chose the aggressive route and it has paid off again.

Many tournament contracts expire after 2010 and the network television deals will be redone after the 2012 season. By working to secure the Wachovia Championship’s place on future tour schedules, the event will continue to operate from a position of strength.

It has the best of all worlds with its venue, its early May date and the embrace of the community. By locking down its place on future tour schedules - you can believe keeping the early May date was critical in negotiations - the Wachovia Championship should continue to be one of the most significant events on the tour schedule.

Had the decision been made to wait until later to work on an extension, there was a risk of losing some leverage if the tour wanted to tinker with the date. That would not have been good news on the local front.

The extension also eases any worries about the future of the event after 2010. It’s no secret that some Quail Hollow members have been frustrated by the time and money invested in getting the course and club just right for the pros.

The transition from rye grass - kept alive for optimum tournament conditions - to bermuda has made conditions at Quail spotty in some summers. This past year, however, the transition went much better and the frustration level has simmered down.

Some members will still be frustrated. Find a club where that isn’t true, even if it doesn’t host anything but its own club championship. Some members are just cranky.

But by keeping the Wachovia Championship at Quail Hollow for at least seven more years, everyone wins.

When the tournament was created, organizers had grand dreams. Those dreams have been met and surpassed.

And they keep building on the dream.


Anonymous said...

This tournament, while nice, is very unfair to the members of the club want this to be their country club, not just an ego boost. The course is in great shape for the tournament and plays very hard, but for the rest of the year it's in bad shape. Couple that with the fact that it's not a great layout means that it's just an ok golf course. By the way, the egos at Quail Hollow are the reason we probably won't ever see another US Amateur in Charlotte. Some people can't stand the idea that Quail would only be used in qualifying and Charlotte CC would get the match play.