Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Can The PGA And Wells Fargo Event Co-Exist?

Now that the 2017 PGA Championship is official, there are a few things to consider. Among them:

-- It will look and feel very different from the Wachovia/Quail Hollow/Wells Fargo Championship if for no other reason than it will be played in August. It's going to be hot, humid and crowded.

The PGA isn't afraid of heat. It was over 100 at Southern Hills in Tulsa a few years ago and it's going to be a blast furnace in Atlanta and Kiawah Island the next two years. The larger worry here in 2017 may be afternoon thunderstorms, which if they get cranked up on a consistent basis can be a serious problem.

One of the charms of the PGA Tour event here is the weather. Even if it's warm, it's not dead of summer hot. It's easy to be outside. It will sweatier work to watch golf in 2017.

Plus, there will be thousands more spectators. There's no definitive word yet on how many fans will be on site daily but it's likely to be in the 45,000 range, a bump of 10,000 over the maximum on site during the Wells Fargo Championship.

-- Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris believes the club can keep its PGA Tour event if a sponsor is willing to sign on but it will mean moving it away from Quail Hollow in 2016 and 2017. He's suggested Pinehurst No. 2 as an option and, on the surface, that's a good idea. There are a million details to consider -- would Pinehurst even be interested is one, corporate hospitality sales are another -- but keeping the PGA Tour and its date here long-term is worth pursuing.

Word is PGA Tour officials weren't thrilled by the PGA announcement on Tuesday but they couldn't have been surprised. If there was a surprise, it's that the news of the deal finally being done didn't leak sooner. It wasn't completed until recently but it's been in the works for months.

-- There is some concern that the Wells Fargo Championship will feel devalued now that there's a major championship on the calendar. I don't think so.

It's one of the special events on the PGA Tour schedule and long before it rolls around next May, the focus and the excitement will be redirected at what's here, not what's coming. One of the reasons the PGA is coming to Quail Hollow is because of what's there now. If anything, the PGA announcement should enhance the spring tournament.

-- If you're wondering, ticket sales and volunteer sign-ups are years away. Corporate sales don't typically start more than three years out and tickets usually go on sale after that.

If you're considering calling the Wells Fargo Championship office to get on any early list, don't. They run the PGA Tour event and have nothing to do with the PGA Championship at this point.


Anonymous said...

Real concern is if the Panthers will have won a Super Bowl by then. I doubt it.

Thanks for trying Jerry.

Anonymous said...

Your last statement is a troubling “If you're considering calling the Wells Fargo Championship office to get on any early list, don't. They run the PGA Tour event and have nothing to do with the PGA Championship at this point.” Lets not mince words here, the Wells Fargo Championship is great because of the course but that is only half the story. Kym and his team are the other reason the tournament is so successful. If the PGA tries to come in and put their own people in place to run the tournament, it will become very apparent why the current Tournament staff is the best at any event that you will ever find. Johnny Harris seems to be a smart man and I hope that part of his plan is to ensure that when the PGA Championship comes to Charlotte, he does not forget the current tournament staff who ensured that the Wells Fargo Championship was the best run tournament in the land..

Anonymous said...

Any chance there is a Charlotte course that could serve as the Wells Fargo event in '16 and '17?

Anonymous said...

Of course they can't hold both in the same years. They sacrifice the golf course every summer in order to hold the Wacholiva/QH/WF Championship. Fairways are burnt out every summer, and they lost their greens this year. That being said, it speaks wonders to the caliber of top tier golf courses in Chalotte when the second best course in the city can host a major.