In 66 days, the PGA Championship will tee off at the Quail Hollow Club and the world will be watching the Queen City.
"It really is a dream come true," said Quail Hollow Club president Johnny Harris at today's media day. "We look forward to hosting the world."
To host the best golfers in the world, the golf course underwent a lot of changes. Three new holes were built, 2 holes were modified, and all 18 greens were resurfaced with Champion Ultradwarf Bermuda grass. It took 90 days in the summer of 2016 to complete all the work.
"The golf course is ready," said Harris. "Our membership knows it's harder and it is harder."
The first hole is now a 504 yard, dog leg right par 4 with its new green complex where the previous hole #2 use to be. The old #2 is completely gone.
To make up for the loss of the old #2, a new 4th hole was built by taking away the old par 5 fifth hole. The new #4 is a 184 yard par 3.
The new 5th hole is a par 4, dog leg right hole that measures 449 yards.
On hole #9, some trees were removed and some new green side bunkers were added.
Hole #11 was lengthened by pushing the green back 34 yards. They also added some fairway bunkers.
"All of it has made it more important to be able to hit all the clubs in your bag," said Harris.
"It has the potential to play completely different than it use to," said Jimmy Walker who won the 2016 PGA Championship in Baltusrol.
Quail Hollow has not been too kind to Walker. He has played in the Wells Fargo Championship 8 times and has only made the cut on 3 occasions. His best finish is a tie for 22nd back in 2013.
With the tournament being played in August, the Bermuda rough could make this course even tougher.
"Bermuda rough tends to fly a lot," Walker said. "Even around the greens, Bermuda rough is tough to chip out of."
2016 was an up and down year for Walker. Following his win at the PGA Championship, he would go on to be a part of a Ryder Cup team that won the Cup back for the first time since 2008. In the process, Team USA would claim the Cup in their largest margin of victory since 1981.
"I got a great picture of me holding this thing (the Wanamaker Trophy) and the Ryder Cup in another hand and that doesn't happen very often," said Walker.
But on a hunting trip in November of 2016, Walker believes a tick bite led to him contracting Lyme Disease. After being sluggish for the greater part of 4 months, he was finally diagnosed in April of this year and began treatment. Walker has continued to play thru treatment which includes antibiotics which made his skin sun sensitive.
"My hands were really burning at the Players so I decided to shut it down till I was done," said Walker.
He finished his treatments just last week and admits he is not 100% but he plans to play in the US Open in a couple weeks and should be ready to go by the time the PGA Championship rolls around.
"I'm still pretty good," said Walker. "It's golf man. You can go out and it can all just fall right into place or it can not so I will be as prepared as totally possible."
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