CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - As the first round of the PGA Championship kicked off at Quail Hollow Club on Thursday, the man behind it all, Johnny Harris, walked around with his head high.
"You go to bat, or you come to bat, you find yourself in a position where you can do something someone else wouldn't be prepared to do," said Harris.
Harris, a real estate giant and the President of the Quail Hollow Club, was instrumental in bringing golf's 4th Major to Charlotte. It has been in the works for nearly a decade. Harris has also been instrumental in bringing other major events to Charlotte like the DNC, the Final Four, and next year's NBA All-Star Game.
"We are a different city than we were ten years ago," said Harris. "We have gone from a 'can-do' city to a 'will-do' city. We will do it if you tell us what you want to do."
Harris and other city leaders believe Charlotte is no longer a small city competing for national attention, but a major contender for major events.
"Not every city in the Carolinas can do this. We have the infrastructure that allows it to happen," said Harris.
"I would hate for us to ever take it for granted because I think part of our charm as a city is that hosting a Major is a big deal for us," said Michael Smith, President of Charlotte Center City Partners. "We have done enough hosting, but with the brand, it is never done. Brand is what people believe you stand for."
As thousands of fans pour into Charlotte for the PGA tournament, some from major cities that attract large events say the feeling never gets old.
"You know, it never gets old. People want to come out and represent the city and show pride," said Reed Cogins, a visitor from Atlanta.
The PGA announced it is 100% sure they will bring the Championship back to Charlotte, and Harris says they are ready.
"I do not have the keys, they have the keys," Harris said. "If they want to come back, we will drive the car."