By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Insider
Say this about the goings-on at Quail Hollow Club, there's never a dull moment, at least lately. Now in its 11th year as host of the Wells Fargo Championship, the George Cobb design renovated by Tom Fazio in the back half of the 1990s has endured more than its share of attention over the last 12 months. In fact, with the PGA TOUR in town, the tournament offers a bit of a break for the grounds crew.
Since last year's edition, numerous changes have been made to the property. Arguably atop the list of priorities was a complete rebuild of the green at the 12th hole where undulations have been diminished. While the par 4 still reads 456 yards on the scorecard, the measurements of 10 other holes have been tweaked. From a pair of nine-yard bumps (at the 210-yard, par-3 13th and 487-yard, par-4 16th) to a 19-yard reduction at the par-3 17th (198 yards), the net deviation was plus-23 yards to a course history-high of 7,492.
Garnering considerable awareness in recent weeks, the greens at the par-4 eighth and par-5 10th holes required freshly laid sod to resolve issues related to the failure of proper growth of the bentgrass on both. With the problem addressed, it's ultimately temporary anyway as all 18 greens will be replaced with Bermuda grass in advance of next year's tournament. It's a conversion that was originally scheduled for 2015 to prepare for the PGA Championship two years later, but the course demands it now.
Under normal conditions, The Green Mile -- holes 16, 17 and 18, a par 4-3-4 finish -- hogs the focus for the week, and rightly so. Yet, the closing stretch averaged 11.619 strokes in 2012. It's the second consecutive year that it established a new low. Overall, par-72 Quail Hollow played under par for the second straight year as well, registering a scoring average of 71.844.
Fairways are among the hardest to hit among all courses on the PGA TOUR -- Quail Hollow ranked third-lowest in driving accuracy (47.59 percent) for the third straight year in 2012 -- and the proximity-to-the-hole measurement is always among the longest. After four consecutive years as No. 1 on TOUR, it ranked third in 2012 at exactly 40 feet.
Unseasonably cool air will greet the field of 156 and remain throughout the week. High temperatures may not hit 70 degrees. A chance for rain cannot be ruled out at any time, but the threat is minimal. Winds are forecast to be moderate at worst.
NOTE: For similar characteristics among recent winners of the Wells Fargo Championship, please look for "Stats Suggest" in The TOUR Report on Wednesday.
|Power Rankings: Wells Fargo Championship|