Tiger Woods is No. 1 in the world golf rankings again. Will he play in the Wells Fargo Championship on May 2-5 at Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Club?
Tournament executive director Kym Hougham is confident he will.
“Every year Tiger hasn’t been hurt, he’s played here and he doesn’t usually change his schedule much year to year,” Hougham said Tuesday. “If you look historically, we would anticipate he would be here. Last year he gave us a three-week commitment window and we’re hoping he’ll do that if he’s coming. We feel good that he is.”
The Wells Fargo tournament usually attracts most of the world’s top players. Woods, the 2007 Wells Fargo champion who didn’t make the cut last year, returned to the No. 1 spot on Monday after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Fla. Actually, Woods has not played at Quail Hollow four times: he elected to miss the inaugural tournament in 2003, withdrew when his father died in 2006 and was hurt in 2008 and ’11.
Hougham spent a few days last week at Bay Hill, talking to players (and their wives and caddies) about playing in Charlotte.
Many players have already committed, including defending champion Rickie Fowler, Charlotte resident and 2012 U.S. Open champ Webb Simpson and 2012 Masters winner Bubba Watson (who didn’t play at Quail Hollow last year so he could spent time with his newly adopted son).
Other commitments: Lee Westwood (ranked 12th), Hunter Mahan (22), Nick Watney (23), Bo Van Pelt (25), Jim Furyk (26), Martin Kaymer (28), Bill Haas (30), Robert Garrigus (37), Michael Thompson (43), Freddie Jacobson (46) and John Senden (47).
Other top names who would likely commit later with Woods include Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy.
Course changes: Several course changes are complete for the tournament, including the fourth and eighth holes and the 12th green. The chipping and bunker practice areas have been moved to the left of the practice area, altering the fourth fairway to make it longer and straighter. Cart paths around the putting green have also been moved, making the area around the first tee and clubhouse more open to fans.
Bermuda on the way: When the tournament ends, Quail Hollow will close for 90 days as the greens are changed over to Bermuda grass. Bermuda is hardier than the bent grass that’s used now and easier to maintain in hot weather. It’s a move many golf courses are making and that Quail Hollow will have in place in plenty of time for the PGA Championship in August 2017.
Southpark tickets: Tickets for the tournament go on sale Wednesday at a kiosk at SouthPark Mall. Kiosk hours are Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. All ticket packages are available at the kiosk, with a bonus of saving $10 in shipping and handling fees.
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