Rory McIlroy, two-time Wells Fargo champion, isn’t just a fan of Quail Hollow, he’s a fan of Charlotte.
So much so that Tuesday, in a news conference before this week’s PGA Championship, McIlroy said he flirted with the idea of buying property in the Queen City.
“I’ve always enjoyed the area, so much so that we came to a wedding last year and we were contemplating getting a place here,” said McIlroy, who set a Quail Hollow record in 2015 with a round of 61.
“That didn’t quite work out, but I’ve always been comfortable in these surroundings. It’s got a nice mix: mild winters, but the look (with change of seasons) that would remind you of the Northeast a little bit. We really like it here, and it’s good to be back.”
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McIlroy said he appreciates that Charlotte has many of the amenities of a big city, but still has the friendly, homey feel of a smaller town.
An app for everything, even a golf major
At one time it was frowned upon, if not outright banned, for fans to bring their cell phones on the course at a professional golf tournament.
Now, it’s a featured aspect of the fan experience for this week’s PGA Championship at Quail Hollow.
Turner, which is sharing television rights for the tournament with CBS, has upgraded a mobile app specific to coverage of the 2017 PGA Championship.
Fans can keep up with scoring leaders starting with Thursday’s first round, along with numerous video streams, both live and on-demand, and weather updates. Turner is paying special attention to the “Green Mile,” the three finishing holes that became famous over the years when Quail Hollow annually hosted the Wells Fargo Championship.
Turner promises “minute-by-minute” programming throughout the tournament, including photographs, short videos, social content and live reports.
The app – which downloads free for IOS and Android devices, plus the Roku platform – includes a “golf mode” setting for those attending the tournament. That mode will help fans use their handheld devices without disrupting play.
▪ The PGA loosened its dress code a bit, allowing players to wear shorts during practice rounds for this tournament. That was a welcome tweak, considering how hot Charlotte can be in August. McIlroy said the only adjustment was not being able to tell a player from a caddie from a distance Monday.
▪ Players generally applauded Tuesday’s announcement that the PGA Championship will be played in May, rather than August, starting in 2019. This has the effect of distributing golf’s four majors over a wider span of the spring-summer months.
▪ SiriusXM will have a radio broadcast of the PGA Championship from noon to 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Two voices well known to Charlotteans will be on the call: Taylor Zarzour (former WFNZ-AM host) on play-by-play and Bill Rosinski (former radio voice of the Carolina Panthers) reporting from various holes.
▪ Brandt Snedeker withdrew from the tournament reportedly because of arib injury. That opened a spot for Chris Kirk of Athens, Ga.
▪ Dustin Johnson, who was born in Columbia, knows weather forecasts are iffy in the Carolinas. So when asked about all the predicted rain, he said it’s just as likely to be sunny much of the tournament.
▪ Jimmy Walker, last year’s PGA Championship winner, said golfers should consider par a victory over the “Green Mile,” Quail Hollow’s three challenging closing holes.
▪ Walker buys Jack Nicklaus’ observation that there are more pros capable of winning majors today than in Nicklaus’ era, which was primarily the 1960s and ’70s.
▪ There is something about “Justin Bieber” and “Quail Hollow” that doesn’t quite fit in the same sentence.
▪ The daughter of Panthers beat writer Joe Person became the Observer’s Bieber correspondent. Journalism must run in the family.
By the numbers
100The majors Ernie Els and Mickelson will each have played by the end of this tournament. Each is age 47 and they have combined to win nine majors.
12 Golfers who have previously played 100 or more majors.
1 That first group to tee off Thursday morning includes Raleigh’s Grayson Murray, who fired his caddie mid-round at the Wells Fargo Championship this spring in Wilmington.
They said it
“He forced everybody to look at fitness as a big part of the game of golf, and I think that actually helped me with longevity.” – Mickelson on how Tiger Woods changed the sport.
“We get to play golf, what most people do on vacation, as our job, and it’s the greatest job in the world.” – Mickelson
“The Green Mile? It’s getting longer by the year, it seems like,.” – Walker on Quail Hollow’s finishing holes.
“I feel like that every time I’m over the ball. It just doesn’t always happen.” – Dustin Johnson on how the best round of his career felt.
Per weather.com: Wednesday will be mostly cloudy with a high of 83. Winds will be about 8 mph. There’s about a 20 percent chance of rain.
Rick Bonnell: 704-358-5129, @rick_bonnell