The Wells Fargo Championship makes its return to Charlotte next week — and it's already gotten a major boost from one of the sports biggest stars.
Tiger Woods, who has been on the comeback trail from a series of injuries and personal problems, committed Thursday to play at the PGA Tour stop, which is back at Quail Hollow Club after a one-year hiatus.
"Obviously we are excited to have Tiger coming back to compete in our tournament but to also have him healthy and competing on the PGA Tour this year," Tournament Director Gary Sobba said. "His win here in 2007 was one of the memorable moments in our tournament history."
Woods, who last played at the Masters earlier this month, is returning to Quail Hollow for the first time since 2012. His presence means more buzz and bigger crowds for the April 30-May 6 tournament. Shortly after Woods committed, the event sent an email to fans that included a button for buying tickets.
Other big names already scheduled to play include Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Masters winner Patrick Reed. Players have until Friday at 5 p.m. to say if they're coming.
The Wells Fargo moved last spring to Wilmington to make way for the PGA Championship, which was held at Quail Hollow in August. With the event back at its traditional home, new management aims to spice things up with fresh perks, from a Saturday night concert to a special hang-out area for Wells Fargo customers.
The event has been in Charlotte since 2003, run by a nonprofit called Champions for Education that turns over a portion of its revenue to charity each year. Last year, the organization hired Florida sports marketing firm Pro Link Sports to oversee the event and named Sobba tournament director.
Fans who come out next week will likely measure the event against their memories of previous Wells Fargo Championships as well as last year's PGA Championship, which gave Charlotte its first taste of a golf major. But organizers are working on a new experience.
"We really don't compare ourselves to the PGA," said Sobba, noting the prominence of the sport's four majors. "But when we talk to our clients they are so ready to have their Wells Fargo Championship back. Based on gate and corporate partnerships and ticket sales, this is one of the best events on the PGA Tour."
The tournament doesn't disclose ticket sales, but the event is expected to draw around 35,000 fans a day or possibly more, Sobba said. The PGA, by comparison, drew more than 40,000 on some days.
"We still have tickets," Sobba said.
Prices for tickets during tournament play (Thursday through Sunday) range from $55 to $75, depending on the day and type of ticket. For more information go to wellsfargochampionship.com or visit a Dick's Sporting Goods store.
Some of the corporate hospitality venues have already sold out, but spots are still available, including in a new venue near the 18th green, Sobba added.
For those going out to the course next week, here's more on what you need to know:
▪ Transportation: Check the Wells Fargo Championship website for information on shuttle stops. Unlike the PGA, parking is included with the ticket price. There is a shuttle to the course from uptown, and a pick-up/drop-off lot for those who use Uber to get to the course.
▪ Music: The band Blue Dogs will play at Quail Hollow after play ends Saturday. Specialty drinks will also be available in honor of the Kentucky Derby running that day.
▪ New attractions: New features include a William Hill Estate Winery location, a Topgolf experience and a Wells Fargo customer lounge near the first tee. Show your Wells Fargo debit card, credit card or wallet app to enter the Wells Fargo venue and where you can enjoy free water, a private cash bar, TVs, premium viewing and other perks.
▪ Phone policy: The new policy allows fans to text in all areas and take video and photos all week. Fans are asked not to interfere with players, caddies or the media — and keep their devices on silent at all times.