I was standing outside the driving range at Quail Hollow Club Tuesday when almost everybody in the bleachers turned and looked behind them. When they turned back, they hustled to the front of the bleachers, filling the space in the front rows. Tiger Woods had arrived.
Tuesday was a perfect day to be at the Wells Fargo Championship. The weather was ideal, the crowd small and the beverage prices civilized. When Woods showed up, fans followed him from the driving range to the putting green, and from the green through the first nine holes.
Only for Tiger were the yellow ropes between the green on No. 2 and the tee box on No. 3 utilized.
Tiger was fun to watch no matter what he did. When he uses an iron, his swing is so smooth that when the club reaches the ball there’s barely a sound. He hit the ball with the ease the rest of us shake hands.
One tournament bonus is that by Saturday afternoon you will have run into almost everybody you know. And they’ll all claim they didn’t pay to get in. I don’t know anybody who will acknowledge paying for a ticket.
If you were to randomly interview spectators at the course and ask if they are fans of golf, many would say no. They are fans of events. They want to be where Charlotte is.
Last year, the Wells Fargo Championship was moved to Wilmington so Quail Hollow could host the PGA Tournament. Quail Hollow was overrun. You ran into everybody you know, and his or her friends, acquaintances, relatives, neighbors and co-workers.
Order has been restored. Tiger hasn’t played in the tournament for six years. His presence means there will be openings in the galleries of everybody else that plays at the same time, including Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy.
Most years, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament indicates the arrival of spring. This year, Wells Fargo does. Enjoy it.