Tag:quail hollow thursday
Posted on: May 5, 2011 6:45 pm

Quail Hollow flips lid at Fowler fashion

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Rickie Fowler laughed as he related the story, which, when you think about it, is pretty darned absurd.

"I am such a trouble-maker," he said.

For the second time in a month, Fowler was chastized by an official associated with the host club at a sanctioned PGA Tour event, and adjudged guilty of the heinous crime of wearing his hat backwards.

Fowler, a savvy 22-year-old who usually flips around his hat during interviews so people can see his face and the logo of his website that is stitched across the back of the cap, first was told to turn his hat around when he entered the interview room at Augusta National a month ago. He quickly complied.

Wednesday, with his lid on backward in the parking lot of the Quail Hollow Club, a man approached him, identified himself as a club member and informed him that there was a club rule regarding hats and asked Fowler to wear it properly. So he flipped it around again, bill facing forward.

Gee, and we wonder why golf has such a stiff image in the eyes of, oh, about 90 percent of the world's populace? Maybe somebody ought to point out to the suits at these stuffy clubs that Fowler has become the third-most popular fan draw behind Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, specifically because he's young and doesn't look like every other player on the tour.

"I wasn't sure if the guy was kidding or not," Fowler said after shooting a 4-under 68 in the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship.

Thursday, Fowler conducted his post-round interviews with his hat on backward, as usual.
Posted on: May 5, 2011 6:32 pm
Edited on: May 5, 2011 7:07 pm

Haas the homeboy lights up Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Not fair.

The PGA Tour has been coming to the Quail Hollow Club since 2003, but first-round leader Bill Haas has been coming here forever.

His father, Jay, a former tour standout himself, is a member of the club and Bill has thus logged more than a few rounds at the venue for the Wells Fargo Championship.

"I've got a litle bit of a feel for this place," Haas said. "Maybe more than some of the guys."


Haas, a two-time tour winner, shot an 8-under 64 to match the lowest first-round score and take a two-shot lead Thursday at Quail Hollow. 

Haas was born in Charlotte and lives about 90 miles away in Greenville, S.C.  He certainly putted like a guy who understands the nuances of the property. He had eight birdies and 10 one-putt greens, which was easily the best part of his play.

"Hopefully I didn't make all the putts today and saved some for the weekend," he said.

Haas got of to a good start this year and lost in a playof at the Bob Hope Classic, then sort of flatlined for a few weeks. He hasn't finished better than 30th in his last six starts, including two missed cuts.

"In this game, you are always this close to being good," he said.
Category: Golf
Posted on: May 5, 2011 6:06 pm
Edited on: May 5, 2011 6:45 pm

A few too many cervesas, perhaps?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Here's another installment in the ever-evolving chronicles of clueless Americans, part 2,912.

While Sergio Garcia was playing at the Wells Fargo Championship on Thursday, a fan apparently took note of the date and yelled in his direction as he wantered past.

"Hey, Sergio," the fan bellowed. "Happy Cinco de Mayo."

Garcia is from Spain. May 5 is Mexico's national independence day.
Posted on: May 5, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: May 5, 2011 4:44 pm

Players have tornado victims on their minds, hats

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It's a tip of the cap on top of the cap.

Most of the players in the field this week are wearing ribbons affixed to their hats to generate awareness for the victims of the deadly series of tornados that killed hundreds in the Southeast over the past couple of weeks, particularly in Alabama.

The majority of players, from both the United States and afar, affixed the ribbons to their hats Thursday at the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship, including stars like three-time major winner Padraig Harrington.

It's probably no coincidence that the ribbons are cut from black-and-white, houndstooth cloth, a pattern just like the one worn on the hat of a certain former football coach at University of Alabama.

Tour rookie Michael Thompson, a 2008 Alabama graduate, brought the ribbons to the event this week.
Category: Golf
Posted on: May 5, 2011 4:00 pm

Toms finds rare comfort in victorious haunts

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The way things have gone at venues where David Toms has won, the city of Charlotte ought to feel fairly nervous as far as their future on the PGA Tour radar screen.

The 2003 winner in Charlotte, Toms shot a 6-under 66 in the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship on Thursday, then spent a few minutes talking about how several of the 11 other events he has won are now defunct.

Let's see, he won the Sprint International, Buick Challenge, twice won the Michelob Championship -- all of which no longer exist. He won the Accenture Match Play at La Costa, which was ditched as a host venue. He also has two wins in Memphis, which hasn't had a title sponsor for several years and has been propped up on wobly legs by the tour.

"They've taken most of the events away that I've won, so there's not very many of them left, and this happens to be one of those, and a really good one," the 44-year-old veteran laughed. "It's a tournament everybody comes to, always has a great field, so you have to beat good players in order to win this event."

He did that in the inaugural Quail Hollow event, running away with it until he made a sloppy eight on the last hole to make it look misleadingly closer than it ever was. He has won three tournaments since but hasn't hoisted a trophy since January of 2006, partly because of a series of nagging injuries that tend to crop up when players enter their 40s.

Hopefully, given his superlative start, the Quail Hollow Club won't pull the plug in the middle of the week, though there has been plenty of discussion in local media outlets about whether the club remains interested in hosting a regular tour event beyond the contract period that ends after the 2014 event, now that the PGA Championship is coming to the venue in 2017. 

Toms says he feels a sense of calm and achievement when he plays in Charlotte, one of the best stops on tour.

"I mean, any time you can win on a golf course like this against the quality field that they always have here, that's a feather in your cap," Toms said. "So just knowing that I'm a former champion here, it always gives me that extra confidence coming back here to play every year."

Hopefully they don't mothball the thing.

Posted on: May 5, 2011 3:16 pm

Harrington shows signs of uptick

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Padraig Harrington, as you might have read, isn't one for embracing the status quo.

The guy won three majors in a two-year span, was named the 2008 PGA Tour Player of the Year, and instead of resting on his laurels, continues to tweak his swing and fidget with his game to the point where some have half-seriously questioned his sanity.

The affable Irishman shot a 3-under 69 in the first round at the Wells Fargo Championship on Thursday, two weeks after falling out of the world top 40 for the first time in 11 years.

Harrington missed the cut at the Masters and headed to a European Tour event in China where he missed the cut by five shots, then headed home to Ireland for a tune-up with longtime swing coach Bob Torrance. Over the offseason, Harrington and his coach made about a dozen minor adjustments to his swing and preshot regimen, an incredible number even for a serial tinkerer like Padraig.

But Harrington has forever been an interesting, evolving character -- sometimes unintentionally so. He hurt his neck before the first round at the Masters while swinging a club left-handed on the range before his round, wrenching it so badly that he could barely turn his head to the right. He shot 77-72 for his second MC in a row at Augusta National. Even his warmup routines are the stuff of fascination -- he used to hit one-handed drivers before tour rounds, too.

Harrington said he's playing next week at Sawgrass, heading back to Europe for the tour's flagship event at Wentworth, then coming back to the States for a U.S. Open tuneup in Memphis.

"Coming back for Elvis," he cracked.

The King made a pretty fair career comeback at around the same age as Harrington, so hopefully, the popular Irishman can do likewise. As ever, he was only too happy to accommodate those interested in an update on his status.

"It's nice to be wanted," he smiled.

Posted on: May 5, 2011 2:44 pm

McIlroy brings in expert to hone putting stroke

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- For the growing legion of Rory McIlroy supporters, take solace not in the score he posted on Thursday, but by what preceded it.

McIlroy, the defending champion at the Wells Fargo Championship after firing a scintillating 62 in the final round last year, was 13 shots higher in his opening round, but there nonetheless was a positive development this week on another front.

McIlroy, whose putting has been increasingly critiqued over the past few months, sought help from flat-stick guru and two-time major winner Dave Stockton this week at the Quail Hollow Club. The two worked together on Monday and Tuesday.

The work wasn't exactly major, but it was designed to help implement a bit more feel into McIlroy's hot-and-cold putting touch. If McIlroy becomes a more consistent putter, especially under pressure, the top guns had better duck. He's already ranked No. 6 in the world and he just turned 22 on Wednesday.

"He helped me more with my routine without really getting into the stroke at all," McIlroy said.

Stockton and his son, Dave Jr., have become the hottest short-game guys in the business, working to help a slew of players on the greens, including Phil Mickelson, J.B. Holmes and too many other prominent tour winners to mention.

Posted on: May 5, 2011 2:16 pm

Quail win would solve major issue for Sergio

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Sergio Garcia seemed to think it was a trick question. It was anything but.

With a busy dance card over ther next month, Garcia shot a 3-under 60 in the first round at the Wells Fargo Championship and was asked what he had planned if he failed to move into the world top 50, which he must accomplish in order to secure a berth in the U.S. Open in June.

Now 72nd in the world, if he fails to move up 22 positions by the time the two qualifying deadline dates for the Open pass, he faces navigating through the 36-hole section qualifying after the Memorial Tournament in early June.

That is, if he enters the sectional. He shrugged a couple of times when asked if he would consider that route.

"I actually don't know," he said. "Hopefully I won't have to [qualify]."

Garcia hasn't missed a major since the 1999 U.S. Open, a stretch of 47 majors in succession.

His manager, Carlos Rodriguez, laughed when told that his client expressed ambivalence and seemed unsure of whether the qualifying route was in the offing or whether entry paperwork had been filed.

"He doesn't worry about those things, we do," Rodriguez said.

Garcia, who took a mega-publicized two-month sabbatical last year and has been attempting to claw his way back into the upper strata of players ever since, was dismissive of his 11-year run at the majors.

"I don't care about streaks, records," he said. "I care about doing what I love, the best way possible."

Garcia indicated that he plans to play next week at Sawgrass and at both the Byron Nelson and Colonial events that follow. He's won at both of the first two locales in the past,and held the 54-hole lead in Charlotte a few years ago before imploding in the final round. So he's had success at the upcoming venues, which ought to give his world-ranking prospects a boost.

It doesn't sound like he's using it to his psychological advantage, exactly.

"The past is the past," he said. "When I get on the first tee and say, 'I won here two years ago, three years ago,' they are not going to say, 'OK, we give you a 67.' It doesn't work that way, unfortunately."

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