Makeover lengthens Quail Hollow's Green Mile

By Randall MellApril 30, 2014, 6:23 pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Green Mile is even longer now.

With Quail Hollow Golf Club getting a major makeover in the last year, the famed 16th, 17th and 18th finishing holes will make it even more nerve-wracking on a leader late Sunday afternoon.

“Everybody talked about how this was one of the best golf courses on Tour; I personally did not agree with that,” said two-time PGA Tour winner Paul Goydos. “I now think this is one of the top five or 10 golf courses we play. I can’t imagine them doing a better job than they did.”

All 18 of Quail Hollow’s greens were rebuilt, with contours softened and MiniVerde Bermuda replacing bent grass. More than 100 trees were removed from the course. Architect Tom Fazio, who was involved in the original renovation in ’03, oversaw the changes.

The Green Mile is longer, different now. Overall, the three finishing holes are cumulatively 66 yards longer than last year.

“One of the things we are trying to do on this tour is identify the best players,” Goydos said. “You have a one-shot lead standing on the 16th tee in the last round and you win, you’re probably the best player that week.”

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Since Quail Hollow became home to this championship in 2003, its three finishing holes have ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in difficulty among PGA Tour stops nine times. They’ve ranked No. 1 three times. They have never ranked lower than No. 3.

“I can’t think of three holes in golf, including majors, that are tougher finishing holes than these,” said Webb Simpson, a member at Quail Hollow.

At the par-4 16th, the green was moved 80 yards to the left, where it borders water. The fairway was shifted left, too, creating space atop the hill for the Green Mile Village and Green Mile Club, viewing areas with spectacular vistas.

The 16th hole was lengthened 21 yards since last year, to 508 yards, but could play as far back as 528 yards.

“I think 16 is a bazillion times better than the old 16,” Goydos said. “It’s a much better hole. One, it’s prettier. Two, it’s longer.”

Goydos said it’s a strategically a better design now.

“The architect said this is a long, hard par 4, and, yes, there is water on the left, but he also gave me the opportunity to run the ball up on the green," Goydos said. "I have options there now. The old hole, you had to hit it [high] to try to stop it. That was the only option. Now, he has a green with a bunker and water, and if the pin is on the right, you can hit cuts and fades in there, you can run it up there, you can hit it high. You can do different things to accomplish the same thing.”

The tee boxes at the par-3 17th were shifted, with a new back tee playing 221 yards, which is 23 yards longer than a year ago.

“The 17th hole is a lion with a thorn in its foot,” Goydos said. “There’s just no way around the hole.”

Simpson said there’s going to be a common place to miss there.

“I saw Tom Fazio at a dinner,” Simpson said. “I joked with him. With that new tee, if we play it back there, the tournament's going to need to hire someone, permanently, to stand on the tee, and every time somebody hits, just yell `Fore!’ because people will go right of the green.”

Mark Wilson likes the angle of attack set up at 17 better now.

“When they had the left tee there, it always made it a little easier than they wanted, but the right tee was brutal,” Wilson said. “So, it’s in between. I love where that tee box is there.”

The par-4 18th hole was lengthened 15 yards to 493 yards.

“It’s a good finishing hole,” Goydos said.

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Watch: Tiger birdies 3 of 4, then goes OB

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 18, 2018, 8:30 pm

Starting Sunday five off the lead, Tiger Woods teed off in his final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a laced 2-iron and a par at No. 1.

Woods hit the green at the par-3 second but left himself a 50-foot birdie putt and a 6-footer to save par, which he walked in.

A two-putt 4 at the par-5 fourth gave Woods his first birdie of the day and moved him to 8 under for the week. Apparently energized, Tiger pulled driver at the short par-4 fifth and unleashed this violent swing.

A pitch from the thick rough hit a sprinkler head and stopped on the apron, leading to this birdie try, which fortunately hit the pin but unfortunately didn't fall.

Looking to pick up another stroke - or two - at the par-5 sixth, Woods took his drive 317 yards over the water and hit this second shot from 227 yards to 13 feet, leading to another two-putt birdie when his eagle try burned the right edge.

Returning to his trusty 2-iron, Tiger found the fairway at the par-4 eighth and then threw this dart from 176 yards to 6 feet and rolled in his third birdie putt of the day to move to 10 under.

His momentum was slowed by his first bogey of the day at No. 9, the product of an errant drive and its ensuing complications. As a result, Woods made the turn 2 under on his round, 9 under for the week, and still five off the lead, like when he started the day.

But Woods wouldn't wait long to make up for his mistake, immediately responding with another flagged iron and another birdie at No. 10.

He continued his assault on Bay Hill's par-5s at the 12th, getting up and down from the sand for a birdie-4 that moved him to 11 under par, just two off the lead.

And with this roll at 13 giving him his third birdie in four holes, the charge was officially on, with Woods just one back.

Just when it looked like Woods was primed for a late run at his 80th PGA Tour victory, Woods stepped to the tee at the par-5 16th, where he had missed wide right three days in a row, and sniped his drive out of bounds into a backyard miles left.

He made 4 on his second ball for a bogey-6 to drop back to 11 under, three behind.

(More coming...)

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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 18, 2018, 5:00 pm

Tiger Woods will start Sunday five off the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. How will he follow up last week's runner-up? We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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McIlroy: Time for Tour to limit alcohol sales on course

By Ryan LavnerMarch 18, 2018, 1:50 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy suggested Saturday that the PGA Tour might need to consider curbing alcohol sales to stop some of the abusive fan behavior that has become more prevalent at events.

McIlroy said that a fan repeatedly yelled his wife’s name (Erica) during the third round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“I was going to go over and have a chat with him,” McIlroy said. “I think it’s gotten a little much, to be honest. I think they need to limit the alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something, because every week it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.

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“I know that people want to come and enjoy themselves, and I’m all for that, but sometimes when the comments get personal and people get a little bit rowdy, it can get a little much.”

This isn’t the first time that McIlroy has voiced concerns about fan behavior on Tour. Last month at Riviera, he said the rowdy spectators probably cost Tiger Woods a half-shot a round, and after two days in his featured group he had a splitting headache.

A week later, at the Honda Classic, Justin Thomas had a fan removed late in the final round.

McIlroy believes the issue is part of a larger problem, as more events try to replicate the success of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which has one of the liveliest atmospheres on Tour.

“It’s great for that tournament, it’s great for us, but golf is different than a football game, and there’s etiquette involved and you don’t want people to be put off from bringing their kids when people are shouting stuff out,” he said. “You want people to enjoy themselves, have a good day.”

As for a solution, well, McIlroy isn’t quite sure.

“It used to be you bring beers onto the course or buy beers, but not liquor,” he said. “And now it seems like everyone’s walking around with a cocktail. I don’t know whether (the solution) is to go back to letting people walking around with beers in their hands. That’s fine, but I don’t know.”

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Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders

By Randy SmithMarch 18, 2018, 2:45 am

PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.

She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.

Her confidence is high.

“Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”

Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.

Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.

“One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.

“I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”

Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.

“I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”

That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.