CHARLOTTE, N.C. – If the drum beat is correct, and there’s been no signs to indicate otherwise, and Quail Hollow is destined for a spot at the major championship table it certainly has the finish for it.
The layout’s “Green Mile” (Nos. 16-18) is certainly stout enough for a major – the collection currently rank second, third and first, respectively, in scoring average – but it is the course’s 14th and 15th holes that may get more attention, particularly from PGA of America officials who are reportedly eyeing the club as a potential Ryder Cup and PGA Championship site.
Most cup matches average about 16 holes and the drivable par-4 14th and dramatic par-5 15th would make good theater. Currently the scoring average for those going for the green at No. 14 is nearly a half stroke lower than those who lay back, and the split at the 15th (4.47 scoring average for those going for the green compared to 4.78) is similar.
Of course, PGA officials likely sat up on Saturday when Phil Mickelson blasted Quail Hollow’s putting surfaces.
“For as beautifully designed as this golf course is tee to green, the greens are by far the worst designed greens we play on Tour,” Mickelson said. “Even though they're in immaculate shape, I would say that 18 would be the worst green that we have on Tour, except that it's not even the worst on this golf course; 12 is.”
To be fair, Lefty was fresh from an all-world two-putt par at the 18th from 60 feet on Saturday, an effort that forced him to putt some 8 feet right of the hole; and was burned on the closer on Thursday when his chip from short of the green didn’t make it all the way up the hill and rolled back off the putting surface.