Horses for Courses: Wells Fargo Championship

For the second time in six years Quail Hollow Club has needed a substitute venue as it readies for a major golf event. The 2017 edition was moved to Eagle Point in Wilmington, North Carolina as QHC prepared to host the PGA Championship later that summer.

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This time around the Club will be preparing for the Presidents Cup at the end of September. TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm has been stretching in the on deck circle and is ready to pinch hit for the first time since hosting Tiger Woods’ Quicken Loans National in 2017 and 2018.

There’s plenty of history at this track nestled just outside Washington, DC. The TOUR played the Kemper Open/Booz Allen Classic here from 1987-2006. Before the return of the QLN, the Tour also hosted a pair of events in the early 2010s raising the total number of professional events to 25.

The former cattle farm designed by Ed Ault, Tom Clark and former PGATOUR professional Ed Sneed opened in 1986. The PGATOUR’s renovation doctor Steve Wenzloff, with help from Jim Hardy, brought it up to speed before the 2017 edition.

And it’s difficult. And it’s been four years.

Playing 7,107 yards to Par 70 (35-35) TPC Potomac played the fourth most difficult track on its reintroduction in 2017 (71.458) including the majors. The 2018 edition mellowed slightly as it checked in at No. 18 most difficult (69.894) of the 51 used on TOUR. For the 2022 edition 53 yards have been added to bulk up the Par-5 No. 2 hole. The course scorecard is now 7,160 yards.

With only 22 acres of fairway and tree lined fairways there’s hardly any room to miss. Errant shots that aren’t gobbled up by almost three inches of Kentucky Bluegrass/Tall Fescue will also have to avoid water penalty areas on 10 of the 18 holes and 80 bunkers.

Slick Bentgrass greens running 12 feet plus return and the Penn A1/A4 surfaces average less than 4,300 square feet ranking as some of the smallest targets on TOUR. Usually Par-5 holes bring some reprieve but not this week as No. 2 now plays 641 yards and No. 10 stretches to 595 yards.

The field of 156 will be cut to the top 65 and ties after two rounds. The $9 million purse will parse $1.62 million plus 500 FedExCup Points to the winner.

Let’s find some horses for courses!