PGA Championship Makes Welcome Return to North Carolina
In 2017, Quail Hollow Club hosted the PGA Championship for the first time. To say it was a success is an understatement. Before the week was over, the PGA of America revealed its intentions to bring the major championship back to Charlotte, North Carolina. Thursday, the PGA of America delivered on that promise when it announced the PGA Championship will return to the Club in 2025.
"We had an incredible Championship - for spectators and players alike - in 2017 at Quail Hollow Club, and we can't wait to return in 2025,” said Kerry Haigh, Chief Championships Officer of the PGA of America. “It is a spectacular layout for a major championship that rewards quality play as well as providing strategic challenges that test the best players in the world."
Haigh’s set up for the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club rewarded players who made the fewest mistakes. That week, it was Justin Thomas who avoided making big numbers and didn’t record a single three-putt. During the final round, five players held a share of the lead, but it was Thomas who best managed his game and his emotions. He remained steady, even through the course’s difficult three-hole closing stretch, nicknamed the Green Mile, by making birdie at the par 3, 17th hole. It gave him a three-shot cushion heading to the final hole. Thomas carded a final round three-under par, 68 which was good enough for his first major title, and one that was made even more special given his father, Mike, is a PGA Professional.
“Everything was just good enough where if I stayed in this good, mental frame of mind, then I knew I was going to have a good chance,” Thomas said about his victory, “especially at a place like Quail Hollow, which I think is one of the best golf courses there is when it is set up like that. With the rough the way it was, if you drove it well you could make birdies. If you didn’t, it was so hard to save par and I think that’s a perfect way a golf course should be.”
Since its founding in 1959, Quail Hollow Club has undergone multiple renovations, including most recently at the hands of Tom Fazio in 2016. Scott Davenport, the PGA Head Professional at Quail Hollow Club, was part of the 15-month transformation that saw the course become a major caliber test. He will once again be a major part of readying the course for the PGA Championship’s return in 2025.
“It’s been fantastic what we’ve been able to do, what we’ve been part of, and this PGA Championship is going to be a huge part of it as well,” Davenport said ahead of the 2017 PGA Championship. “It’s going to be great for the players. It’s going to be great for the members.”
One of those members is Webb Simpson, who is a native of North Carolina and calls Quail Hollow Club home. Since 2003, the course has been a regular stop on the PGA Tour and one that Webb concedes to being one of the toughest tests all year. Having a major staged on his home course presented an entirely different experience for Webb, who finished T33 in 2017.
“It was special,” Webb said about 2017. “I remember thinking how rare it must be to be able to play a regular tour event and a PGA Championship at your home course. I live out there as well. I spend so much time out there, my kids do, my wife does. It’s home.”