Aug
9
2017
Tidbits from Wednesday at Quail Hollow and preview of the 2017 PGA Championship
By Stephanie Wei under Podcast

*UPDATED: Thanks to a tech savvy friend — the crappy audio from the pod has been fixed! You can actually hear them talk now! Yay.*

justin bieber bubba watson kevin na wesley bryan

Welcome to the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club! There’s so much to share and discuss, but you’ll have to listen to the podcast to hear about the changes to the golf course, which plays hosts to a regular PGA Tour event, and the overwhelming negative reaction to the tweaks from the players.

I caught up with Mike Small, the head coach of the men’s golf team at the University of Illinois, which has become an NCAA powerhouse under his leadership. He’s also won two Web.com Tour events, played on the PGA Tour, competed in multiple majors, won the PGA Professional Championship three times — just to name a few of his accolades and achievements in the game. Coach Small is obviously a man of many talents and I’m not sure how he manages to do it all, but it’s very impressive.

Then, in the second half of the episode, I caught up with Kevin Na to talk Justin Bieber, Quail Hollow, and the ongoing discussion about championship golf courses becoming longer — heavily favoring the “bomb-and-gouge” style of play — and how it’s negatively impacting shot-making and skill. Shane Lowry and Thomas Pieters, who played for Coach Small at Illinois, make a cameo at the end when Na and I are discussing shorts vs. pants. If you can’t hear Pieters at the very end, he says, “I shave (my legs) every morning,” while flexing his calves. Had to be there, but it was funny. See the video.

https://twitter.com/StephanieWei/status/895350025190076416

Listen to the latest episode of the pod here. Per usual, a friendly reminder to subscribe to the WUP pod via iTunes or wherever you consume your favorites podcasts. Thanks for your continued support!


 

Picks for the week? I hate being generic, but this is one of those weeks that it’s hard to really stray from the obvious because the course favors long hitters. Go with the bombers — obviously, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, and you can’t count out Jordan Spieth as he tries to complete the career grand slam. Other dark horses to watch for: J.B. Holmes, Tony Finau, Kevin Chappell, Justin Rose, Luke List.


Chha…chhaaa…CHANGES…

Additions from Summer 2016

Three new holes built

*#1 Par 4 524 yards
*#4 Par 3, 184 yards (everyone hates this green, so it sounds like there’s potential for the scenario where there could be train wrecks if you’re into that kind of thing…)
*#5 Par 4, 449 yards

The first hole was lengthened by combining the original first hole with the former par-3 2nd. The new 1st green sits in a similar location to where the former second, which eliminates that original hole. Given the new routing, the former 3rd and 4th holes now play as the 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

The new 4th and 5th were created using land that once played as the par-5 5th. The new par-3 4th tee sits in a similar location to the former par-5 5th tee, while the new par-4 5th green sits in a similar position to the former par-5 5th’s green.

All 18 greens replaced with Bermuda grass. Because the greens are new, they’re firmer and tougher to hold, as it takes a few years for the grass and sod and all that stuff to settle.

 


Danny Willett has switched swing coaches. He previously worked with Mike Walker, but starting this week, he’s now with Sean Foley.

More scenes from the driving range and the course…

Billy Foster, longtime caddie for Lee Westwood, finishes up his homework and explains what the marks are he’s making in his yardage book. He also adds his thoughts on the “new” Quail Hollow…

I took an afternoon stroll to check out the first couple of holes and some of the changes…

https://twitter.com/StephanieWei/status/895404252193009667

https://twitter.com/StephanieWei/status/895407844597616640

There’s more footage of the first couple of holes in my Insta-story (which only exists for 24 hours and then disappears!). For your convenience, I compiled Wednesday’s story into a video and posted it on Flipagram.

For more of my updates and reports throughout the day, follow me on Twitter and Instagram (specifically my Insta-story). Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook!

Cheers!


Check out this episode!