Mickelson applauds Quail Hollow changes

Phil Mickelson during pro-am day at Quail Hollow before the PGA Tour's 2014 Wells Fargo Championship.

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Count Phil Mickelson among the many players who have applauded the significant course changes at Quail Hollow Club, site of this week’s Wells Fargo Championship.

“I loved it,” the five-time major champion said late Wednesday afternoon after his pro-am round. “The greens are more subtle, not so much in-your-face. I’ve always thought it was one of the best tee-to-green courses I’ve seen.”

All 18 putting surfaces were redone, bentgrass being replaced with MiniVerde Bermudagrass. Greens also were reconstructed with gentler slopes.

“You have a variety of shots to get close to the pin . . . without having mounds to repel (the ball) away,” Mickelson said.

Many trees were removed to help with air circulation and thus turf health. The most obvious change was to the par-4 16th. It was rerouted to the left, with a green now on the edge of a lake. The tee on the par-3 17th now sits on top of what used to be 16 green.

“I can’t think of anything to do to the golf course to make it better,” Mickelson said.

The Hall of Famer also touched on a couple of other major topics:

• Mickelson said he watched the Masters after missing the cut there, adding, “Some of the drives Bubba (Watson) hit were hard to comprehend.”

• The six-time U.S. Open runner-up said he will visit Pinehurst for preparation a week or two before this June’s Open, after the No. 2 course is closed to the public. “I haven’t been able to get a tee time out there,” he said, half-jokingly. That means the place has been packed, not the best situation for Open practice.

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