Sport Quail Hollow's 'Green Mile' one of golf's 'toughest stretches'

01:22  13 august  2017
01:22  13 august  2017 Source:   USA TODAY

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To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs. PGA Championship: Quail Hollow ' s ' Green Mile ' one of golf ' s ' toughest stretches '. Steve DiMeglio, USA TODAY Sports Published 4:53 p.m. ET Aug.

The track at Quail Hollow Club got a major makeover and some new pavement. Especially on the Green Mile . " I can't think of three holes in golf , including majors, where there are tougher finishing holes than these," local resident, Quail member and former U. S . Open champion Webb Simpson said.

Rickie Fowler plays from the fairway on the 18th hole during the second round of the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club.© Rob Schumacher, USA TODAY Sports Rickie Fowler plays from the fairway on the 18th hole during the second round of the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club. CHARLOTTE – Rickie Fowler stepped to the 16th tee at Quail Hollow during Wednesday’s practice round ahead of the 99th PGA Championship, looked out into the distance and chuckled.

“This will be a fun stretch this week,” he said.

He was joking, for the sweep of land he was referring to is 1,223 yards of cruelty. Coined the Green Mile in tribute of the 1999 prison movie starring Tom Hanks, the last three holes at Quail Hollow are a punishing trio that will go a long way in determining who hoists the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday.

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The green , which slopes from back to front, follows Quail Hollow ’ s propensity for devilish contours and gives players an opportunity to showcase Hole 16: Par 4 – 506 Yards This is the beginning of the “ Green Mile ” which represents one of the toughest three-hole finishing stretches in professional golf .

Quail Hollow changes. The main reconstruction of entire holes centered on the par-4 first, the par-3 second and the par-5 fifth, which was turned into two new holes. Hole 16 - PAR 4 | 506 YDS This is the beginning of the “ Green Mile ” -- one of the toughest finishing stretches in professional golf .

From start to finish, this is an epic walk often spoiled by the difficulty at hand. The starter is the 506-yard par-4 16th, with the green protected to the left by a lake and a large airway bunker directly in line of the most aggressive tee shot. The middle section isn’t much kinder – the 223-yard par-3 17th that features a rock-hard green guarded in front and to the left by the same lake. The final blow is the 18th, a 494-yard par-4 that has a creek running down the left side of the hole and nasty bunkers standing guard on the right side of the fairway and short of the green.

And all three are home to brutal rough and lightning Bermuda greens.

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Just getting to Quail Hollow was a rush. He drove two hours to Sacramento, California, for an overnight flight to Atlanta, and then on to Charlotte. Both made par. Sergio Garcia got a taste of Quail Hollow ' s '' Green Mile ,'' the toughest three-hole closing stretch in golf .

But probably the most famous part of the Quail Hollow golf course is the 3-hole closing stretch . Why? Because it has a cool nickname: "The Green Mile ." (Statistically, the 16th, 17th and 18th holes at Quail Hollow play as one of the toughest closing stretches every year on the PGA Tour.)

“You just have to buckle up and survive,” Fowler said.

And if the ride to the Wanamaker Trophy needs more than 72 holes, the Green Mile awaits for the three-hole, aggregate-score playoff. Quite a way to end the last major of the season.

“It's a tough stretch, one of the toughest stretches that we play all year,” four-time major winner and two-time PGA champion Rory McIlroy said. “I think 17 is the most difficult of the closing stretch. Especially off that back tee, you're raised up and you've got that very skinny green. You're looking down on it and you've got the water on your left. There's a bit of a bail-out area on the right. I'd say that's the only hole that you can sort of play defense on.

“On 16, you have to be aggressive off the tee. You have to take on that bunker on the right and try to get it down there as far as you can. It's a long enough hole. And the same thing on 18. I think aggressiveness off the tee; you can reward yourself with a little shorter iron shot in and be able to take on something a little bit more on the green.

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16-18 at Quail Hollow , has built a reputation for being one of the toughest closing stretches on the PGA Tour. Maybe even great golf . • • • The Green Mile . During the last three Wells Fargo Championships, 2014-16.

The green , which slopes from back to front, follows Quail Hollow ’ s propensity for devilish contours and gives players an opportunity to showcase Hole 16: Par 4 – 506 Yards This is the beginning of the “ Green Mile ” which represents one of the toughest three-hole finishing stretches in professional golf .

“ … I've had my fair share of good runs on that stretch and bad runs. It will be an exciting finish.”

Through the first two rounds, the excitement was watching the Green Mile beat up the field.

In the first round, 156 players combined for a total of 19 birdies on the three holes. Those same 156 players accumulated 150 bogeys, 31 double bogeys and six of those dreaded “others” on the stretch. The three holes ranked 1-2-3 as the toughest on the day, led by the 16th, where the field averaged 4.46 strokes.

Rain softened the course and the Green Mile was a bit easier in the second round, yielding 31 birdies. There were only 107 bogeys, 22 doubles and just two of those “others.” Each hole, however, played to an average over its par.

Through 36 holes, 45 balls wound up in a watery grave on the Green Mile.

When Jordan Spieth was asked where he would go if he were a fan to take in some action, he said he’d go to the drivable par-4 14th to see some birdies. To see some “triumph and disaster,” he said, he’d go hang around 16, 17 and 18.

“A lot happens on those three holes,” Spieth added.

Well, here’s something that has never happened on the Green Mile. Quail Hollow played host to the Wells Fargo Championship for 14 years starting in 2003. In all that time, with all those players, not one ever went birdie-birdie-birdie on the Green Mile.

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Now we’ve reached the big finish, or, as they call the final three holes at Quail Hollow – “The Green Mile .” The Green Mile , as our forecaddie reminded us, is regarded as the most difficult closing stretch in golf .

___ TAKING HIS LUMPS: The Green Mile was tough on everyone — including a course marshal. Sergio Garcia got a taste of Quail Hollow ' s " Green Mile ," the toughest three-hole closing stretch in golf .

“You have just got to hit good shots,” said world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, never one to mince words. “They are tough golf holes. We play tough holes all the time. But having three tough finishing holes in a major, you know, the tournament most likely is going to come down to those last three holes.

“Having a good game plan, a good strategy, and executing obviously is going to be the big key.”

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