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Woods decided last week not to play, presumably because he forgot there was only two weeks between the Masters and Quail Hollow, a change in the schedule this year. The Wells Fargo Championship has only one of the top 10 in the world _ McIlroy at No. 2 _ which is rare for this event.
There already have been nine players to withdraw, including past champions Vijay Singh and David Toms. Ian Poulter was in Charlotte on Tuesday but never made it out to the golf course. He withdrew citing personal reasons. Not all of the withdrawals are related to course conditions, although there were enough to make other players wonder.
Hougham didn’t hide his disappointment, nor did he make any excuses.
“It’s unfortunate,” he said of the greens. “There was a lot of effort put it to rectify the situation. A number of factors contributed, Mother Nature being the biggest. But you know our standard. They deserve good greens, and we didn’t produce good greens. And we’ll make sure that never happens again.”
For the players who showed up _ and stayed _ they planned to make the best of it.
“It would be one thing if half the field played on good greens and half the field played on bad greens,” Joe Ogilvie said. “This place prides itself on presentation. Trust me, they feel a hell of a lot worse than anyone complaining.”
McIlroy has fond memories of Quail Hollow, where he won his first PGA Tour title in 2010 at age 20. He made an eagle late in his round to avoid missing the cut, and then closed with a 62 on Sunday. It’s one of his favorite courses on tour, and that hasn’t changed.
“We come to Quail Hollow and they’re _ for me _ probably the best greens on tour, usually,” McIlroy said. “It’s just unfortunate that they’re not quite up to the standard that they usually are, but it’s no big deal. The rest of the golf course is in phenomenal shape. It’s going to be the same. Everyone has to putt on them, and the best player at the end of the week is still going to win. I don’t think there is a big problem at all.”
“I don’t mind because I’m not a guy that relies on my putting, per se,” he said. “So it will eliminate quite a lot of the field. I don’t mind that at all.”
The putts roll about like they do at Pebble Beach in February when it has been raining. Balls bounce as much as they roll. Players are having to hope for the best and expect the worse, and realize they’re not the only ones who get a few bad bounces.
As Allenby continued to rap putts on a cloudy day, he looked at the bright side.
“I can miss them on good greens,” he said. “If I miss a few, it’s not like I haven’t missed a bunch already this year. I’ve won on worse greens. The British Masters in `96. They spray-painted them green. It was green paint over dirt. And I ended up winning.”
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