Featured Columnist Andy Reistetter is on site in Charlotte, North Carolina for the Quail Hollow Championship.
The associated video is available on YouTube.com at the following link:
Thanks to producer Lynn Carr.
Good morning, this is Andy Reistetter from the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The 11th president of the United States, James Polk was born within a few miles of where I am standing.
One of his successors, Abraham Lincoln was at the helm of our country when the War Between the States broke out at Fort Sumter in South Carolina.
Maybe you haven't noticed, but a struggle is breaking out between Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods to be the No. 1 golfer in the world. Woods may have 14 major titles but Phil won the last one at Augusta National two weeks ago.
Tiger won here at Quail Hollow three years ago. Phil has consistently contended with four Top 10s and a T12 in six years though never winning here.
Welcome to the Battle of Quail Hollow.
World No. 2 Phil Mickelson going head-to-head against World No. 1 Tiger Woods on a golf course that feels major-like. Major-like in design, condition, and tournament atmosphere.
There's a strong field here at Quail Hollow leading into THE PLAYERS Championship next week on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. World No. 3 Steve Stricker is on the sideline this week with a nagging soreness in his chest. World No. 4 Lee Westwood is here. He is comfortable wearing the crown of "best player to have never won a Major." Maybe he knows it is a temporary sort of thing.
Sooner or later it ends whether or not you win a major. Just ask Sergio Garcia.
Even though Stricker is ranked higher in the rankings while Sergio is plummeting, Westwood the Englishman rightly owns the title.
His finishes in the last three majors?
Joint third at the Open at Turnberry, joint third at the PGA at Hazeltine, and solo second at the Masters. He clearly is knocking on the door. Whether or not he knocks it down and takes his major championship trophy home with him to England remains to be seen.
Westwood admits to being "a little rusty" not playing since the Masters.
Looking ahead to the next major—the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach he poked a little fun at FedEx a major sponsor of the PGA TOUR.
A tour which he chooses not to become a member of due to family obligations and travel constraints. Remember he is Europe's No. 1 player and won the other thing called "The Race to Dubai." Wanting to play Memphis the week before the U.S. Open as a tune-up to perhaps his first major victory, he was denied a spot in the field.
Imagine that—a regular PGA TOUR event, in need of a title sponsor by the way, not wanting the 4th ranked player in the world in their field?
How could that be?
Well it turns out Memphis, Tennessee is the corporate home and headquarters of FedEx. When asked why he thought he was rejected from playing in Memphis, Westwood tugged at the UPS logo on his shirt playfully guessing that may be the reason.
World No. 5 Jim Furyk won here in 2006 and is hot this year with wins at the Transitions and the Heritage.
For the past seven years the victors here at Quail Hollow have signaled a sort of "changing of the guard" on the PGA TOUR.
In the order of their wins, the older guard of David Toms, Joey Sindelar, and Vijay Singh gave way to the intermediate guard of Jim Furyk and Tiger Woods while the younger guard of Anthony Kim and Sean O'Hair have won the last two years.
It's no secret the city of Charlotte and the Quail Hollow Club would like to host a major championship or maybe a Ryder Cup someday soon.
The golf course is a pedigree designed by George Cobb in 1961.
At 7,476 yards it is a par 72 masterpiece that captures the beauty of the low rolling hills of the Piedmont region.
The last three holes—the 483-yard par-4 16th, the 217-yard par-3 17th, and the 478-yard par-4 18th—are known as "The Green Mile."
Add the yardages up and that's only 1,178 yards.
Whatever happened to a 1,760-yard mile?
Who shortened the finishing holes from four to three?
If you throw in the 566-yard par-5 15th hole it makes it 1,744—only 16 yards short of that mile of incredibly green tees, fairways, and greens. If you throw in the best players of the world on a great golf course with an unbelievable atmosphere then you have the Quail Hollow Championship.
Tiger versus Phil, it's the complete golfing thrill at the Battle of Quail Hollow.
This one is likely to go four rounds, maybe more.
This is Andy Reistetter reporting from the scene of the times—good golfing and good living to you my friends.
Andy Reistetter is a freelance golf writer. He follows the PGA TOUR volunteering and working part time for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, and The Golf Channel.
He resides in Jacksonville Beach, Florida near the PGA TOUR headquarters and home of The PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach.