CHARLOTTE — One of professional golf’s biggest events, the Presidents Cup, will start next week in Charlotte at the Quail Hollow Golf Club. Channel 9 got an exclusive look Friday at the preparation that has been ongoing for the last 18 months.
The event will showcase top talent from the United States and international talent across the world in a match-play style event. 12 players from the U.S. will take on 12 players from around the world, excluding Europe. Events start Tuesday, with official play getting underway Thursday morning and lasting through Sunday.
Adam Sperling, the executive director of the Presidents Club in Charlotte, showed Channel 9′s Anthony Kustra around the golf course. Around 250 people are working around the clock to set the stage.
“Typically, we get about a weeks’ worth of work done in a single day once we’re this close,” Sperling said on the progress made.
The Presidents Cup is only held in America every four years, and 2022 will be the first time the event will be held in the southeast. Quail Hollow usually holds the PGA’s Wells Fargo Championship every May, but didn’t hold it this year in preparation for the Presidents Cup.
The event will bring in people from all over the world. It’s so big that this year’s Fan Shop is the largest in Presidents Cup history, with 50-thousand t-shirts in stock. The daily attendance will be capped at 40,000 people per day.
Past U.S. Presidents have made a visit to the event in years past, but it is currently unknown if President Biden will make an appearance.
However, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are ready for high-profile figures.
“We are ready as an organization for not only the president, but dignitaries, heads of state,” CMPD Maj. Brad Koch said.
CMPD said in a press conference Friday they expect a lot of fans to use ridesharing to get around the city next week. CMPD will be the only department working the event. The PGA Tour is paying CMPD for traffic and security officers.
The biggest traffic impact next week will be Glen Eagles Road closing all week starting on Tuesday morning at 6 a.m., opening late in the evening.
The event will not only bring more money into the area, but eyes as well.
Sperling said next week is a perfect time for the city to shine in the global spotlight with the tens of thousands visitors bringing in large amount of money.
“Now is our chance to let the Queen City shine and welcome it to Charlotte,” he said.
US guarding against overconfidence in Presidents Cup
The American team room at Quail Hollow has photos of winning teams from the Presidents Cup over the years, and it’s a wonder there’s room for all of them.
The matches began in 1994. The Americans have lost just once.
Captain Davis Love III would be quick to point out one detail from the most recent picture at Royal Melbourne three years ago: Only four players from that team are at Quail Hollow this week — Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas and Tony Finau.
Go back to the last U.S. victory on home soil, at Liberty National, such a romp it almost ended before Sunday singles. The only players still around from that 2017 team are Thomas and Jordan Spieth.
“We come into these things wanting to win every time,” Love said Tuesday. “I tell them, ‘You don’t have a record.’ This 12 has never competed as a team before. This team understands. They want that picture next time.”
Odds are heavily stacked in their favor they will pose with gold trophy again on Sunday. It’s one thing to have captured the Presidents Cup the last eight meetings against the International team, and 10 out of 12 times (one ended in a tie).
Throw in the LIV Golf factor — it has depleted the International team far worse than it did the Americans, at least based on current form and health — and this has all the markings of another runaway.
Love has heard this story, too.
“We’re used to being called the favorite, even when we lose three Ryder Cups in a row,” said Love, who was on six “favored” teams that didn’t win a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup. “Statistically, yes, we have a higher ranked team. But I know a bunch of those young guys on their team, and they’re going to come in with a chip on their shoulder.”
Tuesday was the first full day of practice for the 12-man teams on a Quail Hollow Club course that is familiar to most from hosting the Wells Fargo Championship most years, and the PGA Championship in 2017.
Adding to the confidence for the U.S. team is the Ryder Cup one years ago at Whistling Straits, a 19-9 victory against a European team that was aging and had no support from fans because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Seven Americans return from the team. Missing is LIV defector Dustin Johnson. Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau went to LIV, too, but both are still making their way back from injury and probably wouldn’t have been on this team, anyway.
This team is so young that the player with the most Presidents Cup experience is Spieth, who turned 29 this summer and is playing for the fourth time.
His idea to stay grounded was to compete individually among a team setting.
“It’s almost like we’re all going to compete against each other to get the most points we can on our team. We want the bragging rights on our own team,” he said. “And if we stay within ourselves, then I don’t think you get overconfident in the entire situation.”
International captain Trevor Immelman had a tougher time with LIV defections, with two top-20 players — British Open champion Cameron Smith and Joaquin Niemann — not announcing their departures for the Saudi-backed league until three weeks ago.
He has eight Presidents Cup rookies on this team. Only three of them are among the top 25 in the world (all 12 Americans are in the top 25).
But there’s something about youth and inexperience that has him encouraged.
“If you look at our record in this tournament and you look at our world rankings versus their world rankings, we have absolutely nothing to lose,” Immelman said. “So we can go out there and play absolutely as free as we want ... and see if we can match up with crazy good skills the Americans have.”
Immelman is not willing to look back, whether it’s three years ago and the close call at Royal Melbourne or three weeks ago when the last of the players went over to LIV.
He said all of the players who left — starting with good friend Louis Oosthuizen in June right up until Smith and Niemann after the Tour Championship — were in touch with him about their thinking and their decisions. And he said they all knew the ramifications.
“I respect those guys making those decisions,” he said. “I also do respect them for keeping me in the loop and making sure that I understand exactly where we’re at at all times so I could try and be as prepared as I could. Am I disappointed that they’re not able to be here? Absolutely.
“But we have the 12 guys here that we love and wanted to be here, and now we get to go. We get to go up against a strong American team. So we’re looking forward.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
(WATCH BELOW: Sports celebrities raise money for charity at south Charlotte golf tournament)
©2022 Cox Media Group