When Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Club was announced in 2010 as host for the 2017 PGA Championship, August 2017 felt like a lifetime away. Now it’s just around the corner, and LGA is helping to build excitement for what in many ways is already the most successful Championship in the 99-year history of the event.
With ticket and hospitality sales having reached sell-out levels in record time, the focus shifted to the annual Media Day, where defending champion Jimmy Walker joined championship leadership to provide a preview of the fast-approaching event. After months of planning, on Monday, June 5, LGA secured more than 40 journalists and dozens of VIPs region-wide to get a glimpse of the Queen City’s first major golf championship.
In advance of the Monday media event, the PGA and LGA teams coordinated a social media scavenger hunt highlighting several partners around the city the day prior. Charlotte Five, CRVA and other partners sent Charlotteans looking for the impressive Wanamaker Trophy by posting clues to their social media channels throughout the day. Once the clues were decoded, lucky winners at each stop received tickets to the sold-out championship in August.
Following the buzz of the scavenger hunt, Media Day began with The Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” program broadcasting live from Quail Hollow. Next, the PGA of America’s Julius Mason led a panel discussion that included Quail Hollow Club President Johnny Harris along with representatives from the PGA of America, CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting. The discussion covered such topics as the transformation of the course during the past few years, expectations for the 2017 Championship and the work that leads to the event, generating coverage from media including WSOC-TV and The Charlotte Observer.
Next up was an intimate Q&A session with 2016 PGA Champion Jimmy Walker, who flew in from his home in Texas with his 7-year-old son, McClain. Walker addressed topics that ranged from last year’s win to defending his title to his unique hobby of astrophotography.
Following the interview, LGA arranged for a few Carolina all-stars – including former Carolina Panthers Wesley Walls, Willie Green, Kevin Donnalley and Mike Rucker, as well as the Charlotte Hornets’ Cody Zeller and Fred Whitfield – to present team jerseys to Walker and his son.
The day wasn’t over yet. To give the media another interesting angle to cover, LGA organized a personal tour of the Charlotte Motor Speedway for Walker and super fan McClain from NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick. Following McClain’s laps in a pace car, Harvick took to the wheel of a stock car with Walker in the passenger seat. While the pair was circling the track reaching speeds close to 155 mph, media, including ESPN, were there to catch every heart-pounding emotion. After an exciting few days with PGA, LGA looks forward to the preparation ahead and the countdown to the Championship in August.