2. A NEW LOOK
Rory Sabbatini and Adam Scott are part of the bridge between the old TPC Potomac and the new TPC Potomac. The 2003 and 2004 Booz Allen Classic champions, respectively, will play a different track in their 40s than they did in their 20s.
After the departure of the TPC Potomac competition, then called TPC Avenel, in 2006, an in-depth renovation of the course modernized the layout. The valley of the Rock Run Stream, one of the major tributaries of the Potomac River, had eroded badly by the end of Booz Allen’s term and caused frequent flooding. As part of the renovation, 5,000 linear feet of the main stream and 2,250 linear feet of eroded bank have been restored, improving the presence of water on the course while paving the way for a new modern irrigation system.
The renovation also brought the addition of 15 acres of trees, the restructuring of the course to a par 70 of 7,124 yards and a reconstruction of the bunkers in their intended Mid-Atlantic style, while adding Scottish-themed traps. Greens, tees and fairways have been rebuilt with bentgrass.
The 2006-08 renovation also radically changed the middle of the course. The par-5 sixth hole has been transformed into a long par-4. The par-3 ninth hole has been rebuilt, while the 10th and 11th holes have been combined into a par-5 10th hole playing around the restored creek. The 12th hole became the 11th hole, and the par-5 13th hole was split into a par-3 12th hole and a short par-4 13th hole.
TPC Avenel was now TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm. The name was meant to honor the history of Avenel Farm, once the largest shorthorn cattle ranch in Maryland, while ushering in a new era for the PGA TOUR’s TPC Network site.
3. ARNIE’S ACES
TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm got its start in 1986 by way of a few legends. It was the first site for the Chrysler Cup, a senior team event featuring an American team led by Arnold Palmer and an international team led by Gary Player. This would serve as a precursor to the arrival of the Booz Allen Classic in 1987.
The Tuesday before the event, Palmer, a week before his 57th birthday, was playing a practice round when he hit a 5-iron on the 182-yard par-3 3rd hole and watched the ball land and roll straight into the cup – the first hole-in-one on one of the newest competitive golf courses.
The next day, on the same hole, with the same club, Palmer hit another fine iron shot on the pin. “Don’t fit in the hole again,” he shouted. ” Do not do that ! It made.
Palmer’s two-iron stunner marked his 12th and 13th career aces, and a commemorative plaque was quickly installed on the third tee. He would credit his theatrical hole-in-one performances with being important in publicizing the Chrysler Cup in its first year. A TV camera had captured Wednesday’s (second) hole-in-one, and with the world still 20 years away from Twitter, local TV news picked up the clip as newspaper editors around the world raved on this unlikely feat.
4. MINISTRY OF DEFENSE
In the last few years of the Booz Allen, TOUR pros had figured out the TPC Potomac. Adam Scott won with a total of 21 under in 2004. Ben Curtis followed with a score of 20 under to win in 2006.
But after the renovation, the scores cooled. Mark O’Meara shot 7 under to win the 2010 Senior PLAYERS at TPC Potomac. On the Korn Ferry Tour, David Lingmerth shot 8 cents to win there in 2012, as did Michael Putnam in 2013. When the PGA TOUR returned in 2017, Kyle Stanley knocked out Charles Howell III in the playoffs with both players finishing 72 holes at 7 under.
Francesco Molinari was the exception to the rule, setting a post-renovation record of 21 under to win here in 2018. But to be fair, runner-up Ryan Armor was back at 13 under. And as history now shows, Molinari was set to play golf for the next few months.
This Wells Fargo championship is unlikely to be a bird party. The new TPC Potomac features more water hazards, more tree problems and more distance at lower par. It’s not child’s play.