Chip Harp, Sports Feature Writer
CHARLOTTE — The 99th PGA Championship is set to tee off Thursday from the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, host of the year’s final major. Valdosta Today will be reporting from Charlotte as the drama unfolds.
Will Jordan Spieth become the youngest player to capture the career Grand Slam at only 24? Will Rory McIlroy reproduce his past solid play at Quail Hollow? He’s won here in 2010 and 2015.
One player that won’t win this year is Brandt Snedeker, who has withdrawn from the tournament due to injury. Chris Kirk of Athens, Georgia, will assume his spot in the field.
And speaking of Georgia players, PGA Club Professional Paul Claxton, of Claxton, Georgia, will be part of the field as one of 20 club professionals who earned a spot based on play at the Club Pro Championship. Claxton is married into the family that has owned Claxton Fruit Cake since 1945. The fruitcakes are named after the town of Claxton, which has a water tower that proudly proclaims it the “Fruitcake Capital of the World.” Paul’s wife, Paula Parker Claxton, is the granddaughter of the first family member to ever own the company, the late Albert Parker. After Paula and Paul were married, she insisted they live in the town of Claxton. Meanwhile, Paul Claxton works at Hawks Point Golf Club in Vidalia, Georgia, the town renowned for its sweet Vidalia onions. He will be playing in his first PGA Championship this week.
The PGA and PGA TOUR also announced that there will be a schedule change beginning in 2019. To help accommodate the Olympics every 4 years, both organizations have agreed to move the PGA Championship from August to May. This will also create the need to move The Players Championship, now held in May at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, back to a March date. This will also return the Florida swing to it’s original path and create a situation where TOUR pros can literally drive from tournament to tournament throughout the period, if they so chose.
We’ll have more from the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte all week and through the weekend.