CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The golf world’s eyes are on Quail Hollow Club for the 2022 Presidents Cup, and competitors will feel the heat on the first tee box when they step into the arena-like setup. This has been called the first of its kind in Presidents Cup history. The walk-through to the first tee and out the tunnel should generate an adrenaline rush rarely found in golf.
Waiting for them? Just 2,500 screaming fans.
On Tuesday evening, I took the same walk the U.S. and International teams will make for the Thursday morning opening ceremony. There wasn’t a single person in the stands as I made my way out to the tee markers to put myself in the competitor’s shoes. What started as a leisurely walk immediately brought goosebumps.
I took a 360-degree look at what players will deal with this weekend at the Presidents Cup, and I couldn’t fathom that level of first-tee jitters. With 2,500 fans screaming, chanting, singing, and who knows what else — most weekend hackers wouldn’t be able to get the ball off the tee box.
What stood out most is how it felt like the stands were built into the ground. A perched-up first tee box helps to create this feeling. This will provide an electric “man in the arena” vibe.
The setup will quickly establish home-field advantage for the U.S. and give the Internationals an idea of what’s to come all week. For rookies on both teams, it’s hard to imagine any veteran words of wisdom can prepare them for this.
After experiencing the player’s perspective, I made my way into the stands. There isn’t a bad seat in the house. The close confines have fans on top of the action. The final day will feel more like an NFL Sunday up here.
If you are keen on grabbing a Presidents Cup first tee seat, arrive early, like the moment gates open early. And if you’re lucky enough to snag one, get ready for the golf experience of a lifetime.