3. With improved greens from a year ago and some well-received design tweaks, did Quail Hollow prove itself major-worthy this week -- considering it will host the 2017 PGA Championship?
PASSOV: The players love this place, as well they should. It's got that great Golden Age feel (even though it only dates back to 1961), with wide, rolling fairways lined with mature hardwoods, yet it also possesses that modern, pulse-quickening drama in its finishing stretch. Interestingly, our Top 100 course-ranking panelists like Quail Hollow, but aren't enamored with it. Give the greens another year of seasoning and Quail Hollow is definitely major-worthy.
VAN SICKLE: Quail Hollow is way better than Kiawah Island's Ocean Course and a few other poor PGA Championship choices that I won't bother to name. A bigger question is, How will the course play in the midsummer August heat?
BAMBERGER: The players generally have good taste in golf courses. If they like this course as much as it seems they do, I'd say it’s PGA-worthy.
LYNCH: As long as Torrey Pines is hosting majors, the answer to this question is always yes, no matter what course is being discussed.
SHIPNUCK: This tourney used to be the fifth major. Maybe it will be again next year as more big names return to see the revamped course, which is certainly worthy of hosting a PGA.
RITTER: It was major-worthy before the makeover, but the revamped 16th and 17th are now even tougher and, perhaps most importantly, look awesome on TV.
SENS: Yes. It's a strong design, and it's burly enough to stand as a stout major test. Not that those two criteria are always the foremost considerations when settling on a major venue (see Torrey Pines South and Olympia Fields among many examples).
4. Donald Trump will host the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump Bedminister in New Jersey, giving him his long-desired men’s major championship. He also bought Turnberry last week so he’ll almost surely host an Open Championship there, and he already hosts one of the Tour’s most high-profile events at Doral. Is all this Trump good for golf or is there a downside to the Donald?
BAMBERGER: Whenever you have too much power in the hands of one person, there's reason to worry, but so far it's all good. The Bedminster course is a very handsome, big sprawling modern golf course. It's not the kind of thing I love, but it is good for tournament golf. He looks to be improving Doral in every way. As for Turnberry, it's one of the best in the world, the hotel and the courses both. Golf needs Trump right now more than Trump needs golf.
SENS: I wouldn't want to be on the other end of a business deal with Trump, and I'd certainly never hire him as my interior designer, since I'm not into gargoyles, or as my hair stylist, because I'm not crazy about the Chia Pet-in a-windstorm-look. But I don't mind him as a golf course owner. His cartoonish self-promoting aside, he appreciates great courses, and he's smart enough to know when to tone it down. I don't think we'll see him rebrand the Open as the Donald Trump Links Championship anytime soon, if that's what you're asking.
SHIPNUCK: Well, *someone* has to invest in golf these days. Trump can certainly grate but he loves golf and he brings extra buzz, so it's time to embrace him and recognize his new importance to the game.
LYNCH: Trump is always apt to be mired in controversy and unseemly public spats, so an association with him carries some risk for typically risk-averse golf organizations. Still, the courses he is buying and events he is hosting have long been starved of public affection and oxygen. He provides plenty of both.
VAN SICKLE: Golf needs every ounce and every dollar of promotion it can get. That makes Trump the right man at the right time. Spend, Don, spend!
RITTER: You can love or hate Trump, but looking at this agnostically, a very famous billionaire who loves golf and is investing huge parts of his own fortune into it has very little downside.
PASSOV: Trump loves golf, is a strong player, and his every move keeps golf in the news. Late last year, he was on Letterman and mentioned both his Doral project and his new Ferry Point in the Bronx, a public course scheduled to open in late 2014 or early 2015. Golf can't buy positive publicity like that, especially these days. OK, he's used to getting things to go his way, so there's always a potential downside, once he starts butting heads with folks, but I think he's got a healthy respect for golf, and what it's meant to him in his life. I'm seeing nothing except upside to The Donald as Golf Czar.