photo courtesy the PGA
The 2018 Quicken Loans National returns to Washington, DC’s TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm this Thursday as top professionals compete for their share of the $7.1 million purse. The course was redesigned in 2009 with input from course architects Pete Dye, Toma Fazio and former professional Davis Love III and will be hosting the event for its second year. Qualification for the tournament is by invite only, as a smaller field of 120 competitors is selected primarily from PGA Tour and major championship winners. All eyes will be on tournament host Tiger Woods as he tees off at the National for the first time since 2015.
The Quicken Loans National is a relatively recent addition to the PGA Tour, founded only in 2007 to replace the International on the PGA Tour schedule. The tournament was envisioned as a contemporary Arnold Palmer Invitational or Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament with Tiger Woods, a 14-time majors winner, as the tournament’s host. The event benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, a charity that provides services to inner-city youth. The event has been hurt by Woods’ high profile scandals, notably when a wreck on Thanksgiving in 2009 led to revelations of infidelity and a 2017 arrest for driving under the influence, and there are rumours that the tournament may be ending its relationship with Woods after this year.
The first Quicken Loans Champion was South Korean golfer K.J. Choi, who along with Englishman Justin Rose are the only non-Americans to win the tournament customarily held on July 4th weekend. Rose is also one of two golfers to win the event twice, the other being tournament host Tiger Woods. The low score belongs to 2015 winner Troy Merrit with a -18 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club. Last year’s tournament saw Kyle Stanley claim his second PGA Tour win in his career with a -7.
Defending Champion Kyle Stanley
photo courtesy Pete Marovich
Kyle Stanley is an American professional golfer born in 1987 in Gig Harbor, Washington. Stanley learned golf early and his ability as a teenager was good enough to earn himself a spot on Clemson University’s golf team. Impressive individual performances, including an appearance on the 2007 Walker Cup team, culminated in Walker winning the Ben Hogan Award for best collegiate golfer in 2009. Stanley made the decision in late 2009 to turn professional, getting his first PGA Tour win at the 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
At last year's Quicken Loans National, Stanley entered the final round tied with Charles Howell III as both chased their first PGA Tour win in years. They would finish the final round with identical -7 scores and would have to endure a playoff in order to claim victory. Walker and Howell teed up on the 18th hole again and both missed the green on the par-3. Walker would chip onto the green and then putt for par, forcing Howell to sink an 11-foot putt to push the playoff to a second hole. Fortunately for Walker, Howell would miss and hand Stanley the victory. Stanley returns to the Quicken National this week to attempt to be the first back-to-back champion in tournament history.