Despite Charlotte's COVID fears and "wokeness" something normal happened over the weekend - the Wells Fargo Golf Championship concluded a fantastic weeklong event.
It was an impressive return to normal even, if the ticket sales were limited to only 30%, and the PGA Tour required all patrons to wear face masks, of which few complied. Club President Johnny Harris arrived at the Green Mile Club via his personalized Quail Hollow Club golf cart without a mask, as did tournament director Gary Sobba.
Yet, CBS producers scolded uniformed marshals for not virtue signaling by wearing marks. Still few fully complied.
But for golf fans the show did not disappoint. An impressive field, immaculate grounds and improvements to Quail Hollow were exceptional. The Carolina Blue Skies highlighted a perfect weather week, even if the players faced shifting gusty winds which kept scores from going into the sub-teens mother nature fully cooperated.
But the Wells Fargo Golf Championship also put whiteness back in focus. In this small secluded venue a field of 77 professional golfers strolled along pristine fairways where white Charlotte was in full display. Attractive young woman graced the grounds in sun dresses and festive hats while the crowd roared approval as golf's unarguably whitest player Rory Mcllroy won the day.
Rory would later tweet: "Feel in love with Quail Hollow the first time I played it and knew it was special. From my first win in 2010 to today, each year the fans. staff, city of Charlotte make the week an unforgettable experience. The fans carried me though today. Thank you for your continued support."
Yet, Black faces are noticeably absent except as uniform wearing "Showpros" staff and and Levy Catering foodservice attendants.
The look and feel of an Antebellum Plantation Party is overwhelming. The 237 acres that comprise Quail Hollow Club (they've informally removed the "Country" from the name" are iconic reminders of Charlotte's ever shrinking prosperous white past.
Wells Fargo has gone as far as to remove the usual "Stage Coach" tee markers, and real Wells Fargo stage coach from the grounds. Removing the "stage coach" is part of Wells Fargo's new culture and a quiet acknowledgement that the relic of the past could be considered racist and reminder of the expansion westward and annihilation of indigenous peoples.
This is apparently part of Wells Fargo's "Diversity & Inclusion: Ensure all people feel respected and have equal access to resources and opportunities to succeed."
The First Teen of Greater Charlotte, is also part of the mix bringing minority children out to Quail Hollow Club for a short one day driving range clinic. A small number of grounds only tickets were made available to First Tee "Active Participant" families in a community outreach. The tickets were gone within 24 hours.
The economic Impact of the Wells Fargo Championship is estimated to be between $40 and $60 million for the Charlotte area. The biggest such impact in at least 16 months. Yet Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles was again neither in attendance nor offered to submit a welcome letter to be included in the online virtual pairing guilds or programs.
Cedar's Take: I had the pleasure of escorting ten year old Desmond behind the ropes on 17 tee during Sunday's round. Hole Captain Ken made the impromptu exception and gladly allowed the young man to pepper him with questions and a dozen what ifs that only a ten year old can imagine. The young man is surprisingly tall for his age, and very polite.
In a moment of pure joy Ken offered "Imagine you're standing right here behind the tee markers and you have to hit your ball across all that water." Desmond swings an imaginary club as hard as he can. Ken shouts out "Its a good shot, its really high, it's on the green rolling rolling rolling and and it's in the hole! you just made a hole in one!" And for a moment even I believe Ken's play by play.
By noon Desmond had collected three golf balls from pros one even autographed and a slightly used golf glove.
In Desmond's own words "I never really liked golf until today, but this is the most fun than I've had since Christmas".
And for that brief moment there was no color difference, between Ken and Desmond, and no one noticed that Desmond's adoptive parents are both white, no one cares least of all Desmond.
Its a shame Vi Lyles can't move beyond her own skin color to represent the entire City of Charlotte.