POTOMAC — The Quicken Loans National golf tournament was played for the first time at the newly-christened TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm. With the renovations now finally complete, the golf course was set for a new beginning.
In 2006, the same tournament, then known as the Booz Allen Classic, had been held almost exclusively at the location then called TPC Avenel. However, that would be the last year that the venue hosted a PGA Tour event for over a decade.
Maligned for its poor design as well as drainage issues, PGA golfers no longer wanted to play an event at TPC Avenel. Numerous complaints from many pro golfers, most notably Tiger Woods, led to redesigning and renovating the entire course.
The vast majority of golfers had never seen the course before, and many did not know what to expect coming into the tournament given the history. But after four rounds of golf, the reviews from the golfers of the TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm golf course were a total reversal from 11 years earlier.
“Yeah, it’s really good,” said Kyle Stanley, the winner of the 2017 Quicken Loans National, “One of the most difficult courses we’ve played this year.”
“I think that this is a good venue for the PGA Tour,” said Billy Hurley III, who won the tournament in 2016.
“I love the challenge, I think it’s a very difficult golf course,” said Bryson DeChambeau, “It’s a great golf course, great conditions, and hopefully one that we will come back to in the future.”
“I love it, I think it’s a great golf course,” said golfer Patrick Reed, who is ranked 17th in the world, “It’s hard.”
“It’s hard, but very fair,” said Lucas Glover, “...You hit a good shot, you get rewarded. You hit a bad shot, you get penalized. But that’s how a tough course should be.”
The positive feedback did not stop with just these golfers. All across the board, players love the challenge that TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm presented. Some thought that the high, thick rough and firm greens were similar to what one would see a major championship like the U.S. Open.
“You could 100 percent host a U.S. Open here starting tomorrow,” said 12th-ranked golfer Justin Thomas after the Pro-Am on June 28, “I mean, you really could.”
“You definitely could,” Reed said when asked if a major championship like the U.S. Open could be played at this course, “and it would be a hard U.S. Open if they got the rough even thicker.”
While many golfers also seemed to like the possibility of rotating the event between Congressional Country Club and TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm, it was clear that the renovations have changed the way this course is viewed in the eyes of PGA Tour golfers, and have set the stage for years to come with future PGA Tour events.
TPC Avenel first opened in 1986. It was the home of the PGA Tour’s annual event, the Kemper Open, which existed from 1987 until 2002. When the tournament’s sponsor changed in 2003 from Kemper Insurance to the investment banking firm Friedman Billings Ramsey, the tournament was renamed the FBR Capital Open. Then the technology consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton became the sponsor of the event in 2004, and it was renamed the Booz Allen Classic. In 2007, AT&T and Tiger Woods took over as sponsors, and the event was renamed the AT&T National.
It became known as the Quicken Loans National after Quicken Loans replaced AT&T as tournament sponsor in 2013.