05/01/2016

I left the bank in 2015. After years of little fees and issues with the mega-bank, I called it quits. I left Wells Fargo.

But that doesn’t have any effect on my affinity for the tournament they host on the PGA Tour. The course, a 1959 Cobb design, is a wonderful jaunt through the Carolina pines. It’s a tournament which always offers a great field and an aesthetically pleasing golf course for fans watching at home. Hosted every May, this tournament is a mark of spring for us in the Midwest, as the flowers and leaves bloom.

Quail Hollow will continue to get more talk in each subsequent year, as the 2017 PGA Championship will be played there along with the 2021 Presidents Cup, stateside.

Phil Mickelson gave this timeless quote, never holding back his opinions on a golf course and it’s design:

“As beautifully designed as this golf course is tee-to-green, the greens are by far the worst-designed greens we play on tour…I would say that 18 would be the worst green that we have on tour – except that it’s not even the worst on this golf course. Number 12 is.”

Last Year’s Wells Fargo Top-10

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Full 2016 Field at Wells Fargo

Click here for a full field list.

After a long time away to heal from a wrist injury, Jim Furyk makes an appearance at the 2016 Wells Fargo, his first start in 3 months.

Eight of the world’s top-10 players are in the field this week at the Wells Fargo.

Past 5 Winners at the Zurich

  • 2015: Rory McIlroy (Recap)
  • 2014: J.B. Holmes (Recap)
  • 2013: Derek Ernst (Recap)
  • 2012: Rickie Fowler (Recap)
  • 2011: Lucas Glover

How about Rory’s surgical performance in round 3 last year? Seriously, this was incredible.

Forecast

Screenshot 2016-05-02 10.55.31

Course Overview: Quail Hollow

The private, member-owned facility has witnessed quite a bit of change over the past 60 years.

Initially designed and built by George Cobb, the course has been in the hands of both Arnold Palmer and Tom Fazio during reconstructions and “tune-ups.” Measuring in at over 7,500 yards, the course offers a classic design with big, expansive green side bunkers and undulating putting surfaces.

With a finish like the “Green Mile,” this course has the potential to offer closing drama. Last year, of course, that was out of the picture.

Tour the course!

Screenshot 2016-05-02 11.17.25

putting series

This Week’s Picks

Three from the Fairway (Contenders)

1. Rory McIlroy

rory

This pick may seem like as much of a slam dunk as Justin Rose’s picking last week at the Zurich before a disappointing MC. But I’m going with the man who’s won here twice since 2010 and who’s game fits this course wonderfully.

In Rory’s off-week, he made waves when he proclaimed when he will not be wearing any Nike gear at the 2016 Olympic games– to no fault of his own. But the focus shall remain this week at the Wells Fargo and a venue where he’s been inside the top-2 in almost half of his starts here.

He has great momentum heading into the event with 3 of his past 4 starts resulting in top-10s.

Rory’s a total horse for the course, but given Jimmy Walker, Justin Rose and more “horse for the course missed cuts” that have happened lately, he’s not as much of a lock as he seems to be.

But in my book, I’ll still trust Rors this week.

2. Gary Woodland 

gary woodland

He’s back with Butch and he’s feeling good. See…?

He tweeted this before his start at the Zurich (his first of his 4-week) and in three rounds, found his way inside the top-20. A second round 66 propelled him up the leaderboard and I’m optimistic with another round of golf, Woodland could have worked his way up the leaderboard further yet.

His length (he’s #1 on Tour) will serve him well at the 7,500 yard, wet golf course (they’ve had rain).

3. Henrik Stenson

Henrik Stenson

Armed with a cannon for a 3-wood and some of the best long-irons in golf, Stenson is a player to like this week at Quail Hollow–and it’s not because of Quail Hollow.

Historically, Stenson has been brutal at Quail Hollow. In 5 starts since 2007, he’s missed three cuts and has finished inside the top-50 exactly zero times. But I’m taking this play because of Stenson’s form (two top-3s in three starts) and the way that this course SHOULD fit his game. He’s one of the Tour’s leaders in scoring on long par-4s and Quail Hollow has quite a few of those.

I’m going to ignore history and fit Stenson into my rosters this week.

Other Notables:

  • Phil Mickelson (oodles and oodles of great finishes here over the years)
  • J.B. Holmes (past winner here, good finishes recently on Tour)
  • Rickie Fowler (great course history)

One from the Rough (Sleeper)

Webb Simpson

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If you’re going to go with Webbers at any point, it’s gotta be at Quail Hollow. After all, listen to the way Paul Tesori (Webb’s caddie) talks about playing players at events that they routinely play well at.

Simpson was a second place finisher last year (albeit by a thousand to Rory), and in his last 5 starts, he’s been around on the weekend in all five. His play so far this year has been un-Webb-like, but where better to kick his season into gear than at his home course?

Simpson won’t be getting attention given his recent play, but you can be the one who jumps on him with the home course vibes.

Other Sleepers:

  • Kevin Streelman (three straight top-15s)
  • Harold Varner III (home state coming off of back-to-back top-10s)
  • Jason Bohn (back-to-back top-10s here)

The Man with the Trophy (Winner)

Dustin Johnson    Dustin Johnson is no longer in the field

dustin johnson

The last time DJ played in this event was 2011 and after a second round 79, he was sent packing. But I’m going to go the optimistic route here with Johnson this week, given his top-15s in 5 straight events and three top-5s in last 4 stroke play events.

His length, like McIlroy, will give him an advantage on a course where long players have been able to do well.

He’s gained strokes with his putter in 5 straight events and is 10th on the year in strokes gained tee-to-green. The biggest surprise when looking at Johnson is the fact that he’s 8th in the world rankings. His performances indicate that he’s probably one of the world’s top-5.

Also, back to his putting, he gained over two strokes with his putter his last time out where it was measured (Augusta doesn’t measure). If he continues to putt that well and strikes the ball as he usually does, he’ll storm into Charlotte and rip that course up.

I’m going with DJ at Wells Fargo this week.

Rickie Fowler 

rickie fowler

With Dustin Johnson out, we decided to make an audible pick for those of you looking for a winner of the event.

I wanted to pluck someone from my list of contenders above, but I just really like Rickie’s form coming in this week. I’ll give him the nod.

Here’s what we’re looking at with Rickie Fowler this week. The Wells Fargo in 2012 was the well-documented first victory of the promising youngsters career, a win that seemed late to those who felt he was too highly touted. I trust shutting up his critics here at Quail Hollow (and a few years later at the PLAYERS) will leave really good tastes in his mouth as he travels back.

He leads the Tour right now in par-4 scoring and also, finds himself 6th in strokes gained tee-to-green. He’s rightfully so, the 5th player in the world rankings.

The snapchat superhero will be playing Thurs & Fri with two of the world’s leaders (McIlroy and Matsuyama), added motivation to work his way to the top of the leaderboard coming into the weekend.

He was a 20th place finisher last week in the chaotic Zurich, and made 6 of his last 7 cuts (actually, surprisingly below his standard).

This week, I’ve slid Rickie into my winner’s slot.

troy tweet twitter