The PGA Tour heads for Quail Hollow in North Carolina this week for the Wells Fargo Championship. Brian Harman is defending tournament champion on the course where Justin Thomas won the 2017 USPGA Championship.
Wells Fargo Championship Preview, TV Times
The Wells Fargo Championship returns to Quail Hollow this week after a season off to allow the North Carolina Club to host the 2017 USPGA. Last year, Eagle Point Golf Club took over hosting duties of the Wells Fargo Championship, where Brian Harman came out on top.
Although a relatively young event on the PGA Tour – first played in 2003 – this tournament has earned a reputation as one of the most prestigious on the regular circuit. It has produced an excellent list of champions.
David Toms came out on top in 2003 and, since then, Joey Sindelar, Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk, Tiger Woods, Anthony Kim, Sean O’Hair, Lucas Glover, Rickie Fowler, Derek Ernst, J.B. Holmes, Rory McIlroy (twice) and James Hahn have been victorious.
Last year, Brian Harman holed a great putt on the final green at Eagle Point to finish one clear of Dustin Johnson and Pat Perez.
2017 USPGA Champion Justin Thomas will return to Quail Hollow this week as the last man to taste tournament victory over the course. He will be joined in this year’s event by a very strong field that includes Masters champ and USPGA runner-up Patrick Reed, two-time champion Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler.
Woods is making his first start since The Masters and his first in this event since 2012. He was champion back in 2007.
Founded by James J. Harris in 1959, Quail Hollow is a private member’s club. The course is a George Cobb design dating from 1961, but it has been updated over the years by Arnold Palmer and Tom Fazio. Although famed for its difficult finish, “The Green Mile,” the first part of the course is relatively straightforward and low scoring is possible.
The weather forecast looks reasonable with winds picking up through the week and cooler conditions likely on day four.
Venue: Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte, North Carolina
Date: May 3-6
Course stats: par 71, 7,554 yards
Defending champion: Brian Harman (-10)
How to watch the Wells Fargo Championship
Thursday 3 – Sky Sports Golf from 7pm, featured groups from 12pm on Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event
Friday 4 – Sky Sports Golf from 7pm, featured groups from 12pm on Sky Sports Golf and from 2pm on Sky Sports Main Event
Saturday 5 – Sky Sports Golf from 6pm
Sunday 6 – Sky Sports Golf from 6pm
Not a Sky Sports customer and want to watch the Wells Fargo Championship?
Why not buy a Now TV pass? For £7.99 you can get a day pass if you wish to watch one of the rounds or, for just £12.99, you can get a week pass to see the whole tournament.
Players to watch:
There are three obvious horses for this course – Two-time champion Rory McIlroy, 2017 USPGA champion Justin Thomas and 2012 champion Rickie Fowler. Who else might feature in the final mix?
Kevin Kisner – He’s been on great form since finishing runner-up in the WGC-Match Play. He and Scott Brown led the Zurich through three rounds last week. He was tied seventh in the 2017 USPGA.
Louis Oosthuizen – The South African has been quietly playing himself back into great form. He has had five top-25 finishes in his last seven PGA Tour starts. More importantly, he was tied for second in the USPGA at Quail Hollow last year.
Kevin Streelman – A real form player, Streelman has recorded top-10 finishes in his last two starts… Look for him to keep it going. He has good past finishes at Quail Hollow – three straight top-15s from 2013-15.
Key holes: 17th. A par-3 of 217 yards where the ball must be carried all the way to the green over water. When the pressure is on, this hole is bound to produce some drama.
Holes 16-18 here are known as “The Green Mile,” with the 18th the pinnacle of the challenge. It’s one of the hardest finishing holes on the PGA Tour, a 478 yard par 4, uphill with a creek on the left and bunkers on the right.
Skills required: Playing the par-5s. It’s imperative here to make the most of the four par-5s on the course. The winner will play the long holes well and pick up some shots. To do that they will have to drive the ball well.