It may not be a major, but PLAYERS Championship week is now upon us — and golf fans everywhere are ecstatic. That said, before we can look forward, we must look back. If you don’t sort out your past, you’re bound to repeat it.
So — before we dig in to the PLAYERS and all that encompasses, let’s take a look back at last week’s action at the Wells Fargo Championship.
As quickly as Jason Day became a non-factor on the PGA Tour, he’s returned to the spot light and brought his name back to the top of conversation on Tour following his win last week at Quail Hollow Club.
For Day, the victory was his second of the 2018 season (Farmer’s Insurance Open in February) and the 12th of his already illustrious career.
Once again, the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club provided a couple surprises. Not Day’s two-shot victory — it should never come as a surprise when the uber-talented Aussie hoists a trophy — but there were plenty of guys who punched above their weight all week who deserve some recognition.
While it was Day who triumphed, there were plenty of players whose week in Charlotte fell somewhere on the spectrum between his and that of Derek Fathauer. Here’s a look at who prospered — and those who sputtered:
Jason Day — As mentioned previously, Jason Day hasn’t really been high on anyone’s lists despite having already won on Tour. Maybe there are just too many great players teeing it up right now? Either way, Day managed to slip through the cracks during my pre-tournament work-ups To be honest, there’s no one to blame for that than me. Day is a major champion, a PLAYERS Champion and, now, a 12-time PGA Tour winner. If you’re not paying close attention to Day to begin with, then this past wee shall see.
Nick Watney — Holy crap, Nick Watney almost won a golf tournament! Watney, who has gone from being esteemed PGA Tour winner to simply Heidi Watney’s cousin. While the California native has won five times on Tour, he hasn’t won since collecting the Barclay’s title in 2012. Watney turned the clock back a bit at the Wells Fargo Championship last week, finished the tournament at 10-under, two shots behind eventual champion Jason Day. I would proceed with caution in the coming weeks with Watney. One good week does not a season make — and time will tell is he’s close to being trusted again from a fantasy standpoint
Justin Thomas — About nine months removed from his maiden major triumph, Justin Thomas returned to Quail Hollow Club for the Wells Fargo Championship as a favorite for most. Unfortunately for us, Thomas put up four rounds that were, by his standards, pedestrian. After opening with a 73 on Thursday, the 2017 PGA Champion seemed to right the ship with a Friday 69. Over the weekend, however, he still wasn’t able to get much going, posting back-to-back rounds of 70 to finish T-21 in a ho-hum effort.
Rory McIlroy — While I wouldn’t call Rory McIlroy’s T-13 finish at Quail Hollow a complete disaster, it’s certainly a let down when you consider he was the horse for a lot of people. Winning in all fantasy formats is tough when your horse turns into a Shetland pony. To be fair to my boy, Rors, this was his first start since the disappointment of the Masters. Perhaps it’s fair to give him a couple more starts to find the form that almost made him a Masters champion.
Smylie Kaufman — At this point, it feels like beating a dead horse — but including Smylie Kaufman in this list week in, week out must be done. Kaufman, winner of the 2015 Shriner’s Hospitals for Children Open, has only collected four top-25 finishes (and just two top-10’s) since collecting that win nearly three years ago. In 2018 alone, Kaufman has missed 13 cuts in in 16 starts. While he manages to remain optimistic about his play — I’m not.
Brice Garnett — One of the most disappointing rounds of the week belonged to Brice Garnett. Hell, Garnett’s implosion on Sunday was arguably the worst of the season on the PGA Tour. After opening with rounds of 71, 72 and 73 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Quail Hollow, Garnett stumbled big time on Sunday, dropping a whopping nine spots after his final-round 88. I’m not even exaggerating when I say I think I could’ve done that.