With team golf at the Zurich Classic in the rear view, we now return you to your regularly schedule scoring format at the Wells Fargo Championship. Not only is stroke play returning this week, so is the Quail Hollow Club — the usual site of the Wells Fargo.
As you may or may not remember, last year’s edition of this event was help up the road in Wilmington, North Carolina at Eagle Point Golf Club thanks to Quail hosting the PGA Championship.
Now that you’ve been reminded of something completely superfluous to this week’s action, lets talk turkey.
The Wells Fargo Championship has been a part of the PGA Tour schedule since 2003 but has recently become one of the Tours marquee, non-major events. It almost always draws a slew of the world’s best players and has seen first career wins by Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy and the gone but definitely not forgotten, Anthony Kim.
Here’s a look at those who will be tearing it up in Charlotte this week and those who are wishing they still had a partner to lean on:
Rory McIlroy — The all-time money leader for this event, Rory McIlroy, comes into Quail Hollow looking to pick up his second win of the 2018 PGA Tour campaign. McIlroy hasn’t quite been the run away champion I predicted he would be early in the year, but he hasn’t been bad. He enters play this week on the heals of another Masters disappointment, but that shouldn’t affect the Northern Irishman too much. As previously noted, he loves this track — McIlroy owns the course record here and has won this event twice in addition to being the events money leader. No reason to save a start — this is prime time for McIlroy.
Rickie Fowler — Like McIlroy, Rickie Fowler is a horse for this course. The Quail Hollow Club has been very kind to the orange one over the course of his career, including in 2012 when he bested the aforementioned McIlroy and D.A. Points in a playoff for career win No. 1. This time around, Fowler has momentum and good vibes on his side. While my distrust of him is well-documented, this is one week you shouldn’t ignore Fowler.
Phil Mickelson — Another player who has his name somewhere on the deed to the Quail Hollow Club is Phil Mickelson. Lefty hasn’t exactly been tearing things up as of late, but he did end his career-long winless drought earlier this season in Mexico. Mickelson has made 13 starts at the Wells Fargo Championship and made the cut in all 13 of them. While he’s never won the event, he’s collected seven top-5 finishes along the way. Don’t sleep on Lefty this week in Charlotte.
Justin Thomas — Few people carry better vibes onto the grounds of the Quail Hollow Club this week than Justin Thomas. After all, it’s only been eight months since he picked up his first major title there at last year’s PGA Championship. Thomas hasn’t been as dominant in 2018 as he was in 2017 — it would’ve been foolish to expect him to be — but he has found some serious consistency. That, alone, feels big when you consider its the last thing he truly struggled with.
Chesson Hadley — Now that I’ve mentioned four of the biggest names in the sport, here’s an unsung hero who could turn some heads this week in Charlotte — Chesson Hadley. I know I’ve picked him a couple times this year without him actually picking up a trophy — but — he’s still be a solid fantasy choice most weeks. Like Thomas, Hadley struggled mightily to find consistency over the last few years and has finally strung together some good finishes and limited the damage in bad weeks. Soon enough, you’ll see Hadley in the winner’s circle again.
Brooks Koekpa — There’s been a lot of golf played since Brooks Koepka won the U.S. Open last summer, but not by him. Koekpa has struggled to stay healthy and hasn’t been playing a ton on Tour. When he has, he’s been mediocre at best. Obviously, he still possess all the talent, but until he does something to rejuvenate his failing confidence, he’s just a shiny object with no tangible fantasy value.
Dylan Frittelli — After getting off to a fire start in Europe, Dylan Frittelli has been less impressive on this side of the pond. The young South African is, obviously, still developing — but it’s time to start looking at the recent track record instead of the future forecast when selecting your fantasy starters. Frittelli will be big — but not this week at the Wells Fargo.
Adam Scott — The player most effected by the anchored putting ban? That continues to appear to be Adam Scott. From tee-to-green, Scott is still the guy who donned a green jacket in 2013. On the greens, however, it’s a different story. Having to actually make a putting stroke has crippled the Aussie stud ever since the ban went into effect. At time of post, he and Keegan Bradley are writing up yet another petition to bring the long stick back.