It’s no secret that the 2014 Wells Fargo Championship could be a key tournament as the PGA Tour eases into the late spring schedule. As an event in the past, players came to Charlotte only as a means to get ready for the Players Championship which is usually played the week following Quail Hollow Club, but this year, there is more on the agenda.
It still provides a place for some golfers to get ready for the Players next week, but because of the wrap-around schedule, there are a bunch of folks who are well behind in FedEx Cup points, and many are on a mission to boost their standings for the fall playoff.
But more importantly, with the US Open coming up in six weeks at Pinehurst, Quail Hollow is the ideal place to get ready for our National Championship.
The greens at Quail Hollow were completely re-seeded after last years championship, and seeded with the same grass that has been installed at Pinehurst. Players will get a real feel this week on how the greens will react to approach shots. And more importantly, how they will putt.
There is a nice field present for this year’s Wells Fargo, but a lot of the top players are at home resting up for Ponte Vedre next week. The PGA has attempted to put together some nice groups for the early rounds, with the star power they have available at Quail Hollow.
Seung-yul Noh-Jimmy Walker-Bill Haas
This is a nice pairing as they put together the newest winner on the PGA Tour with the current FedEx Cup leader, and included hometown boy Bill Haas. Haas is from a golf family, and went to school at Wake Forest University in near-by Winston-Salem North Carolina. Bill Haas finished fourth, twice at Quail Hollow. Jimmy Walker has the game to pick up a win here on Sunday, and it would go a long way in dispelling the myth that he can’t win when away from the West Coast.
Jonas Blixt-Rory McIlroy-Rickie Fowler
Both Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler logged their first PGA victories at Quail Hollow. McIlroy in 2012, and Fowler was your 2012 champion. It was Fowlers only win on the tour while McIlroy has gone on to win two majors in his career. Rory, who is trying to find the confidence and swagger he had in 2012 when he won the scoring average on both tours, and the Race To Dubai championship also holds the course record at the Wells Fargo. He shot 62 in the final round for the 2010 win. Jonas Blixt finished in a tie at the Masters with Jordan Spieth, and finished T9 at Quail Hollow in 2012.
Zach Johnson-Webb Simpson-Ernie Els
All three in this group are former major champions. Webb Simpson is playing a home game as he lives in the Charlotte area and is a member at Quail Hollow. 2007 Masters Champ, Zach Johnson is looking to get his game back on-track after some early season success. He has been in a slump after taking some time off after the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. Ernie Els is looking to get ready for the US Open since switching back to a regular length putter. Ernie is making his first start at Quail Hollow since 2007.
Phil Mickelson-Justin Rose-Lee Westwood
Phil Mickelson has had three top three finishes at Quail Hollow including last year when he missed the playoff between eventual winner, Derek Ernst, and David Lynn by one stroke. Phil is desperately trying to get his game together before he makes a run at the only major he has failed to win at this point in his career. He is off to the worse start of his career, and is battling physical issues. Justin Rose is also trying to find the form he had before shoulder issues. He has never finished in the top 25, in five appearances at the Wells Fargo. Lee Westwood is coming off of an eighth place tie at the Masters, and a runaway win at the Malaysia Open two weeks ago. I think Westwood has his game on-track, and is ready to compete for a major this year.