The PGA Tour heads to Quail Hollow this week for the Wells Fargo Championship. This year’s field is particularly strong. Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson will all tee it up for the first time since the Masters. Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka will also be in the field. Full field and tee times.
The reigning champion of the Wells Fargo Championship is technically Brian Harman. I say technically because the tournament was hosted at Eagle Point last season. Harman holed a long birdie putt on the final hole to hold off Pat Perez and Dustin Johnson by 1.
They played at Eagle Point last year because Quail Hollow was preparing for the 2017 PGA Championship, won by Justin Thomas. The tournament came down to the back nine on Sunday where JT closed the door with this 7 iron on 17.
He made the putt and went on to capture his first major victory. Now, 9 months later, Thomas needs a finish of solo 12th or better to take over Dustin Johnson as the #1 ranked player in the world. It would be the first time since February of 2017 that someone overtook DJ’s #1 ranking.
At 7,554 yards and a par 71 (if you’re into that sort of thing), Quail Hollow is a big ballpark. Tom Fazio renovated the course in 2016 in preparation for the PGA Championship. He lengthened a few holes and notably altered the first 5 holes on the golf course. These changes were met by a lot of criticism from players. This year, the course will feel more familiar as the 1st will play 30 yards shorter, and the back tee on the 4th hole is now a lemonade stand.
The biggest issue remains the lack of reward players experience for taking on the risky line of play around Quail Hollow. The 18th hole is a great example of this as playing close to the creek actually gives you a worse angle to attack the green. Read how the 18th could be a great risk/reward finishing hole here.
At a bomber’s paradise like Quail Hollow, Paulie is favoring some players with firepower.. See who Paulie likes this week as well as who to pick in DraftKings and One-and-Done.
The Sandbox Opens
The latest Keiser project, Sand Valley, officially added its second course, a 17-hole par 3 called the Sandbox. The Coore & Crenshaw design is a delightful walk with bold green complexes that include a Double Plateau, Redan, Biarritzand a Lion’s mouth to name a few. The Sandbox will be the new kid on the block for only a short while with David McLay Kidd’s Mammoth Dunes set to open at the end of May. I was onsite for the festivities and hosted a discussion with Bill Coore and Jim Craig about the Sandbox and Sand Valley. Look for a podcast version of the conversation later this week.
The Pro Shop Updates
Check out our pro shop this week for new Fried Egg apparel, including B. Draddy polos and Fairway & Greene quarter-zip pull-overs and vests. Order them for pre-sale here.
Campus Update with Will Knights
Now that conference tournaments are over, teams await their regional assignments. There are 6 regionals each year, with the top 5 from each tournament qualifying for the NCAA Championship. Individuals who win a regional but are not on a qualifying team also earn an exemption. Tune into Golf Channel at 6pm EST on Wednesday to see where teams will be playing!
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan says a joint PGA Tour/LPGA Tour event is a “matter of time”.
USGA officials attended Tuesday’s Player Advisory Council meeting to discuss the upcoming U.S. Open set up at Shinnecock Hills. Full story