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Wells Fargo Championship Preview

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Quail Hollow Club took a year off to prep for the 2022 Presidents Cup but it returns to its Wells Fargo Championship hosting duties this week.

The event always attracted a handful of big names but the field is elevated this time around thanks to the event being tagged as a designated event with a boosted prize pool.

A full field of 156 golfers will be prepped to start the week with the low 65 and ties advancing on past the 36-hole cutline.

The Course

Quail Hollow Club is a longtime host of this event but the course has also passed the baton from time to time. We saw Eagle Point host the 2017 edition when Quail Hollow was prepping for the PGA Championship and last year the event moved to TPC Potomac while Quail Hollow prepped for the Presidents Cup.

All that to say, this is a familiar venue for most of the field. It’s a par 71 that stretches out to 7,538 yards from the tips.

There are six par 4s that play over 460 yards so driving distance and driving skill in general is a good skill to have this week.

On approach, golfers will see a lot of shots from outside of 175 yards, so again, distance becomes a useful tool. We are starting to see a trend.

For grass types, golfers will see bermudagrass that was overseeded in the fall. When it comes to an early May date, we are at the stage where the bermuda could be re-announcing its dominance, depending on the weather leading up to the event.

The greens are average in size (6,578 square feet on average). At 12 on the stimp they play a bit faster than TOUR average but not on the extremes of the speed spectrum.

The overall scoring environment is very tough. It’s often called a major-championship-caliber test for a reason. Nine of the last 10 winners have failed to eclipse the 15-under mark with the lone exception being Rory McIlroy‘s 21-under winning tally in 2015 (he won by seven shots). This is a week where if you reach double digits under par then you will likely be right in the hunt.

Course Quotes

Sifting through some past quotes, let’s try to break down the course to see how it will play.

Keith Mitchell in 2021: “Some golf courses on the PGA TOUR where you can hit bad shots, get away with it and still try to make birdie. You can’t do that here. I think that’s a true test of golf.”

Justin Rose in 2019: “It’s a strategic golf course. The greens are so severe, so sloping, that you need to respect a lot of pin placements out there. A lot of guys can make cheap bogeys on this golf course”

Jason Day in 2019: “I think it’s a golf course where you kind of have to have every aspect going. You need to drive it well because it is a long golf course. If you’re not hitting fairways, then you’re going to miss greens because of how firm the greens are, so you need a really good short game to try and save yourself.”

Correlated Courses

Using historical data we can look at overperformance and underperformance at this week’s host course and compare that to all of the courses played out on TOUR. Here are the ones that shared a lot of overlap:

Torrey Pines
TPC Boston
TPC Sawgrass
Pebble Beach Pro-Am Rota
Sea Island
TPC Southwind

A lot of mid-iron play is what stands out at first glance when looking at this collection of courses.

The Weather

Thursday: Sunny with a high of 70 degrees. Wind at 10 MPH with gusts up to 22 MPH.

Friday: Sunny with a high of 73 degrees. Wind at 6 MPH with gusts up to 14 MPH.

There is some potential rain in the forecast on Saturday but otherwise looks like a great week for golf.