Tiger Woods is sitting out the Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina but there are plenty of other top names in contention for the title including two-time winner Rory McIlroy.
Plenty of quality despite absence of Tiger
Some of the biggest names in golf will head to Quail Hollow on Thursday for the Wells Fargo Championship, one of the most popular destinations on the tour; but there will be one notable absentee with the second major of the season just around the corner.
That’s because, following his remarkable win at The Masters, there will be no Tiger Woods in North Carolina despite the world number 6 being widely expected to tee it up in Charlotte ahead of the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black in two weeks; meaning he will not play a competitive tournament between his win at Augusta and his trip to upstate New York.
Despite the absence of Woods there will still be a pretty stellar line-up in North Carolina including defending champion Jason Day, Sergio Garcia, Tony Finau, Justin Rose, Webb Simpson and Rory McIlroy, who is aiming to win here for the third time in his career.
Green Mile provides the ultimate test
Quail Hollow was built in 1959 by George Cobb, whose other notable works include East Lake, Timuquana and the ninth hole at Augusta National but despite being one of the most recognizable and revered courses on the tour the Wells Fargo Championship is one of the youngest events in the calendar first being staged back in 2003.
Though the course has seen a number of changes, with huge swathes of trees being cut down in order to lengthen the fourth and fifth holes, Quail Hollow is best known for its final three holes which have been nicknamed the Green Mile due to the fact that many a player’s round has come to an untimely end on this final stretch.
The tough 506-yard, Par 4, 16th signals the beginning of one of the most daunting tests in golf with a bank of water providing plenty of jeopardy for any player who leaks the ball down the left-hand side before the 223-yard, Par 3, 17th requires a tee shot to carry almost 200 yards of water while the 18th is a difficult 494-yard, Par 4, with a creek hugging the left side of the green.
Fortune will favour the brave
Accuracy off the tee is a must for any player who wants to win here and it’s no surprise that previous champions, such Jason Day, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy, are some of the best drivers in golf so once again there will be little reward for players not finding the fairways.
A combination of warm weather and damp conditions after a particularly wet April means the course will be perfectly set-up for those who can bomb the ball 300-yards plus down the fairway so don’t be surprised to see Rory McIlroy involved once again having won here in 2010 and 2015 and is 7.00* to complete the hat-trick.
Reigning FedExCup champion Justin Rose returns following a two-year hiatus, having finished third in his last visit in 2016 and will be looking to continue his solid run of form and can be backed at 13.00* while defending champion Jason Day is seeking to become the event’s first back-to-back winner and is 11.00* join McIlroy as the only multiple winner of this competition.
*Odds subject to change