Prelude To A Major: The pro's get one more look at Quail Hollow Club this week before it hosts next year's PGA Championship. Join us as we dive into the betting odds and free play.
Welcome to Charlotte, North Carolina. Home to The Charlotte Hornets, the NASCAR Hall Of Fame, the NFC Champion Carolina Panthers, and one of the most exclusive golf clubs in America, Quail Hollow Club.. the site of this week's Tour stop, The Wells Fargo Championship.
Twenty-One of the Top-fifty ranked players in the world will be here this week and there are a few reasons why. Quail Hollow is a lure for the players because of its exclusivity and reputation for hospitality. It is also one of the most challenging golf courses on the Tour schedule, ranking 20th hardest last year and 13th most difficult in 2014.
Finally, everybody would like to get one last look at this beauty before next August when Quail Hollow will host the 2017 PGA Championship. Yes, this 7,562-yard Par 72 is Major Championship caliber, thanks to a "major" renovation by Tom Fazio in 1997. The 2016 edition marks the 14th year of The Wells Fargo and if history holds true, it ought to produce another marquee winner.
World number three, Rory McIlroy is your defending champion. Rickie Fowler has won here, Vijay Singh, J.B. Holmes, Tiger Woods, and Jim Furyk, who will be returning to the circuit for the first time this season since having undergone surgery on his wrist in February.
Finally, enjoy one of the most challenging three hole stretches on Tour this week at Quail Hollow. Known as "The Green Mile," holes 16-17-and-18 make for a very dramatic home stretch and year in and year out, rank over par in scoring average. Ought to be a good watch.
Rory McIlroy (+400 across the board on the betting odds) This is the first time we have seen Rory tee it up since he experienced a disappointing The Masters a month ago. He loves this place however as he has won here twice and has three Top-10 finishes in six tries. The last time he defended this title however, he missed the cut and he has never repeated as champion at any tournament in his career.
Rickie Fowler (+1400 at Ladbrokes) Like Rory, Rickie Fowler also made Quail Hollow the home of his first PGA Tour victory. Fowler could use a boost from a course that he's had success at however, as he was lackluster last week in New Orleans and next week he will be defending his title at The Players.
Adam Scott (+2000 at 888Sports) After beginning the season scorching hot, Scott has cooled off a bit. He has only played The Wells Fargo once in the last five years, missing the cut last season and twice in a row prior to that in 2009 and 2010.
Henrik Stenson (+1500 at Coral) As the sixth ranked player in the world, one of the most accurate drivers of the golf ball, and best ball strikers on Earth, it is odd to look at Henrik Stenson's lousy history at this golf course - having never finished higher than 58th and missing the cut three times.
J.B. Holmes (+2500 at PaddyPower) Holmes is having arguably the best year of his career. He's healthy, has three Top-10 finishes, seven Top-25's, and is yet to miss a cut all season. He missed the cut here at Quail Hollow last year but won the tournament in 2014.
Phil Mickelson (+2500 ) Having played this event twelve times, Mickelson has tallied eight Top-10 finishes here along with two Top-15's and has never missed the cut. That would be the definition of a "Horse for the Course."
The Long Shots
Webb Simpson (+6000 at BetVictor) As a member of the club, Simpson knows the course as well or better than anybody in the field. He finished 2nd here last year and 4th in 2012. The bad news is, the former U.S. Open champ is yet to record a Top-10 finish this season.
Ryan Moore (+7500 at Bet365) Ryan Moore has five Top-10 finishes this season and two at this golf course in 2012 and 2013. He lacks in Driving Distance but looks good across the board in all of the other key stats for this week.
Jim Furyk (+6600 at 888Sports) This is Jim Furyk's first time back in action since having to withdraw with injury from The BMW Championship last Fall. He underwent surgery on the injured wrist in February. If his wrist is ready, he could be there. He won this event in 2006, has two runner up finishes to go along with that, in addition to another couple of Top 10's. Another horse for the course - if he's healthy.
Kevin Chappell (+4000 at Bet365) The UCLA Bruin, in search of his first PGA Tour win, has really been progressing nicely in recent years and is playing at an all time best this season. His game matches this course as evidenced by a 16th and 11th place the last two years. Chappell has four Top-25 finishes this season and four Top-10's, including two 2nd place finishes.
Rory, Rickie, Anthony Kim, and Derek Ernst have made this place home to their first Tour Victory. I'm thinking that while there is Chapel Hill two hours to the East, Kevin Chappell may be on top of the hills of Quail Hollow right here in Charlotte come Sunday and is the one I'll be looking very closely for my betting pick.