Wells Fargo full of interest
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2012 Wells Fargo Championship | Preview | 01 May 2012
The famed and highly regarded Quail Hollow in Charlotte in North Carolina is the venue for this week’s Wells Fargo Championship where a field including five of the game’s leading ten ranked players will tee it up.
Quail Hollow has a long history in tournament golf in American but having played a role in much earlier years it became a venue again in 2003 when the Wachovia Championship was introduced to the PGA Tour. Prior to that the venue had played host to the Kemper Open during the 1970’s.
After six years as the Wachovia Championship, the tournament was played without a title sponsor in 2009 although that was more of a political move by the new owners of Wachovia, Wells Fargo, as to be seen to be sponsoring a golf tournament during the Global Financial Crisis might have been a little provocative. Wells Fargo though have now committed to the event until 2014.
The course was originally designed by George Cobb in 1961, underwent some changes by Arnold Palmer in the mid-80’s and then a major redesign under North Carolina resident Tom Fazio in the late nineties.
Rory McIlory was dethroned from the top of the rankings last week but it was in this event in 2010 where a final round of 62 saw the then 21 year old win his first PGA Tour event. Interestingly McIlory missed the cut twelve months later but that was his first start in the US since his demise at the Masters and was under a lot of scrutiny at the time.
A few weeks later he recorded a stunning win at the US Open to put all doubt behind him, and many others, of his capacity under the most intense of pressure and his form since indicates that is no longer an issue.
His return to the Masters this year, the last tournament he played prior to this week, was hardly covered in glory but in everything else he has played in the past twelve months he has been very good.
Tiger Woods has played this event or its equivalent on five occasions wining once and recording two other top fives. Clearly the layout is of no concern for him but his lack of consistent form is. He showed at Bay Hill that he can still win but his effort at Augusta National was a concern for his fans.
Woods has indicated however that his swing is in better shape now than it was at the Masters. It would need to be for him to even contend.
Phil Mickelson on the other hand seems primed to do well this week. In eight starts in this event he has six top tens to his name and given his great effort at Augusta National and several other very good tournaments in the last three months he seems on the verge of his second win of the season.
Hunter Mahan just keeps getting better. Now the number five player in the game, Mahan has won twice in his last five starts and has a series of good solid tournaments in this event in recent years although seldom contending. He is playing with great confidence now however and could take his Quail Hollow form to another level.
Kevin Na has played well in each of his last two events at Quail Hollow and although forced to withdraw from the recent Valero Texas Open he has been in good form of late. Provided he has recovered from his back concerns he could again do well.
The Australians in the field are Jason Day, Marc Leishman, Aaron Baddeley, Geoff Ogilvy, Nathan Green, Mathew Goggin, Robert Allenby, Nick O’Hern, Stuart Appleby, John Senden, Gavin Coles and Monday qualifier Nick Flanagan.
The return of Day will be watched with interest following his recent ankle problem. Day finished 22nd in this event in his only appearance two years ago. He was forced to withdraw from the Masters but his form prior, while not great, was not bad. There will be a lot of interest in how he performs.
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