Welcome back everyone. We return after a one-week break (a much needed vacation) and a win by one of my favorite golfers Bubba Watson. I pride myself on staying up to date on my golf and research so even on vacation I still found time to watch some PGA Tour Golf. This week we travel to the Quail Hallow Club in Charlotte North Carolina for the Wells Fargo Championship. Last year’s winner Rory McIlroy returns along with one of the best fields we get to see throughout the year.
Quail Hallow is one of the longer courses the players play on Tour. At 7442 yards and Par 72, this course forces the players to cover every yard of that distance (It is not like when the guys play in Arizona and the ball travels much further). The Players will have to manage the course while bombing the ball on the long Par 4’s and 5’s. The course features four Par 4’s that are 478 yards or longer, along with a 566 yard Par 5 as its second shortest Par 5. You might think the designer would let up on the players for the Par 3’s but that is not the case. The course features only one Par 3 that measures less than 200 yards. Lets look more in depth at three holes I feel could have a major impact on deciding this excellent tournament.
Par 4 480yard 16th Hole – This is a beautiful hole that begins a 3-hole stretch that will decide the tournament this week. The drive must be straight as there is a bunker on the right hand side that will try and swallow up golf balls. If you succeed in driving the ball straight you will have an average difficulty shot into a green that absolutely no one wants to putt on. Wait until you see some of the breaks players will be faced with on this crazy 16th green this week. It should be entertaining.
Par 3 217 yard 17th Hole – Any green that is almost an island and is the 17th hole tends to provide plenty of excitement on the PGA Tour. This 17th hole will provide players with a decision on whether to go for the pin or lay up safe to the other side of the green come Sunday. If you are a player who needs the birdie on this hole you had better understand your ball has a strong chance of getting wet.
Par 4 478 yard 18th Hole – The 18th is one hole that I would love to play but I think I would post a Kevin Na type score come Sunday with the pressure. The 18th has a very tight fairway forcing the players to be extremely accurate. To add to the difficulty there is a bunker on the right and a creek down the left hand side. The green is well guarded and will force players to once again be accurate. This is always an interesting finishing hole.
The field this week as I stated earlier is superb. This week we have 5 of the world’s Top 10 players and 7 of the Top 10 Fed Ex Points ranked players. Rory McIlroy returns as last years champion of this event, looking to right the ship after a final round Masters to forget. He is joined by 5 other past champions this week in Sean O’Hair (2009) Anthony Kim (2008) Jim Furyk (2006) Vijay Singh (2005) and David Toms (2003).
There will be 16 past major champions competing this week, once again showing the depth in this field. All the players know the competition level is at premium this week in North Carolina so expect the cream of the crop to rise to the top. Look for the top players in the world to battle it out, while a ‘no name’ or two attempts to make a statement.
STEVES SIX PACK PICKS
This week it’s all about hitting the ball of the tee. We want guys who can bomb it and hopefully keep it in the short grass. Here is our 6 pack
Dustin Johnson 23/1 – DJ is an absolute freak at golf. He has all the tools and I have been saying it since he came on the scene, this guy is going to win a lot of big tournaments. This week at Quail Hallow looks like an excellent opportunity as DJ has finished in the Top 4 in 2 of his last 4 events. Look for him to continue to play great golf as we build up to the next two majors.
Bubba Watson 26/1 – I would love to congratulate Bubba on a great victory last week. Bubba is easily one of my favorite golfers and a guy who seems to be enjoying playing the game of golf right now. He has dominated this year statistics wise as he sits 1st in Greens in Regulation and second on Tour in driving distance (just in front of DJ). How about back-to-back weeks of hearing a Bubba Watson Champions interview. I’d like it.
Hunter Mahan 30/1 – Is as solid of an all around golfer as they come. He hits the ball with length, accuracy, is solid around the greens and one of the most clutch putters on Tour. With Top 10’s in half of his starts this year we know that Hunter will be playing well on a track that suits his game.
Webb Simpson 60/1 – You heard it from me first this season that Webb Simpson was going to be a player on the PGA Tour. We narrowly missed him at 100/1 this year when he lost to Gary Woodland on the final hole earlier this year but I see excellent value with him once again this week. Played very well last week and possibly would have beat Bubba had it not been for an unfortunate penalty stroke. Look for him to continue his excellent play this week.
Gary Woodland 80/1 – Still a bit upset over him beating Webb earlier this season and stopping us from a massive payday but I cannot overlook his talent. He has performed well on the big stage so far this year and I look for him to do it again this week. Currently sits 7th on Tour in Driving Distance, something he will use to his advantage this week.
Kyle Stanley to Finish Top 5 – 55/1 – A player who may be a relative unknown to most people but someone with plenty of talent. Enters this tournament missing 3 straight cuts but based on his statistics throughout this season I feel Quail Hallow sets up well for him. He is excellent on approaches outside of 200 yards (something bound to happen this week) and sits 14th in Par 5 performance on the year. He also sits 11th is Driving Distance and 25th in Total Driving. Possibly could be taking this talent to early but I feel he is worth a shot Top 5 this week.
I hope everyone enjoys this week and good luck to our six-pack golfers.