This week's Wells Fargo Championship is our one look at most of the stars of the PGA Tour between the Masters and PGA Championship. This week's field is headlined by Rory McIlroy (more on him below) but will also include a handful of other top-10 players in the world. We'll see many of them for the final time between now and Bethpage in a few weeks as most will skip next week's AT&T Byron Nelson. That means we should be in for a great one this week at Quail Hollow.
Let's take a look at this week's contest.
What: Wells Fargo Championship | When: May 2-5
Where: Quail Hollow Club -- Charlotte, North Carolina
Ranking the field (odds)
- Rory McIlroy (6-1): The overwhelming favorite, and based on the numbers (which you can see in greater detail below), he should be.
- Rickie Fowler (10-1): Of golfers with at least 25 rounds at this course, only McIlroy and Phil Mickelson have been better in the strokes gained category.
- Tony Finau (20-1): This feels like the right level of tournament he'll nab for his second.
- Justin Rose (12-1): He'll be rested! Rose surprisingly missed the Masters cut, but he's finished third and fifth here in his last two regular season appearances.
- Jason Day (10-1): He should be higher considering he's the defending champ and has a historically great strokes gained number here, but the ride (and injury history) has been a bit bumpy.
- Phil Mickelson (25-1): The numbers are incredible. The man has 10 (!) top 10s at this event without a win. That matches his U.S. Open number (which is also unfortunate).
- Lucas Glover (40-1): He's played in 13 events this season on the PGA Tour, and has 10 top 20s to go with three missed cuts.
- Sergio Garcia (25-1): Remember six months ago when Garcia couldn't find his game or two months ago when the only thing he could find was a pink slip from Saudi Arabia? Yeah, me either.
- Webb Simpson (20-1): He finished second in 2015 ... he also lost by seven to McIlroy.
- Hideki Matsuyama (20-1): I'd forgotten this, but he finished T5 alongside Fowler at the 2017 PGA Championship here. Didn't play great here last year, but he has three top 10s in nine events in 2019.
Field strength -- A: All that's really missing is ... Tiger.
Three things to know
1. The Rory show: Only five golfers are currently at 1.7 strokes gained or better this season on the PGA Tour. McIlroy is a 2.7. He also absolutely crushes at this course, has won here twice and holds the single-round scoring record of 61.
Most strokes gained per round at Quail Hollow:— Sean Martin (@PGATOURSMartin) April 29, 2019
1. Rory McIlroy, +2.7
2. Jason Day, +2.4
3. Phil Mickelson, +2.3
4. Francesco Molinari, +2.3
5. Justin Thomas, +2.1
6. Rickie Fowler, +2.0
7. Joey Sindelar, +1.9
8. Furyk, +1.8
9. Tiger, +1.7
10. Anthony Kim, +1.7
(min. 12 rounds)
2. PGA tune-up: This tournament will have (by far) the best field of any between the Masters and PGA Championship. It's an interesting time for pro golf on the PGA Tour. Stars almost always take a lot of time off following the intensity of the Masters, but normally there is an easy build back into the U.S. Open in June. Not so this year with the PGA Championship just two weeks away. Players like Fowler, Rose, Day and Mickelson will be sharpening for Bethpage even as they try and take home this tournament.
3. (Other) Rory and J.J.: How about this gem of a stat? The only two golfers to play every Wells Fargo Championship are Rory Sabbatini and J.J. Henry. That is so incredible.
Tiger Woods has decided to sit out his most likely opportunity to play following his Masters win and before the PGA Championship. His agent, Mark Steinberg, insisted that it's no cause for alarm, and I believe him, mostly because Tiger himself more or less said the same thing. Woods won this tournament in 2007 but he didn't play all that well at Quail last season.
- 2018: Jason Day
- 2017: Brian Harman
- 2016: James Hahn
- 2015: Rory McIlroy
- 2014: J.B. Holmes
Wells Fargo Championship picks
Winner: Rickie Fowler (10-1) -- He's coming off a top 10 at the Masters, and his recent finishes at Quail Hollow -- T21-T5-T4 -- are pushing me in the direction of either picking him or McIlroy. So I'll bump McIlroy to a top 10 and say Fowler gets his second win of the season.
Top 10: Rory McIlroy (6-1) -- This one is almost too easy. He has six top 10s in eight starts here. As many wins as non-top 10 finishes.
Sleeper: Sungjae Im (60-1) -- The best player in the world that nobody knows anything about. Four top 20s in his last six starts worldwide.