The Wells Fargo Championship is one of the most eagerly anticipated tournaments on the PGA Tour calendar. Every year some of the very best players in the world turn up to Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina ready to do battle. The 2016 renewal is no exception with players like Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson ready to tee it up on Thursday.
There is no doubt that the main reason for the success of this relatively young tournament is the host venue. Quail Hollow is one of the best overall tests of golf in America and it is being rewarded by being given hosting duties for the 2017 PGA Championship. As part of the preparations for that tournament the course has been lengthened and it can now stretch out to 7,575 yards. There have been subtle changes throughout the course and all of the greens have been relaid after coming in for a fair amount of criticism in 2013.
When you talk about Quail Hollow it is not long before people mention the ‘Green Mile’. That’s the name given to the closing stretch of three holes which are the toughest on the course. Scoring can actually be pretty easy on the first 15 holes but those last three always play over par.
There have been some very good rounds in the history of Quail Hollow but nobody has been able to match Rory McIlroy’s course record of 61. The current world number three broke his own record on the Saturday of last year’s tournament, which he went on to win by an incredible seven shots. That win makes him the only many to have won this event twice. His first win, in 2010, was his maiden PGA Tour victory so this is a tournament and a course which is very special to the Northern Irishman. He is the bookies’ favourite this week and is very much the man to beat at odds of 9/2 with Bet365.
Like McIlroy, Rickie Fowler broke his PGA Tour duck at Quail Hollow. The 2012 champion has improved no end since and is well fancied by many to put together another challenge ahead of his defence at THE PLAYERS Championship. Fowler now has one of the best all round games in golf. He is able to hit it 300 yards off the tee with his driver, can hit some wonderful approach shots and when in with a sniff of a chance he is lethal with his putter. Fowler is priced at 16/1 with BetVictor which looks like good value for a player of his undeniable quality.
Fowler hit the headlines a couple of weeks ago for his incredible looking holiday at Baker’s Bay which he captured on Snapchat. One of those who made the trip with him was Justin Thomas and like Fowler, he also has a wonderful all round game. Pound for pound Thomas is the longest hitter on the PGA Tour so the length of Quail Hollow will pose him little issue. The 23-year-old won picked up his first win at the start of this season and he could well double up at 66/1 with Ladbrokes.