The United States is blanketed in golf this week, but there’s a little in the Eastern Hemisphere as well. The PGA Tour heads to the East Coast for the Wells Fargo Championship, the Web.com heads to Nashville, the LPGA continues its California swing, and the European Tour gets underway at the Volvo China Open.
We’re out of the duck
The 2017 PGA Championship site plays host to a regular season event this week. Quail Hollow is a player favorite, so it is no surprise that many big names are in the field this week. Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jason Day, Sergio Garcia, Tony Finau, and Phil Mickelson tee it up with just two weeks until the PGA Championship. Tee Times
Helium for everyone!
Jason Day returns to Quail Hollow as the defending champion, following his two stroke victory last year. The Balloon Boy birdied the 70th and 71st holes of the tournament in 2018 to get some breathing room and cruise to his second win of the season. He hasn’t won since then, but he enters the week as No. 14 in the world.
Rory McIlroy looks to continue his strong season with a trip to a course where he has won twice before. In fact, since 2010, Rory McIlroy has led all players in scoring average, birdies/eagles per round, and green-in-regulation percentage at Quail Hollow (via Justin Ray).
Quail Hollow ranked as the 5th most difficult course on the PGA Tour last year. It features many long par 4s and par 3s that demand a high ball flight and plenty of distance off the tee.
Phil Mickelson has never won at Quail Hollow, but he has been very close many times. He has ten top 10s at this event in his career but has never reached the mountain top (via Sean Martin).
Hideki Matsuyama has never won a major championship, but he was close in 2017. Justin Thomas pulled away from him that year, and Hideki seemed to take it hard. He stayed in a funk for basically the entire the 2018 season. A strong performance this week could help get rid of the old demons and set him on the right track for Bethpage Black.
The Tour heads to one of its toughest setups, Paulie likes players with a few key attributes to thrive. Read his picks here.
The Web.com Tour heads to the home of bachelorette parties and country music this week. The Nashville Golf Open will start on Thursday with Lanto Griffin returning as the favorite. Griffin won the event in 2017, finished T-2 last year, and finished in a tie for second last week in Texas. He needs just a few more points to lock up his spot in the top 25, so expect a good week out of Griffin. Vanderbilt product Theo Humphrey will also tee it up as a local favorite in Nashville. Tee Times
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The LPGA Mediheal Championship gets underway this weekend with Lydia Ko returning to defend her title. Tee Times
The European Tour moves from Morocco to China for the Volvo China Open in Chengdu. Ross Fisher, Thomas Detry, Min Woo Lee, and Julian Suri are among the notables in the field. Tee Times
Just four teams remain at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball outside of Jacksonville. The remaining teams will vie for the title on Wednesday at Donald Ross’s Timuquana Country Club. Scores
The Latest Podcasts and Articles
Episode 134: Geoff Shackelford Part I
Golf Channel and Golfweek contributor Geoff Shackelford joins the podcast to discuss recent happenings in golf. Part one of Andy and Geoff’s conversation starts with thoughts on Augusta’s setup before meandering to technology and the youth invasion in the game. They then talk about the schedule and the good and bad of the condensed season. Part two of the podcast will air later this week. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify
Wells Fargo’s J.J. Henry problem, PGA Champ conditioning, and a Carson Daly rant
This Wednesday episode begins, as you’d expect, with a lengthy digression on J.J. Henry after Andy comes with the little fact that he’s one of two players to have made a start in every iteration of the Wells Fargo Championship. We discuss the odd and arbitrary “300 career made cuts” category that allowed him to keep his card this year. Then we get into the full schedule for the week, comparing the purses of some LPGA events to Champions Tour events and discussing the leaderboard at the PGA Professional Championship. The event of the week has us reviewing the career earnings of the all-time wins leader on the Minor League Golf Tour. In news, we discuss some comments from PGA Championship setup man Kerry Haigh on the weather and conditioning they’re hoping for over the next two weeks to fill out Bethpage Black. We also rant on the absurdity of Carson Daly’s latest interjections about the “Spirit of Earl Woods” in his podcast with Rory McIlroy. We wrap with some Quail Hollow picks and intel from Fried Egg Paulie. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify