This year's Wells Fargo Championship features 156 of the world’s top golf professionals competing for their share of the $8.1 million purse.
The 2021 Wells Fargo Championship may not be listed as one of the four major golf championships, but the tourney in North Carolina will certainly have the feel of one of the most competitive events of the year. The fact that the tourney took a haitus in 2020 only adds to this year's anticipation.
Consider that Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm will all be in action this weekend and the ultra-challenging Quail Hollow course almost always produces stellar leaderboards.
Previous Well Fargo winners include Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy and even Tiger Woods, who have all raised the trophy here within the last decade. So, it's a star-studded event, for sure.
Tee off takes place on Thursday.
Keys: They're the top two players in the field based on OWGR and will be among the betting favorites in a star-studded affair. Rahm finished T-7 at Zurich alongside Ryan Palmer in defense of their title, and the Spaniard finished fourth in 2017 in his lone prior appearance (when it was held at Eagle Point). Thomas won the PGA at Quail Hollow a few months later for his first major, and his Wells Fargo record includes top-25s in two of his three starts. He enters off a frustrating week in Tampa where he was a tee-to-green leader but among the worst putters in the field.
Keys: These two have the best claim to Mr. Quail Hollow. McIlroy has been dominant at this event before, winning twice including in 2015 when he shot a course-record 61 in the third round. This was also the site of his first Tour win back in 2010, but he has missed the cut in each of his last two stroke-play starts. Simpson is a Charlotte resident and Quail Hollow member, playing a true home game this week in an event where he was a runner-up behind McIlroy six years ago. He finished T-12 at the Masters and T-9 at the RBC Heritage the following week.
Keys: Two of America's brightest stars square off at the site of next year's Presidents Cup. DeChambeau is making his first start since the Masters and has cooled somewhat since his run through the Florida Swing. His Quail Hollow record includes a pair of missed cuts and a fourth-place showing in his most recent (2018) appearance. Reed finished T-2 at the 2017 PGA here and has finished T-32 or better in six of his seven Wells Fargo starts, but enters off a surprising early exit at Valspar where he missed the cut by a shot.
Keys: Two former champions in need of a big week. Fowler earned his maiden win here nine years ago, but he's now outside the top 100 in the world and more than a year removed from his most recent top-10 finish. Day won at Quail Hollow in 2018 and has never finished worse than T-24 in four Wells Fargo appearances, but he's on the cusp of dropping out of the top 60 in the world and is entering a pivotal stretch if he's going to avoid a trip to U.S. Open sectionals next month.
Keys: A pair of veterans heading in opposite directions. Mickelson has done everything but win at Quail Hollow, finishing T-5 or better four times between 2013-18. But he seemed dispirited after an 18th-hole bogey cost him the weekend at Innisbrook and he has now missed three of his last six cuts overall. Cink has been one of the best storylines of the year, winning twice this season including a four-shot romp at Harbour Town in his most recent start. He's been a regular at this event, with three top-10s but none since 2011.
Keys: These two were partners in Zurich and now square off in Pick 'Em. Schauffele will be looking to bounce back on an individual basis from his near-miss at the Masters, while Cantlay is looking to stop a skid of three straight missed cuts in stroke-play events. Cantlay is making his Wells Fargo debut but did finish T-33 here at the 2017 PGA. Schauffele missed the cut that week but did make it in each of his two starts in this event, including a T-24 finish in 2017 when it was held away from Quail.
Keys: Homa was in the mix for his second win of the year at Innisbrook, but the putter failed to cooperate Sunday as he faded to a T-6 finish in what was still a strong week. Now he's back to defend a title for the first time, two years after he held off Joel Dahmen for a watershed win at this event. Finau has made the cut in all five trips to Quail Hollow but hasn't finished better than T-16, and he's teeing it up for the first time since a T-10 finish at the Masters.
Keys: Bradley let one get away Sunday in Tampa, rinsing his tee shot on the 13th hole to hand a lead to Sam Burns that he would not relinquish. Bradley went on to finish alone in second, but that came on the heels of a T-4 finish at the Zurich with Brendan Steele and marked his sixth straight top-30 finish. But he has struggled in this event, missing the cut in all four trips in addition to a T-33 showing at the 2017 PGA. Fleetwood is playing for the first time since a missed cut at Harbour Town and has also struggled on this course, finishing T-61 at the PGA and missing the cut (2018) in his only other Wells Fargo start.
Keys: Hovland picked up a lot of ground Sunday with a final-round 65 at Valspar to snag a tie for third place. It's his fourth top-5 finish this season and first in more than two months. Zalatoris is playing this week on a sponsor invite and is still riding high from his runner-up at the Masters, having finished T-42 at Harbour Town in his most recent start. This is the pro debut for both on Quail Hollow.
Keys: Both had solid showings at Valspar, with Im finishing T-29 and Niemann fading a bit during the final round to a T-8 result. That was the 17th straight made cut for Niemann, a run that dates back to August and includes a pair of runner-up finishes in Hawaii. He'll look to continue that trend on a course where he finished T-38 two years ago, while Im finished T-31 that year with four straight rounds of par or better. He has been equally steady, making 12 of 14 cuts this year including six top-20 finishes.