Connect with us
Advertisement

Opinion & Analysis

Fantasy Preview: 2018 Wells Fargo Championship

Published

on

Having moved to Eagle Point GC for the 2017 edition, the Wells Fargo Championship returns once more to the familiar Quail Hollow Club. The switch was due to Quail Hollow hosting the 2017 PGA Championship, and its ability to host a Major Championship tells you all you need to know about the difficulty of the course.

At over 7,500 yards, the course is very challenging. As you can imagine, those who possess great length off the tee will have a significant advantage over the shorter hitters this week. Along with distance off the tee, accuracy with long irons will be vital this week. At the PGA Championship last year, Justin Thomas claimed his maiden major, while James Hahn emerged victorious in 2016 at the Wells Fargo. In both of these events, single-digits under par was enough to prevail.

Selected Tournament Odds (via Bet365)

  • Rory Mcilroy 8/1
  • Justin Thomas 10/1
  • Rickie Fowler 10/1
  • Jason Day 20/1
  • Patrick Reed 20/1
  • Hideki Mastuyama 22/1
  • Phil Mickelson 25/1

Despite a loaded field this week, Rory McIlroy (8/1, DK Price $11,800) jumps out from the card. His affinity with Quail Hollow is not quite at the level of Tiger Woods and his favorite courses, but it’s still mightily impressive. McIlroy has two wins and four other top-10 finishes at this championship in his seven appearances here.

It will be McIlroy’s first appearance since he struggled on Sunday at the Masters and let slip another opportunity to complete the Grand Slam… but already the signs are there that this year his game is in far better shape than it has been over the last two years. His win at Bay Hill and his week in contention at Augusta should serve him well this week at a course he can dominate.

With performance off the tee this week being so important on a long golf course such as this, McIlroy will be more confident than anyone in the field at producing his best in this department. At four of the last five Wells Fargo Championships he’s played, McIlroy has led the field in Strokes Gained-Off the Tee — sometimes by inordinate numbers, too. His Strokes Gained-Total on the course in this event is spectacular. McIlroy leads the field in Strokes Gained-Total here, and he has gained more than double the amount of Strokes Gained-Total than that of third-place Robert Streb despite only playing in four of the last five tournaments.

One item in the bag that has stifled McIlroy repeatedly in the past is also behaving itself recently, too. The Irishman’s putting has been rock solid lately. In his last 12 rounds, he ranks 10th in Strokes Gained-Putting. On a course that fits his eye more than any other on Tour, there is nothing to suggest McIlroy won’t be right in the thick of it come Sunday afternoon.

Another man who has performed well at Quail Hollow in the past is Webb Simpson (40/1, DK Price $8,400). It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise either, since Simpson is a member of the course. The U.S. Open Champion has finished in the top-5 at this event twice in his last five visits. Simpson has also been enjoying a great stretch of form. In his eight stroke-play tournaments, he has managed to finish in the top-10 on four occasions.

Performance on the greens has never been a strong point of Simpson’s game, but this season has been a revelation in that regard. Simpson has only failed to post a positive Strokes Gained-Putting statistic in one event so far this season. He ranks fourth in Strokes Gained-Putting and 2nd in Strokes Gained-Short Game over his last 24 rounds in this field.

Simpson ranks 14th in Strokes Gained-Total at Quail Hollow over the past five years and 12th for Strokes Gained-Total in this field over his previous 12 rounds. With his game in excellent shape, good course form and local knowledge to lean on — and now armed with a hot putter — Simpson looks good to have another good week at his home course.

It often surprises people when they hear it, but Bryson DeChambeau (50/1, DK Price $8,000) is one of the best players in the world off the tee. DeChambeau is ranked 13th in Total Driving for the season, and recently his iron play has been superb. Over the past 12 rounds, DeChambeau leads the field this week in Strokes Gained-Approaching the Green.

Over his last six events, DeChambeau has three top-5 finishes to his name. He will be looking to re-enter the winner’s circle again soon while his game is in such good shape. Over his last 24 rounds, DeChambeau ranks fifth in Ball Striking, third in Strokes Gained-Tee to Green and sixth in Strokes Gained Total. All of this has brought a lot of joy to DraftKings players who have been using him in this stretch, as DeChambeau sits third in DraftKings points earned in the same period.

DeChambeau finished T-33 on this course at the PGA Championship last year, and he has the ideal combination of power and strategic nous to improve on that this week. He looks slightly undervalued, and there’s no reason for DraftKings players to desert the Californian at this juncture.

Recommended Plays

  • Rory Mcilroy 8/1, DK Price $11,800
  • Webb Simpson 40/1, DK Price $8,400
  • Bryson DeChambeau 50/1, DK Price  $8,000
Your Reaction?
  • 1
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT1
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Gianni is a freelance writer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts as well as a Diploma in Sports Journalism. He can be contacted at gmagliocco@outlook.com. Follow him on Twitter @giancarlomag

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion & Analysis

Don’t be THAT guy at your corporate outing

Published

on

Today is the day. Your out-of-office email is up, and you’re fully prepared for an afternoon at the course. As a driving range pro, you think this day will be a gentle breeze. However, you are not prepared. You may not even realize it, but you are about to be that guy.

That guy… who is that guy? Well, I’m glad you asked.

He’s that guy at the range hours early instead of socializing at the breakfast. He’s that guy arranging the scramble lineup when he finally makes it to that breakfast. He’s the guy who finds himself reading a golf blog about a corporate scramble.

Hi, guy!

Now, let’s start this early in the morning. You’re in your closet carefully crafting your outfit for the day. Wait, wait, wait… let’s not start there. Therein lies the problem, guy. You aren’t composing an outfit, not today! An outfit is for Day 2 of your member-guest. An outfit is for that golf trip with your buddies. An outfit is for Bill Murray at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am (who, with those bell bottoms, is becoming dangerously close to that guy). 

I digress.

A corporate outing is for the muted colors sitting in the back of your closet. There’s no need to get flashy with your attire on this day. If your game is as good as your rangefinder magnet says you are, your game will be enough of the conversation; there’s no need to make your belt buckle one of them. White shorts are fine, but please, don’t be the guy wrapped in pants in 80-degree heat. I get it, you’re “more comfortable in pants” and “this new fabric is actually cooler than shorts.” Come on now, let’s save the pants for guys who aren’t playing for pro shop credit.

Obviously club-tossing, swear-wording and teammate-bashing are huge no-nos, but you already know that. Be encouraging on the course and give your teammates credit when they hit one down the middle, even if you drive it past them. It was still their shot that freed you up.

Most importantly, gauge the competitiveness of the team. Some people are there to win; some people are there for gin. If it’s clear that your team isn’t firing 14-under, kick back, relax and help your teammates improve. You’ll have your own chance. You can still get excited for the long drive, guy.

Speaking of the long drive, why is the prize for winning said competition so often a new driver? “You proved today how well you smash that driver, so here is a new one!” Sir, he likes his just fine. I think it’s safe to venture he’d rather stop the three-putt pars. Which also goes for the longest-putt prize. A brand new Odyssey White Hot! Just stop it. Pro shop credit… problem solved.

Speaking of problems, there’s a good chance someone in your group will have a massive one with their swing. As a guy, you’ll probably want to tell them they are “casting” and to try this “towel-under-the-arm drill.” Yes, it is completely fine to provide a tip, but only when warranted (or preferably, called upon). You can go from “guy who helped my short game” to “guy who destroyed my swing” with just a few too many hints.

One more thing. Don’t let any guy pull this move.

Let me paint a story. Your team approaches the green, you have two decent looks at birdie. Good for you! However, your team can’t decide. One is 15-feet straight up the hill. The other is an eight-foot slider. The team agrees the shorter putt is still the play.

“I’ll smack this 15-footer, just for fun,” your cheating teammate says. Followed shortly by, “unless it goes in, ha.”

Other than actually cheating, this is the most common and lame shenanigan I’ve seen in a corporate scramble. I’ve never forgotten the people that did it with me, and they won’t forget you.

Man, that got dark in a hurry.

Back to the fun stuff. You’ve mastered the clothing and seamlessly blended casual and competitive like Tom Brady in Uggs. All that is left now is to select your winning item in the pro shop. And this is where I leave my final tip. Go with something practical: gloves, golf balls. The last thing your wardrobe needs is another lime green shirt that you’ll want to wear in next month’s scramble.

Related: Pick three golfers to build your ultimate scramble team for $8 or less!

Your Reaction?
  • 10
  • LEGIT4
  • WOW0
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK28

Continue Reading

Podcasts

The 19th Hole: Host Michael Williams plays Shinnecock Hills and reports back

Published

on

Host Michael Williams reports on his visit to Media Day at Shinnecock Hills, the site the 2018 U.S. Open, where he played the course. How are the current conditions? He weighs in on the Unlimited Mulligan Challenge made by Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports that day, as well. Also, famed Architect David Kidd talks about how he created Bandon Dunes at the age of 25, and Steve Skinner of KemperLesnik gives his views on the health of the golf business.

Listen to the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

Your Reaction?
  • 1
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK3

Continue Reading

Podcasts

TG2: What’s it like to caddie for Rory? GolfWRX Forum Member shares his experience

Published

on

Marine and GolfWRX forum member “djfalcone” explains the story of how he got to caddie for Rory McIlroy and Johnny Vegas through the Birdies for the Brave program, and how knowledgable Rory is about his equipment. Make sure to check out his full forum thread here.

Listen to our full podcast below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

Your Reaction?
  • 17
  • LEGIT2
  • WOW0
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB1
  • SHANK4

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending