Weir Returns to Action Tour Returns to Charlotte

By Golf Channel NewsroomMay 5, 2003, 4:00 pm
The PGA Tour returns to Charlotte, N.C., for the first time in 24 years, for the inaugural Wachovia Championship.
An impressive field will be on hand at Quail Hollow Club.
Mike Weir is set to make his first start since winning the Masters Tournament, four weeks ago. He is joined by Masters runner-up Len Mattiace, three-time 2003 winner Davis Love III, Shell Houston champion Fred Couples, Phoenix Open champ Vijay Singh, David Toms, Charles Howell III and Nick Price.
Weir has been a wanted man since donning the green jacket. He dropped the ceremonial puck at a Toronto Maple Leafs playoff game, received a signed basketball at a Utah Jazz game, and even had a street named after him in Draper, Utah, where he lives.
'It's been busy, but it's been a real good busy the last three weeks,' said Weir, who added he hadn't played a full 18 holes until Tuesday's practice round.
The lefthanded Canadian, who turns 33 Monday, will try and shake off the rust this week. He said he expects to play next week's Byron Nelson Classic and the Memorial before the U.S. Open.
Tiger Woods contemplated playing in Charlotte ' which would have been his first event since a disappointing tie for 15th at Augusta National ' but decided last week to remain on the sidelines.
This is the first of two maiden tournaments on the 2003 tour schedule, and Woods will be certain to attend the second one. The Deutsche Bank Championship, which will benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation, will take place Aug. 29 ' Sept. 1 at the TPC of Boston.
This is the first time since 2000 that the tour has introduced a new event. The 84 Lumber Classic of Pennsylvania (formerly the SEI Pennsylvania Classic) and the Chrysler Championship (formerly the Tampa Bay Classic) debuted that season.
But unlike those tournaments, which offered second-tier purses, the Wachovia Championship is handing out $5.6 million, with $1,008,000 going to the winner.
Quail Hollow is no stranger to professional competition. It hosted the Kemper Open from 1969 to 1979, as well as a Champions Tour event, last known as The Home Depot Invitational, from 1980 to 88.
This, however, is a far different course than the one PGA Tour players competed on over two decades ago. Tom Fazio, in Sept. 1997, reconstructed the par-72 course with the length extending to 7,396 yards. The clubhouse was even renovated in July 2000, as well as the practice facility, in Spring 2001.
But, if history is any indication, expect past major champions to contend this week.
During Quail Hollows 11-year stretch at the Kemper, Raymond Floyd (1975) and Tom Weiskopf (1971, 77) won, while 13 past or future major winners finished runner-up.
The silver-medal list includes Lee Trevino (twice), Gary Player (twice), Weiskopf (twice), Andy North, Jerry Pate, Lou Graham, Lanny Wadkins, John Mahaffey, Bill Rogers and Mark Hayes.
Player extracted a bit of revenge on the course when he hit the senior circuit. He won the PaineWebber World Seniors Invitational in 1987. Peter Thomson and Gene Littler, both of who won majors on the regular tour, also prevailed at Quail Hollow on the Champions Tour.
Ironically, Doug Sanders, who twice finished runner-up in the British Open, is the only player to win at Quail Hollow on both tours. He won the Kemper in 1972 and the World Seniors Invitational in 83.
There are 23 past major winners in this weeks field.
Related Links
  • PGA Tour Statistical Preview
  • Full coverage of the Wachovia Championship
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    Ortiz takes Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x