With The Players Championship now only one week away, the PGA Tour heads to Charlotte, N.C., for the Wells Fargo Championship. A full field of 156 players will try to tame Quail Hollow Club, which will host the PGA Championship in just four years.
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Rickie Fowler returns to defend the title he won last year in a three-man playoff, marking his maiden victory on Tour. Here are 10 players to watch this week in the Tar Heel State:
1. Phil Mickelson: Though he struggled in his last start at Augusta National, Mickelson's record at Quail Hollow is unrivaled. Prior to last year's T-26 finish, Lefty had posted six top-10 finishes in his last eight appearances, having never finished worse than 35th in Charlotte.
2. Webb Simpson: The reigning U.S. Open champ has ties to the Charlotte area and plenty of experience at Quail Hollow, having finished fourth last year and T-21 in 2011. Coming off a playoff loss at Harbour Town, it appears his game is rounding into form as he gets set to defend his title in June at Merion.
3. Rory McIlroy: The highest-ranked player in this week's field, McIlroy is also the only player in the Official World Golf Ranking top 10 to tee it up at Quail Hollow. The Ulsterman won here in 2010 with a Sunday 62 and lost in a playoff last year, so there's reason to think he'll have another successful week.
4. Lee Westwood: Fresh off a celebration of his 40th birthday, Westwood heads to Charlotte where he tied for fifth a year ago. The Englishman finished T-8 at the Masters in his most recent event, and has notched top-25 finishes in four of his last five starts this season.
5. Sergio Garcia: Outside of a withdrawal at Bay Hill when weather forced a Monday finish, Garcia has finished inside the top 20 in each of his five other U.S. starts this year, including a tie for eighth at Augusta National. He's playing good golf and finished T-28 here in 2011, his most recent appearance.
6. Nick Watney: Having finished eighth last year, Watney has posted top-25 results in six of eight career Quail Hollow starts, dating back to 2005. He's also in the midst of a solid season, with back-to-back top-15 finishes and only one event where he finished outside the top 50 this year.
7. Rickie Fowler: The defending champ won in thrilling fashion last year and had strong results in each of his prior two Charlotte appearances (sixth in 2010, T-16 in 2011). He's cracked the top 30 only twice in six stroke-play events since January, though, and hasn't contended since going toe-to-toe with Woods at Bay Hill.
8. Chris Kirk: A runner-up earlier this year at Pebble Beach, Kirk is quietly compiling a strong 2013 season. His tie for 21st last week at TPC Louisiana was his fourth straight top-30 finish, and Kirk currently ranks seventh on Tour in both scoring average and the all-around ranking.
9. Bill Haas: Among the Tour leaders with five top-10 finishes this season, Haas has four straight finishes inside the top 25. His record at Quail Hollow has been hit-or-miss, though, with a pair of fourth-place finishes (2006, 2011) sprinkled in among four missed cuts in nine appearances.
10. Lucas Glover: After surrendering a 54-hole lead in New Orleans, Glover heads to an event where he won in 2011 and finished second in 2009. With two other top-10 finishes in nine Charlotte appearances, the Clemson grad trails Jim Furyk by less than $35,000 on the event's all-time money list.