Fact Pack: Wells Fargo Championship

By Will GrayMay 1, 2012, 8:30 pm

Now only one week from the Players Championship, an elite field heads to Charlotte to take on one of the more difficult tests on Tour - Quail Hollow Club. Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson are all in the field with the goal of conquering the 'Green Mile' before heading to TPC Sawgrass, but this is also the type of tournament - and field - that can provide a huge boost to a second-tier player should he walk away with the trophy on Sunday. With that in mind, here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title and help your Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge team in the process:

Few players in the field can match the combination of recent form and Quail Hollow track record of Jim Furyk. Champion here in 2006, Furyk has finished in the top 11 in five of his last seven starts in this event. Meanwhile, he has not finished outside the top 11 on Tour in nearly two months, a span of four events dating back to his playoff loss to Luke Donald at the Transitions Championship. Furyk also leads the Tour in driving accuracy, which should help him navigate a course whose fairways consistently rank among the most difficult to hit. 

• Quail Hollow places a clear emphasis on the play conducted on and around its greens. In 2011, only one player in the top 10 on the final leaderboard finished the week in the top 10 in greens hit in regulation. By contrast, eight golfers who finished T-9 or better for the week were in the top 10 in putts per round, including playoff participants Lucas Glover and Jonathan Byrd who finished third and second, respectively, in putts per round for the week.

• Making his first start since finishing runner-up in San Antonio, John Huh continues his campaign for Rookie of the Year in Charlotte. Huh now has three top-15 finishes this year to go along with his win at Mayakoba, and he currently ranks 12th on Tour in both driving accuracy and the all-around ranking.

Phil Mickelson has the best history at this event of any player without a Wells Fargo trophy to his credit. Lefty has finished outside the top 12 only once in eight career starts here, and he currently leads the Tour in scrambling - a stat that will come in handy around the tricky greens of Quail Hollow this week. In his first start since a T-3 finish at Augusta, there is reason to think Mickelson will contend for his second victory of 2012.

• Defending champion Lucas Glover returns to a course where he has had great success with the hope of getting his 2012 season on track. His T-66 finish last week at Zurich is his best showing so far this year, but Glover's Quail Hollow resume includes three top-10 finishes in addition to his win last year. Glover's ball-striking has seen a precipitous decline this year; where he ranked 55th on Tour in total driving and 82nd in greens in regulation percentage during 2011, he now ranks 182nd and 172nd in each respective category for 2012.

• If looking for Group 3 sleepers, you may want to consider Chris Stroud. The Texas native has posted five top-24 finishes in his last six starts dating back to February and currently ranks in the top 20 on Tour in scrambling (4th), strokes gained putting (16th) and scoring average (16th).

Lee Westwood may have to devote some of his pre-tournament prep time this week to finding someone to carry his bag. Per reports Wednesday, his regular caddie Billy Foster injured his knee on Tuesday during a game of football and will likely be sidelined several weeks.

The middle leg of Quail Hollow's famed 'Green Mile,' the par-3 17th hole, will have a different look for the field this week. After ranking among the more difficult par-3 holes on Tour the last few years, tournament organizers coalesced to player input and decided to use the member tee on the hole for each of the four days of competition. This will allow for a more direct angle of attack over the water toward the green, which should help lower scores from their prior historical levels.

**Don't forget to join Fantasy Expert Rob Bolton for a live golf chat Wednesday at 12:00p ET at www.rotoworld.com** 


Tune in to Golf Channel Thursday-Friday from 3-6PM ET for live coverage of the Wells Fargo Championship.

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Woods talks about Ryder Cup prospects in third person

By Ryan LavnerAugust 21, 2018, 1:47 pm

Conversations between Jim Furyk and Tiger Woods have gotten a little awkward.

That’s what happens when Woods, the U.S. Ryder Cup vice captain, needs to assess the prospects of Woods, the player.

“We’re talking about myself in the third person a lot,” he said with a chuckle Tuesday at the Northern Trust Open. “That’s one of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever had and I’m having a lot of fun with it.

“I’m one of the guys on the short list, and sometimes I have to pull myself out of there and talk about myself in the third person, which is a little odd.”


The Northern Trust: Articles, photos and videos


After placing second at the PGA Championship, Woods finished 11th on the U.S. points list with just eight months of tournament results. Three of Furyk’s four captain’s picks will be announced after the BMW Championship in three weeks, and barring a late injury, it’s almost a certainty that Woods will be one of those selected.

Still, Woods was named in February as an assistant for his third consecutive team competition, even though he told Furyk at the beginning of the year that he envisioned himself as a player on the 2018 squad.

“I’m very close to making that happen,” he said. “It’s been a long year, and that’s been one of my goals, to make the team. To be a part of that team you have to be one of the 12 best players, and I’m trending toward that.”

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Woods on busy schedule: 'It's about pacing myself'

By Ryan LavnerAugust 21, 2018, 1:34 pm

At the beginning of the year, Tiger Woods was anxious to see how his fused back would hold up to tournament play.

Now he’s in the midst of one of his busiest stretches in years.

With the Tour Championship and Ryder Cup likely to be added to his schedule over the next few weeks, Woods could play seven events in a nine-week span.


The Northern Trust: Articles, photos and videos


“That is a lot of golf,” he said Tuesday at The Northern Trust. “It’s about pacing myself and making sure I don’t practice too much, don’t overdo it and make sure my training schedule goes well.

“One of the hardest things this year has been finding the right balance. As the summer has gone on, I’ve gotten better and felt better. This is a pretty important stretch.”

Woods has already played 14 events – his most since 2013, when he had 16 starts.

He’s committed to playing the first three playoff events, beginning with this week’s event in New Jersey. There’s a week off after the BMW Championship, and at No. 20 in the FedExCup standings, Woods doesn’t need to do much to punch his ticket to East Lake. He’s also virtually assured of being a U.S. captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup, held in France the week after the Tour Championship.

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Tiger Tracker: The Northern Trust

By Tiger TrackerAugust 21, 2018, 1:00 pm

Tiger Woods begins his FedExCup Playoffs run at this week's Northern Trust. We're tracking him at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J.


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Stock Watch: Will Bjorn buy or sell slumping Sergio?

By Ryan LavnerAugust 21, 2018, 12:07 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Sneds (+9%): It doesn’t always happen, a Tour player shooting 59 and then finishing it off with a W, so it was satisfying to watch Brandt Snedeker go wire to wire at the Wyndham. An in-form Sneds now should edge out Kevin Kisner for one of Jim Furyk’s final captain picks.

Viktor Hovland (+6%): Watching the Oklahoma State junior maul the field at the U.S. Amateur, a question arose: How does the fifth-ranked player in the world not win more often? The U.S. Am was just his second title, anywhere, outside of Norway. That could all change, after he proved to himself that he could handle the best field and the stiffest challenge.

Lexi (+4%): She once again was penalized – for playing preferred lies in a different fairway – but Thompson still shot 17 under and tied for 12th in her first start since a self-imposed break to recharge her batteries. In the media tent she was refreshingly honest about the difficulties of being a 23-year-old superstar who never went to college and whose life is consumed by golf. Here’s hoping she can find a better balance (like, say, Michelle Wie) over the next few years.

Tyler McCumber (+3%): The world rankings don’t reflect it, but McCumber is playing the best golf of anyone in the world right now. In his past four starts on the Canadian circuit, he’s gone win-win-3rd-win and shot 90 under par with a scoring average of 65.88 and just two rounds higher than 68.

Nick Taylor (+1%): Playing for his Tour card, Taylor shot a bogey-free 63 Sunday at the Wyndham – with an eagle and birdie in his last four holes – to jump from 129th to 119th in the standings. That’s clutch.


FALLING

Billy Hurley III (-1%): A winner two years ago at Tiger’s event, Hurley is now headed back to second stage of Web.com Q-School after finishing 201st in the standings – by a point. A tough break for one of the game’s good dudes.

Kevin Stadler (-2%): He reminded us of the dangers of slamming clubs, after the head of his 7-iron flew off and struck a spectator in the head, requiring stitches. It was a scary scene – “It’s been a while since I’ve seen so much blood,” said playing partner Shaun Micheel – that could have been even worse.

Sepp Straka (-3%): There were plenty of stories of heartbreak at the Web.com Tour regular-season finale, perhaps none as crushing as Straka, who went 5 over for his last seven holes (including three consecutive bogeys to finish) to drop outside of the top-25 bubble.

Sergio (-4%): At last, some signs of life – his tie for 24th in Greensboro was his best finish on Tour since March – but he still didn’t make the playoffs, and it still might not be enough to sway Thomas Bjorn. For the captain it may come down to a question like this: Who would you rather have in Paris, Sergio or Russell Knox?