Wells Fargo Championship Primer: History, TV, Field, Odds

Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club
Max Homa swings on the 13th tee during the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club on May 5, 2019 in Charlotte, NC. (Photo by Ben Jared PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

After stops in New Orleans and Tampa, the PGA Tour stays in the NFC South as it heads north to Charlotte for the 18th edition of the Wells Fargo Championship.

Contested at acclaimed Quail Hollow Club, the field this week will feature six of the world’s top-10 ranked players, including world No. 2 Justin Thomas, No. 3 Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele (4), Bryson DeChambeau (5), Patrick Reed (7), and Webb Simpson (9).

Max Homa will return to defend his 2019 title and will be joined by several former Wells Fargo winners such as Jason Day (2018), Rory McIlroy (2015), and Rickie Fowler (2012).

Other familiar names include Phil Mickelson, Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson, and Francesco Molinari.

As we do each week, here’s a round up of information and historical data to get you prepped for a weekend of golf in North Carolina.

2021 Wells Fargo Championship

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The Wells Fargo Skinny

Wells Fargo Championship Flag
A detailed view of the pin ahead of the Pro-Am for the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club on May 2, 2018 in Charlotte, NC. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Name: Wells Fargo Championship
Title Sponsor: Wells Fargo
Tour Debut: 2003
First Name: Wachovia Championship
Dates: May 6-9, 2021
Where: Charlotte, N.C.
Course: Quail Hollow Club
Distance: Par 71, 7554 yards
Architect: George Cobb, Tom Fazio
Format: 72-holes, Stroke play
Field: 144 Players (36-hole cut)
Purse: $8,100,000
Winning Share: $1,458,000
FedExCup/OWGR Pts: 500/64
Defending Champion: Max Homa

How to Follow the Wells Fargo Championship

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy watches his tee shot on the 16th hole during the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club on May 2, 2019 in Charlotte, NC. (Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

TELEVISION: Thu-Fri: 2-6 p.m. (GOLF); Sat-Sun: 1-3 p.m. (GOLF), 3-6 p.m. (CBS)

PGA TOUR LIVE: Thu-Fri: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. (Groups); Sat-Sun: 8 a.m.-3 p.m. (Groups), 3-6 p.m. (Holes)
Watch on Prime Video

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Wells Fargo Championship History

Quail Hollow Club
Fans gather by the 2nd hole during the third round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club on May 4, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Ben Jared PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

The Wells Fargo Championship is a relatively young tournament, with the inaugural tournament (then called the Wachovia Championship) teeing off in 2003.

Traditionally held in early May as part of the Tour’s swing through the southeastern states that are contested between the Masters and the U.S. Open, the first event winner was David Toms, who at 10-under par, won by two shots. Each of the next three editions were decided by playoffs.

Notable champions include Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Rickie Fowler.

McIlroy is the only two-time winner – taking the 2010 and 2015 titles. In that 2010 victory, McIlroy made the cut on the number and then exploded on the weekend, shooting 66-62 to win by four strokes over Phil Mickelson.

Quail Hollow Club is a famously difficult course, highlighted by a brutal finishing stretch (Nos. 16, 17, and 18) referred to as the “Green Mile.”

History: Tournament Names
  • Wells Fargo Championship (2011-21)
  • Quail Hollow Championship (2009-10)
  • Wachovia Championship (2003-08)
History: Recent Winners

2019: Max Homa (-15)
2018: Jason Day (-12)
2017: Brian Harman (-10)
2016: James Hahn (-9)
2015: Rory McIlroy (-21)
2014: J.B. Holmes (-14)
2013: Derek Ernst (-8)
2012: Rickie Fowler (-14)

History: Tournament Records

2 – Rory McIlroy (2015, 2010)

267 (-21) Rory McIlroy (2004)

The Course: Quail Hollow Club

Quail Hollow Club
Jason Day walks the 13th hole during the third round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club on May 5, 2018 in Charlotte, NC. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Quail Hollow Club is considered one of the top golf courses in the United States. It was originally laid out by noted golf course architect George Cobb in 1961, and in the intervening years, the course has undergone a series of improvements, including modifications to several holes by Arnold Palmer in 1986, a redesign by Tom Fazio in 1997 and further modifications by Fazio in the summer of 2016 in preparation for the 2017 PGA Championship.

Located in Charlotte, North Carolina, the course’s elevation is approximately 600 feet above sea level. It is part of an extensive real estate/housing development.

From 1969-1979, it played host to the PGA Tour’s (now defunct) Kemper Open, and since 2003, the club annually hosts the Wells Fargo Championship. In 2017, it hosted its first major – the PGA Championship. In 2021, it will host Presidents Cup matches.

The par-71 course measures 7,600 yards during championship play, and is considered one of the most challenging tracks on the PGA Tour circuit.

Wells Fargo Defending Champion

Max Homa Wins 2019 Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club
Max Homa celebrates as he sinks the winning putt on the 18th green during the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club on May 5, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

Max Homa shot a final-round 67 at Quail Hollow Club to claim his maiden PGA Tour title at the Wells Fargo Championship.

Homa finished his final day in Charlotte, North Carolina with five birdies against one bogey to reach 15-under par, three clear of runner-up Joel Dahmen.

Final Top-5 Finishers

Pos-Player-Score (Final Rd)
1. Max Homa -15(-4)
2. Joel Dahmen -12 (-1)
3. Justin Rose -11 (-3)
4. Rickie Fowler -9 (-3)
4. Sergio Garcia -9 (-3)
4. Paul Casey -9 (-2)
4. Jason Dufner -9 (+2)

Wells Fargo Championship Field

Justin Thomas Wins The PLAYERS Championship
Justin Thomas plays his shot from the 15th tee during the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on March 14, 2021 in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The top-ranked player in the field is No. 2 Justin Thomas, who won earlier this season at The Players Championship. Thomas is having a very solid year, particularly ranking wise but has not really been in contention anywhere other than that win at Sawgrass.

We should see more top 5s and 10s from JT. Instead we are getting back door top 15s, where he’s out of it after the first or second round, but then goes low on Saturday to move into the top 20 or so, but is so far out of it, he’s just playing for positioning.

Of note: JT won the 2017 PGA Championship – his only major – at Quail Hollow Club.

Two-time Wells Fargo winner Rory McIlroy will be another top betting favorite despite being in the midst of his worst career slump. The soon to be 32-year old (May 4) has not won since late 2019, and has sandwiched a T28 between two missed cuts in his last three starts. It will be his first start since a disappointing missed cut at the Masters.

Max Homa
Max Homa lines up a putt on the eighth green during the final round of The Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club on February 21, 2021 in Pacific Palisades, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Defending champ Max Homa, though, enters in good form, having posted a win (Riviera), T10 at Bay Hill, and T6 (last week’s Valspar) in his last seven starts.

This year’s field also includes 2012 Wells Fargo winner Rickie Fowler, who enters in terrible form. A fixture in the world top 10 for years, Fowler fell off the map in late 2019. Now ranked 116th, the 32 year old, though, couldn’t pick a better place than Quail Hollow to turn around his floundering career. In his last three appearances at the iconic Carolina course, he’s posted T4, T21, T4.

World No. 4 Xander Schauffele also makes his first start since throwing a potential green jacket into the water on 16. In two starts at Quail Hollow, Schauffele has missed the cut (2017 PGA) and finished T72 (2018 Wells Fargo).

Bryson DeChambeau also tees it up for the first time since the Masters. The world No. 5 enters off back to back poor performances (T42, T46) but his game should fit well at Quail Hollow.

Rickie Fowler Patrick Reed
Patrick Reed lines up a putt as Rickie Fowler looks on on the 17th green during round two of THE PLAYERS Championship at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium course on May 8, 2015 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (Photo by Richard Heathcote via Getty Images)

Patrick Reed is another top name who is a horse for this week’s course. The 30-year old Texan has posted T28 (2019 WFC), 8th (2018 WFC), and T2 (2017 PGA) in his last three starts at Quail Hollow.

Other top-ranked names include Jon Rahm (3), Webb Simpson (9), Viktor Hovland (11), Patrick Cantlay (12), Tony Finau (13), Sungjae Im (19), Harris English (23), Abraham Ancer (26), Tommy Fleetwood (27), Will Zalatrois (28), and Joaquin Niemann (30).

One sleeper pick may be Francesco Molinari. The 2018 Open winner went into a funk after blowing the 2019 Masters Tournament, and then that funk turned into a career tailspin with the whole COVID interruption. But the Italian did post three top 10s early in the year on the west coast, and played really well at Quail Hollow during the 2017 PGA, finishing T2, two strokes back of Thomas.

Top-10 Betting Favorites
1. Justin Thomas (11/1)
1. Jon Rahm (11/1)
3. Bryson DeChambeau (14/1)
4. Rory McIlroy (18/1)
4. Xander Schauffele (18/1)
6. Viktor Hovland (20/1)
7. Webb Simpson (25/1)
8. Patrick Cantlay (28/1)
8. Patrick Reed (28/1)
8. Tony Finau (28/1)

The Road to the Wells Fargo Championship

Shane Lowry Wins 148th Open Championship
Ireland’s Shane Lowry celebrates winning The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 21, 2019 in Northern Ireland. Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images

How The Field Qualified for the 2021 Wells Fargo Championship

Winner: U.S. Open
Bryson DeChambeau (2020)
Gary Woodland (2019)

Winner: PGA Championship
Justin Thomas (2017)
Jimmy Walker (2016)
Jason Day (2015)

Winner: Masters Tournament
Patrick Reed (2018)

Winner: The Open Championship
Shane Lowry (2019)
Francesco Molinari (2018)
Zach Johnson (2015)

Winner: THE PLAYERS Championship
Rory McIlroy (2019)
Webb Simpson (2018)
Rickie Fowler (2015)

Winner: TOUR Championship
Xander Schauffele (2017)

Winner: WGC Event
Bubba Watson (2018 Match Play)
Phil Mickelson (2018 Mexico)

Winner: Invitational Event
Max Homa (2021 Genesis)
Jon Rahm (2020 Memorial)
Patrick Cantlay (2018 Memorial)
Jason Dufner (2017 Memorial)
Invitationals: Genesis Arnold Palmer, Memorial

Tournament Winners Exempted
Ryan Armour (2017 Sanderson)
Keegan Bradley (2018 BMW)
Stewart Cink (2020 Safeway)
Corey Conners (2019 Valero)
Austin Cook (2017 RSM)
Joel Dahmen (2021 Corales)
Tyler Duncan (2019 RSM)
Harris English (2021 Sentry)
Brice Garnett (2018 Corales)
Lanto Griffin (2019 Houston)
Jim Herman (2019 Wyndham)
J.B. Holmes (2019 Genesis)
Viktor Hovland (2020 Puerto Rico)
Charles Howell III (2018 RSM)
Sungjae Im (2020 Honda)
Matt Jones (2021 Honda)
Sung Kang (2019 Byron Nelson)
Michael Kim (2018 John Deere)
Patton Kizzire (2018 Sony)
Russell Knox (2017 HSBC)
Satoshi Kodaira (2018 RBC)
Nate Lashley (2019 Rocket)
Adam Long (2019 Desert)
Troy Merritt (2018 Barbasol)
Keith Mitchell (2019 Honda)
Sebastián Muñoz
Joaquin Niemann (2019 Greenbrier)
Carlos Ortiz (2020 Houston)
Cheng Tsung Pan (2018 RBC Heritage)
Pat Perez (2019 CIMB)
Scott Piercy (2018 Zurich)
J.T. Poston (2019 Wyndham)
Ted Potter, Jr. (2018 Pebble)
Ian Poulter (2018 Houston)
Andrew Putnam (2018 Barracuda)
Chez Reavie (2019 Travelers)
Brendan Steele (2017 Safeway)
Robert Streb (2020 RSM)
Nick Taylor (2020 Pebble)
Michael Thompson (2020 3M Open)
Brendon Todd (2019 Bermuda)
Martin Trainer (2019 Puerto Rico)
Kevin Tway (2018 Safeway)
Richy Werenski (2020 Barracuda)
Aaron Wise (2018 Byron Nelson)

Career Money Exemption
K.J. Choi
Luke Donald
Hunter Mahan
Bo Van Pelt

Sponsors Exemptions
Rafa Cabrera Bello (1)
Johnson Wagner (2)
Will Zalatoris (2)
Akshay Bhatia (3)
Bill Haas (3)
Ben Martin (3)
Camilo Villegas (3)

PGA Section Champion
Cory Schneider

Past Wells Fargo Champions
James Hahn (2016)
Brian Harman (2017)
Who are otherwise not exempt.

Life Member Exemption
Davis Love III

Top 125 Prior Season FEC
Mackenzie Hughes
Tony Finau
Abraham Ancer
Kevin Streelman
Byeong Hun An
Mark Hubbard
Danny Lee
Tom Hoge
Adam Hadwin
Harry Higgs
Russell Henley
Talor Gooch
Robby Shelton
Maverick McNealy
Doc Redman
Denny McCarthy
Henrik Norlander
Xinjun Zhang
Sepp Straka
Harold Varner III
Cameron Tringale
Cameron Davis
Vaughn Taylor
Patrick Rodgers
Brian Stuard
Tommy Fleetwood
Emiliano Grillo
Kyoung-Hoon Lee
Scott Harrington
Matthew NeSmith
Ryan Moore
Sam Ryder
Adam Schenk
Wyndham Clark
Scott Brown
Beau Hossler
Lucas Glover
Luke List
Scott Stallings
Rory Sabbatini
Tom Lewis
Bo Hoag
William Gordon*
Erik van Rooyen*
* Top 125 (Nonmember)

Major Medical Extension
Charl Schwartzel
Sean O’Hair
Jamie Lovemark
John Huh
Seung-Yul Noh
Kelly Kraft
Jonas Blixt
D.A. Points

Top 125 FEC (2018-19)/Top Korn Ferry Tour
Peter Malnati
Tyler McCumber
Brandon Hagy
Chase Seiffert
Kyle Stanley
Matt Wallace
Jhonattan Vegas
Cameron Percy
Rafael Campos
Michael Gligic
Kristoffer Ventura
Chesson Hadley
Kramer Hickok
Roger Sloan
Vincent Whaley
David Hearn
Joseph Bramlett
Rob Oppenheim
Hank Lebioda
Bronson Burgoon

Carey Hoffman contributed to this report.


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