Wells Fargo Championship
We discuss being punished by the golf gods, John Smoltz's debacle of a debut and of course, this week's PGA Tour event at Quail Hollow
Wells Fargo Championship
Where: Charlotte, N.C.
Course: Quail Hollow Club
Defending champion: Rory McIlroy shot a final-round 62 to beat Phil Mickelson by four shots.
This Week's Fix Six
2. Jim Furyk
3. Bubba Watson
4. Rory McIlroy
5. Bill Haas
6. Rickie Fowler
Welcome to another edition of Fantasy Fix, where we're always careful not to offend the golf gods. It's too bad Webb Simpson's ball "inexplicably" moved on the 15th green in the final round, but did he really think he'd get away without being punished for using a belly putter while still in his mid-20s? In the future, we promise to consider such things more carefully. Here's what else is on our mind for this week's tournament.
The PGA Tour heads to Charlotte for one of its biggest non-majors of the year, the Wells Fargo Championship. Formerly the Wachovia Championship and last year simply the Quail Hollow Championship, the event has become a big date on the calendar in a relatively short amount of time thanks to a great golf course (chosen as the site of the 2017 PGA Championship) and the usual presence of Tiger Woods. At least this year, with Woods sidelined with injuries, the golf course will still be there.
Random tournament fact: Wells Fargo's logo is an old-time western stagecoach. That could also be the PGA Tour's new emblem for its "slow-play Sundays" when players like Simpson, J.B. Holmes and Kevin Na are in contention.
Rory McIlroy. It was at this event last year when the title of the next great golfer was passed to Rory McIlroy by any golf writer with a computer or typewriter. McIlroy shot a final-round 62 to blitz a field of contenders, including Phil Mickelson, who was fresh off his latest Masters win. McIlroy would go on to claim his own green jacket this year... oh wait, never mind. Actually, he hasn't won anything since, though he has done enough to still be ranked sixth in the world so he's a good candidate to defend his title. As long as he's coming from behind on Sunday, of course.
RIDE THE HOT HAND
Bubba Watson. His win in New Orleans has many experts calling him the best American golfer. We're not going to go that far just yet, but he has definitely entered the conversation. Watson finished runner-up here in 2009 to Sean O'Hair (remember him?) and was T-22 last year despite a final-round 74.
ONE OUT OF TWO AIN'T BAD
Tiger is missing this event due to injury, but the game's other marquee name, Phil Mickelson, will be in action. Lefty has never won here, but he has five top 10s in seven trips, including a runner-up last year. For that, we will also dub him our stud of the week. Phil, go ahead and celebrate with a Krispy Kreme donut -- or two.
FORMER CHAMP TO PLAY
Jim Furyk. The Grinder has been fantastic in this event, winning in 2006, finishing runner-up in 2005 and being T-11 or better in each of the past three years. Furyk hasn't been exactly been tearing it up in 2011, but his track record here is too good to overlook.
FORMER CHAMP TO STAY AWAY FROM
Anthony Kim. We've been down this road before. Tony K still has to prove he's made it all the way back from the surgery he had on his thumb last year. He's shown glimpses of it, but he's also had moments where he's looked about as out of place as John Smoltz at a Nationwide Tour event. OK, so that's a little harsh.
FAN MAIL BREAK
"Hey, Alex. Thanks for picking me as a stud last week and sorry I let you down with a final-round 73. I'll try to do close things out better next time. Sincerely, Charles Howell III."
Thanks for the e-mail, Sticks. Sunday was disappointing, but overall, I can't complain about a T-13. You have a little work to do before you get back into my circle of trust, but you'll get there. No, Howell didn't write, but that shouldn't stop you. Please feel free to e-mail me with comments, questions or just to make fun of my picks. And of course, you can follow me on Twitter.