A STAR-STUDDED field including world number one Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods will contest this week’s Wells Fargo Championship.
The tournament — to be played at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina – is a complete sell-out, with golf fans snapping up all available tickets from Thursday to Sunday as excitement reaches mounts ahead of the PGA Tour event.
Previous winners include Lucas Glover (2011), McIlroy (2010), Woods (2007), Jim Furyk (2006) and Vijay Singh (2003), and all five will feature in the 2012 edition.
Joining them in the field are Lee Westwood, ranked third in the world, Hunter Mahan (ranked fifth) and Phil Mickelson (ranked ninth). Other players of note include Americans Keegan Bradley and Nick Watney, Australian duo Jason Day and Geoff Ogilvy and South American pair Jhonattan Vegas and Camilo Villegas.
The reason for the strength of the field is because the Players Championship in Florida — often cited as golf’s fifth major — is just around the corner. The organisers will not be able to boast about 2012 US Masters champion Bubba Watson competing though, after he pulled out a fortnight ago to spend more time with his family.
Woods’ appearance will be his first competitive outing since he tied for 40th at the US Masters at Augusta earlier this month. A break has followed his disappointing effort and the American will be looking to improve dramatically on his last performance at the event in 2010.
Woods missed the cut on that occasion, hitting the highest score of his career over 36 holes (153 shots). He is still second favourite to lift the title though, with only McIlroy fancied more by bookmakers.
Defending champion Glover struggled at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans last week, tying for 66th, and his chances of repeating his 2011 victory look unlikely. The winner of the tournament will have to putt well, with players to be presented with a series of holes offering birdies opportunities.
Low scores would not be a surprise but those who do go low will have to combine an excellent short game with solid driving off the tee.