While Quail Hollow annually hosts golf’s best during the Wells Fargo Championship, the course has a different hosting capacity in 2017, as the Wanamaker Trophy visits its cozy Carolina confines. Though Quail Hollow has undergone renovations for the PGA Championship, the general layout and integrity of the course remain intact, and if past Wells Fargo events are any indication, fans are in for a treat.
For, unlike many venues, Quail Hollow doesn’t cater to one attribute or trait. Yes, distance correlates to success in Charlotte, with bombers like Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, and J.B. Holmes grabbing titles here. But, more than most tracks, emphasis is placed on approach shots, which is why Jim Furyk, Rickie Fowler and Lucas Glover are among the winners’ club.
One facet that won’t be stressed is the short game. The Charlotte area has already been inundated with rain, and the weekly forecast calls for more of the same until Saturday. As such, don’t expect the greens to put forth much of a fight, a sentiment that could lead to plenty of red numbers across the leader board.
It’s no surprise, then, that Professor Lou’s Model top two picks are Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy. Though putting can be this duo’s Achilles’ heel, the Model believes their driving dexterity makes them the favorites. Other power hitters in the professor’s picks include Jon Rahm, Jason Day, Adam Scott, and Brooks Koepka. Second-shot savants like Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson are also in Professor Lou’s selections, but his Model is betting on the long ball, and betting big.
Our expert, however, believes the tournament will be won with irons, not the big stick, evidenced in his picks of Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, Xander Schauffele, Kevin Kisner and Brian Harman. Though some of these competitors have the faculty to dazzle off the tee, it’s their ability to make the flagstick dance that garners our attention. Keep particular attention to Matsuyama, coming off a win in Akron. The flat stick has kept Matsuyama from his major breakthrough, but with the aforementioned wet conditions – along with a new putter in his bag that brought dividends at the WGC-Bridgestone – things seem to be lining up for the 26-year-old star.
Check out the projections from the professor and expert, and play with the tool below to make your own picks for the PGA Championship!