CHARLOTTE – Tiger Woods has opted to skip the 2019 Wells Fargo Championship but there is still plenty of star power in the field May 2 to 5 at Quail Hollow Club.
One of the most popular groups to follow on Thursday and Friday will be the trio of Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler and Charlotte resident and Quail Hollow member Webb Simpson. They will tee off May 2 at 12:40 p.m. off No. 1 and on May 3 the group tees of at No. 10 at 7:30 a.m.
Fowler won his first PGA Tour event at the Wells Fargo Championship in 2012 and he won the Phoenix Open earlier this season. Last year’s FedEx Cup champion Rose, who won the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this season, has finished in the top five in his last two starts at the Wells Fargo Championship (2014, 2016). Simpson, who won the 2017 Players Championship, finished tied for fifth at the Masters in early April.
Rose skipped the Wells Fargo last year and last played the course during the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow, which was renovated for the event.
“It’s a golf course that I like. It’s a venue that I like,” Rose said. “It’s a town I really enjoy being in. The first few holes are shuffled around a little bit, I would say I’m still learning them, I suppose. I only played it in the PGA with the changes, and that wasn’t a particularly good week for me.
“I’m trying to understand where to attack and where to defend a little bit on this golf course. The start is very different.”
Rose said he is looking forward to playing with Fowler and Simpson.
“I’m pretty familiar with their games, and more importantly, they are both great guys to play with,” Rose said. “Easy going guys out there on the course.”
Rory McIlroy, Tony Finau and Sergio Garcia will also be playing together the first two days. They tee off No. 1 at 12:50 p.m. May 2 and off No. 10 at 7:40 a.m. the following day.
McIlroy, winner of The Players Championship in March, is the only two-time winner of the Wells Fargo Championship (2010 and 2015) and ranks third in the FedEx Cup standings.
Finau finished tied for fifth at the Masters, his fourth top 10 in his last five major starts. Garcia, who returns to the Wells Fargo Championship for the first time since 2013, has four top 10 finishes in eight starts this season, including a runner-up with partner Tommy Fleetwood at last week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Gastonia resident Harold Varner III will be paired with Phil Mickelson and Jason Day the first two days. They will tee off May 2 at 7:40 a.m. off No. 10 and then again on May 3 at 12:50 p.m. off of No. 1.
Mickelson has been in the top five eight times in 15 Wells Fargo Championship starts but is looking for first title.
The Wells Fargo Championship is one of seven PGA Tour events Mickelson has played 15-plus times without a victory. Day is the defending champion of the Wells Fargo Championship.
Varner said he is “really bummed” that Woods is not in the field.
“I’m pissed,” Varner said with a smile. “I like the crowds. I like the people he brings. Oh, yeah, I was supposed to play with him. Yeah, I was bummed. I gave him a good text, but he hasn’t replied yet.”
Charlotte resident Seamus Power enters the event on a roll. Power finished in fifth place at last week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans and he took sixth at the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, S.C. two weeks ago. Power has earned almost $400,000 the last two weeks, pushing his season total to $540,000.
Charlotte residents Mackenzie Hughes, Johnson Wagner and Matthew Goggin are also in the field. Goggin punched his ticket into the event by finishing in the top four at Monday’s qualifier at the Gaston Country Club.
A look at top tournament winners competing at the Wells Fargo Championship.
PGA/U.S. Open Championship
THE PLAYERS Championship
The Open Championship
World Golf Championships
Arnold Palmer Invitational (last 3 years)