The First Look: Wells Fargo Championship

By Fly Pin High |
May 4, 2023

Returns to Quail Hollow Club for Designated event, after 2022 iteration was contested at TPC Potomac

No player has ever defended a title at the Wells Fargo Championship.

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Max Homa, however, has proven he’s got the mettle to do exactly that as the PGA TOUR returns to Charlotte – and this time, for a Designated event.

This season’s Wells Fargo Championship heads back to Quail Hollow Club after a one-year detour to TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm, as the usual Charlotte host club was preparing for the Presidents Cup last season. Homa will look to defend his title this year after a two-shot victory in 2022. He also won this tournament in 2019, at Quail Hollow, by three.

Homa, twice a winner already this season (he defended his title at the Fortinet Championship before capturing the Farmers Insurance Open in January), wasn’t just part of that Presidents Cup team at Quail Hollow – he was one of the top performers of the American side.

“I care about nothing more than making that Presidents Cup team,” Homa said after his victory at the Wells Fargo Championship a year ago. He ended up going 4-0-0 and provided an emotional spark, too.

Now Homa returns to a golf course – and a tournament – that he’s ultra-comfortable at. He sits third in the FedExCup standings and is seventh in the world – career highs, both.

This is a big golf course and a big stage, with the event’s purse up to $20 million as a Designated event and plenty of the world’s best nipping at his heels for their own chance to win this event.

Homa is up to the challenge to try to make a little history this week, however.

“As I started to establish myself on this TOUR when I won this event in 2019, I definitely knew I was capable of being a regular PGA TOUR player,” Homa said a year ago in his winner’s press conference, “but all of a sudden last year I get in the top-50 in the world and you start looking around and it’s a new crop of people and you start thinking to yourself, ‘Am I as good as these guys?’”

Hard to argue the answer isn’t ‘yes.’

FIELD NOTES: Rory McIlroy returns to action for the first time since missing the cut at the Masters. McIlroy is a three-time winner at the Wells Fargo Championship, including 2021, the last time it was at Quail Hollow … Tony Finau heads to North Carolina after capturing his sixth TOUR title at the Mexico Open at Vidanta … As Max Homa defends, his Zurich Classic of New Orleans partner Collin Morikawa will tee it up at the Wells Fargo Championship for the first time … Jordan Spieth is making his first start at the Wells Fargo Championship since 2013. Spieth was 5-0-0 at the Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow last September and the top point earner for the American side … Hideki Matsuyama will miss the Wells Fargo Championship as he continues to battle a neck injury. He returned to Japan for treatment … Justin Thomas returns to Quail Hollow where he won the 2017 PGA Championship … Matt Fitzpatrick, who made his tournament debut last year and finished tied for second, will play in Charlotte for the first time. He finished tied for 10th at the Masters before winning the RBC Heritage … Eight past champions are in the field.

SPONSOR EXEMPTIONS: Akshay Bhatia is back in action on the PGA TOUR. He earned Special Temporary Membership earlier this year and finished solo fourth at the Mexico Open at Vidanta, playing in Sunday’s final grouping alongside Jon Rahm and eventual winner Tony Finau … Another newly minted Special Temporary Member, Ryan Gerard, is teeing it up. Gerard had a special run earlier this season including a fourth-place finish at The Honda Classic. He missed the cut at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans alongside University of North Carolina teammate Ben Griffin, but he found the weekend at the Mexico Open … Two APGA players, Marcus Byrd and Quinn Riley, will be in the field. Byrd received the Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption into The Genesis Invitational earlier this season and won the APGA Farmers Insurance Invitational at Torrey Pines to get into The Honda Classic – marking back-to-back TOUR starts. Byrd, 25, is a three-time winner on the APGA Tour. This is his fourth PGA TOUR start … Riley, Duke University’s first Black golfer, was first in the 2021-22 APGA Collegiate Ranking. This will be his third PGA TOUR start … Current University of North Carolina standout Austin Greaser will make his third TOUR start. Greaser is No. 3 on the PGA TOUR University Ranking … Pierceson Coody, who finished No. 1 on the 2022 PGA TOUR University Ranking and has proceeded to win twice on the Korn Ferry Tour, is playing on TOUR for the fifth time this season. His best result so far is a tie for 14th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard.


1) Will the McIlroy/Homa trend continue?

There’s been something special for Max Homa and Rory McIlroy at this event the last half-decade. Starting with Homa’s victory in 2019, McIlroy won in 2021 (it was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic), before Homa won again in 2022. McIlroy, who won THE CJ CUP in South Carolina last October, has thrived at the Wells Fargo Championship in his career. He has finished outside the top-10 just twice in 11 starts, including a fifth-place result last season.

2) Presidents Cup momentum

Of the victorious American side from the 2022 Presidents Cup team at Quail Hollow, only three aren’t teeing it up this week. More than half of the International squad will also return to Quail Hollow for the first time since September. The U.S. Team defeated the International Team, 17.5-12.5, but the International Team staged an impressive rally in the latter sessions. After being down 8-2 to start, the International Team outscored the U.S. Team, 10.5-9.5, the rest of the way.

3) Designated events continue

The Wells Fargo Championship is the third ‘regular’ PGA TOUR event to earn Designated status so far this season, with the WM Phoenix Open and RBC Heritage now in the rear-view mirror. The PGA Championship, the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, and the U.S. Open are up next before the Travelers Championship marks the final bumped-up TOUR event of the season before The Open Championship and the FedExCup Playoffs. Only 10 of the eligible top-50 players in the world are not in the field.


FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 FedExCup points.

COURSE: Quail Hollow Club, par 71, 7,538 yards. Fresh off hosting the 2022 Presidents Cup, Quail Hollow returns to the PGA TOUR schedule for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship. Laid out by George Cobb in the early 1960s, the club was upgraded by Tom Fazio as it prepared for the PGA Championship in 2017. Its ‘Green Mile’ closing stretch flummoxes TOUR players year after year. The last time it hosted the Wells Fargo Championship, in 2021, it was ranked the fifth-toughest course on TOUR.

72-HOLE RECORD: 267, Rory McIlroy (2015).

18-HOLE RECORD: 61, Rory McIlroy (Round 3, 2015).

LAST TIME: Max Homa navigated horrific conditions to win for the fourth time on the PGA TOUR. With a Nor’easter defining the week, Homa stayed steady, firing a 2-under 68 in the final round to win by two shots over Keegan Bradley, Matt Fitzpatrick and Cameron Young. Rory McIlroy, who was the defending champion, finished fifth.

HOW TO FOLLOW (All times ET)

Television: Thursday-Friday, 2 p.m.-6 p.m. (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1 p.m.-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3 p.m.-6 p.m. (CBS)

PGA TOUR Live is available exclusively on ESPN+

Main Feed: primary tournament-coverage featuring the best action from across the course

Marquee Group: new “marquee group” showcasing every shot from each player in the group

Featured Groups: traditional PGA TOUR LIVE coverage of two concurrent featured groups

Featured Holes: a combination of par-3s and iconic or pivotal holes

Radio: Thursday-Friday, 12 p.m.–6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 1 p.m.–6 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and

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