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The Wells Fargo "DJ Is Back But How's His Back" Preview

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Hello friends. Welcome to Wells Fargo Championship week. What does the Wells Fargo mean to me? Well it’s a big-time event because it’s one of the events Tiger always played. Anything that was on Eldrick’s calendar was a big-time event to me. While every single thing imaginable has changed about Tiger, the star power of the Wells Fargo has not necessarily changed. We’ve got some names here this week.

We’ll get into that later. For now, let’s talk a bit about the event.

The Wells Fargo is in a classic one-off situation venue-wise this year. With the PGA Championship coming to Quail Hollow in August, the typical home of this event, we’ve moved about 4 hours towards the coast to Wilmington, North Carolina. Eagle Point Golf Club is the track.

James Hahn is the defending champ. Rory McIlroy (2010) and Rickie Fowler (2012) both notched their first TOUR wins here. Honestly, I don’t give a shit about any of that. The history is moot when we swap venues.

New track, fresh start, throw it all out.

The Track

Eagle Point is a 7,259-yard Tom Fazio design. Webb Simpson, a North Carolina native, belongs to Eagle Point and estimates he’s played about 150 rounds there. He had this to say:

“It honestly has a touch of Augusta National to it. It’s as green as Augusta, the sand is white. [Tom Fazio, who designed Eagle Point, also has renovated Augusta National.] You have pine trees and all that. It’s hillier than you would think for a course down there on the flat coast. If I were to characterize the club as a whole, it’s a golf club.”

Notable Holes

4th, 640 yards, par 5

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I mean, it’s 640. What more needs to be said? You can rip a 340-yard drive and you’re still 300 out. #mathguy

9th, 431 yards, par 4

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Saw this tee shot view in my research and wanted to share it.

12th, 562 yards, par 5

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Risk/reward par 5 early on in the back nine. That water right can be lethal, but with a good tee shot most guys will have just a long-iron in here.

17th, 442 yards, par 4

Eagle Point

Signature hole. Webb loves it: “No. 17 is probably the most beautiful hole there from the tee box. There’s a beautiful creek running up the left side. The tee is really elevated. You go down a little bit to the fairway, there’s some fairway bunkers and then the green is elevated.”

18th, 580 yards, par 5

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Any closing par-5 like this is going to get my attention. This one typically plays into the wind, so at 580 it’s no guaranteed reach. With guys needing birdies to better position themselves late in the day Sunday, there’ll be plenty of hot action here.

Clubhouse

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Kinda looks like something folks would call a plantation. Interesting.

Clubhouse grade = 6.9.

The Field

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DJ is back. It’s his first start since “falling down the stairs” at Augusta. How’s his back? Was it even his back? Is he still way better than everybody else at golf? He’s won his last 3 starts, but there’s a cloud of uncertainty and it’s a new venue. Not sure what to expect from the world no. 1.

DJ’s not the only big name. We’ve got Jon Rahm, Adam Scott, Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson, (American) Patrick Reed, Louis Oosthuizen, our buddies Wesley Bryan and Willy Wilcox.

There’s also a solid “old guard” contingent: Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen.

Tori Slater’s boyfriend Daniel Berger is playing.

Predictions

Winning Score — (-16)

Webb Simpson can say it’s like Augusta all he wants. I’ve been to Augusta; nothing’s like Augusta. It’s a Fazio so it won’t be a cake walk, but I think 16-under gets it done.

Winner — Dustin Johnson

Back this. Stairs that. Conspiracy this. Concern that. Dustin Johnson is the best player in the world, he’s won 3 in a row, he’s the favorite for a reason. DJ in Wilmington.

Steven Bowditch Memorial DFL Award — Steven Bowditch

Any questions?

Dark Horse — Patrick Rodgers

100-1? Yes please.

Final Thoughts

Biggest Fore Play yet this week. We had perhaps the most legendary dude I’ll ever meet, George Brett, who won the 1987 Pebble Beach Pro Am with Freddie Couples. We checked in with Willy Wilcox after a T14 finish at the Zurich, discussed how the PGA TOUR yelled at us, detailed what Bayonne Golf Club was like, and much, much more.

Enjoy the weekend folks. Last event before The Players, then we really hit that summer stretch.