Despite his struggles with the driver, Jason Day won the Wells Fargo Championship on Sunday, defeating Aaron Wise and Nick Watney by 2 strokes. For Day, this week was defined by inaccuracy off the tee, but precision on the tough greens at Quail Hollow. Tied for 49th in the field this week hitting just 48.2% of fairways, Day made up for his driver woes by putting well- with an average of 1.585 (by far the lowest of the week). “I had no idea where the ball was going off the tee, but my short game stood the test,” said Day, who has 12 PGA Tour titles. “It was one of my best wins because I had to battle. I kept telling myself to keep pushing, keep pushing, keep pushing, and I putted great all week.” After climbing to the top of the Official World Golf Rankings in 2015 and 2016, Day struggled throughout last year- only making 5 top-10s the entire season and finishing in 49th in the pre-playoffs FedEx Cup standings. He’ll move from 13th to 7th after his victory this week in the OGWR, and 2nd in the FedEx Cup standings. Day will head to Ponte Vedra Beach this week for The Players Championship, a tournament he won in 2016 by 4 strokes that included a Thursday score of 63.
Phil Mickelson shot a 69 on Sunday to cruise to another top-5 finish at Quail Hollow. His great play could be attributed to both his surprising accuracy off the tee (T4 amongst the field this week at 66.07%) and putting average (3rd in field at 1.638). His up-and-down Sunday round had just 6 pars, including an insane save on the 18th green that featured Lefty playing a shot off a rock on purpose. “It was touching a rock, but somehow I was able to get way underneath the ball,” he said. “It was kind of on such a severe lie, I was able to hit it vertically. So I hit it off the toe, and the toe of my wedge is all banged up — not the sole, but the far end of the toe. I semi-played it into the rock to kick it to the right over the pin. So I went up vertically and used the side of the rock to kind of get it to go to the right.”
Tiger Woods struggled once again, posting his 3rd round in the 70s this week with a 3-over 74, without a single birdie. “Again, I just did not putt well. I did not make a birdie (on Sunday). I got shut out. … I just didn’t hit good putts. And on top of that, the ones I did hit well, they didn’t have enough speed on them. It was just one of those weeks,” Tiger told reporters after his final round. After a great month of March which included a runner up finish at the Valspar Championship and a T5 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Tiger has tapered off a bit shooting +3 in his last two tournaments- with his biggest struggles coming with the short stick.
As the Players Championship arrives this week, the PGA Tour has released 2 of the featured groups. The headlining act will be 2015 champ Rickie Fowler playing with both Woods and Mickelson, who have combined for 3 Players Championships and 122 Tour victories. The last time Phil and Tiger played at TPC Sawgrass together was in 2001, when Woods hit the famous “Better than Most” putt en route to victory. Fowler of course won his title in one of the best finishes in tournament history in May of 2015. Trailing by five shots with six holes to play, Fowler played them at six-under-par, going birdie-par-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie to force a playoff with Sergio Garcia and Kevin Kisner. After a 3 hole aggregate playoff ended in a tie between Kisner and Fowler, the pair returned to the 17th for a sudden death playoff, where Fowler made birdie to win. The other featured group will feature 2 more members of the #SB2K18 crew- 2017 FedEx Cup champ Justin Thomas and 3-time major champion Jordan Spieth along with Rory McIlroy. Two more groups will be announced when tee times are revealed- players like Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm might be names you’ll hear.
Golf Channel will carry live network coverage Thursday and Friday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, with NBC showing weekend coverage starting at 2 p.m.