A NUMBER of big names will be back in action on the US PGA Tour this week for the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship at the Quail Hollow Golf Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day are among those having their first starts since the US Masters.
Next week is the “unofficial” fifth Major – The Players Championship at the TPC Sawgrass – and the world’s best are looking to get back into form in the lead up to the US Open.
McIlroy obviously wasn’t happy with his T40 finish at Augusta at reportedly left the golf clubs behind when he flew to Europe to spend some time with his tennis star girlfriend Caroline Wozniaki.
“I’m trying to find the perfect balance between golf and having a normal life and everything else,” McIlroy said this week. “For me there’s more to life than just golf. I don’t know if people are surprised to hear that, but I have a lot more going on in my life than just golf.”
McIlroy flew back to south Florida last week and spent time working with his instructor Michael Bannon and fitness coach Steve McGregor and is now itching to get back to work at a tournament he won in 2010 with a 62 in the final round he said was “probably the best” he’d ever played.
“It’s always nice to come back to somewhere where you’ve had success at,” the Northern Irishman said.
At the ripe old age of 22 McIlroy is already worried about pacing his career and has cut back his schedule this year to just 23 events.
“I don’t want to be burned out by the time I’m 30,” he said. “I want to try and prolong my career as much as I can. I sometimes take a little bit too much out of myself, especially at the end of the season. … Basically the most important time for me in the golf season is from the start of April until the end of August. That’s when all the big tournaments are and that’s when you want to play your best golf.”
Woods reckons his golf swing is back in sync
Tiger Woods shared 40th place with McIlroy at the Masters, failing to make par in any round, but reckons his swing is in much better shape now.
“At the Masters, I was kind of struggling with my ball striking a little bit,” an understated Woods said this week. “Sean and I fixed it. It had to do with posture. My setup wasn’t quite right, as well as my takeaway, so we worked on that.” That doesn’t sound like something you’d bet the house on.
This time last year Jason Day was riding the crest of a wave of success but things haven’t been so hunky-dory in 2012.
Day pulled out of the Masters with an ankle injury and admits he still isn’t fully fit.
”It’s feeling a lot better,” the 24 year old said. ”It takes about six weeks to fully heal, and I have taken about four weeks off but the pain is gone. I don’t think it will be an issue.”
He will use this week’s event to ease back into competition before going all out at The Players next week and the Byron Nelson Championship the following week. That’s the tournament he won in 2010 and it is still his only Tour win.
”I won’t be going full bore at it this week but it’s part of three big tournaments in a row I want to play well in,” he said.
Mickelson is in perhaps the best form of all after his T3 at Augusta but others with a chance include Jim Furyk, Hunter Mahan and Keegan Bradley.
The Aussie contingent also includes Aaron Baddeley, Marc Leishman, Geoff Ogilvy, Nathan Green, Mathew Goggin, Robert Allenby, Nick O’Hern, Stuart Appleby, John Senden and Gavin Coles.
2012 Wells Fargo Championship TV Times
The event is being telecast in Australian on Fox Sports: 1st Round, Friday 5am – 8am; 2nd Round, Saturday 5am – 8am, 3rd Round, 5am – 8am, Final Round, Sunday, 5am – 8am.
2012 Wells Fargo Championship Live Leaderboard2012 Wells Fargo Championship Live Leaderboard