The Wells Fargo Championship from Quail Hollow Club is on deck, and the event will be many players' final tuneup ahead of the PGA Championship in two weeks.
A 156-man field consisting of 11 top-20 golfers will be in Charlotte for one of the year's stronger tournaments. Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm headline the group, with Rory McIlroy, Bryson DeChambeau, and Xander Schauffele among the other notables.
2019: Max Homa (-15) over Joel Dahmen
2018: Jason Day (-12) over Nick Watney, Aaron Wise
2017: Brian Harman (-10) over Dustin Johnson, Pat Perez
2016: James Hahn (-9) in a playoff over Roberto Castro
2015: Rory McIlroy (-21) over Webb Simpson, Patrick Rodgers
2014: J.B. Holmes (-14) over Jim Furyk
2013: Derek Ernst (-8) in a playoff over David Lynn
2012: Rickie Fowler (-14) in a playoff over Rory McIlroy, D.A. Points
The toughest decision you'll face this week is what do to at the top. The favorites are often easy to pass on when there's plenty of value further down the board or when they simply aren't playing well enough to warrant their short odds.
However, there's a strong case to be made this week for Thomas at +1000. He won the 2017 PGA at Quail Hollow and is currently hitting the ball better than anyone on the planet. He gained over 13 strokes tee-to-green last week in Tampa but gave a bunch of those back on the greens. If he corrects his putting woes, it's hard to envision a scenario where Thomas isn't hoisting the hardware Sunday.
Then there's Bryson DeChambeau, who is only three starts removed from his win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and he finished third at the Players two tournaments ago. Length is a huge advantage at Quail Hollow, and no one feasts with the driver more than the reigning U.S. Open champ. His +1500 odds may offer the most value among the favorites.
Taking both Thomas and DeChambeau at the top in hopes that one of them can give you a shot Sunday is a viable strategy, even if the payout isn't what we typically look for.
The next big decision is what to do with Rory McIlroy at +2000. This may be the biggest number you'll see all season for the Northern Irishman and it's happening at a course he's historically flourished at. McIlroy is a two-time winner at Quail Hollow and has six top 10s in his last seven appearances at the event. Can McIlroy's course history help reverse his recent struggles? At +2000, it may be worth the risk.
Tony Finau is rarely an option in the outright market because his odds to win simply don't line up with his inability to close golf tournaments. However, if Riviera is a comparable course, Finau has to be looked at this week. He was a runner-up at the Genesis Invitational and continues to churn out top-tier results. If he's ever going to win again on the PGA TOUR, it will come at a course like Quail Hollow.
Joaquin Niemann profiles as a player that could do well at Quail Hollow. He's long and straight off the tee with the ability to dial it in with his irons. We won't go as far as saying Niemann is on the same path as McIlroy and Thomas, but he too could find success early in his career at a course that rewards elite ball-striking. At +3300, the young Chilean is worthy of consideration.
We've given a lot of love to players at the top, so it's hard to make a case for a long shot to come out of nowhere and steal the title this week, even though there's a history of that happening at Quail Hollow.
However, there are a few names with juicy odds who deserve a deeper look:
Rory McIlroy (+2000)
We're all-in on McIlroy.
After taking a few weeks off following a disappointing missed cut at the Masters, McIlroy should arrive at Quail Hollow feeling rejuvenated as the heart of the PGA TOUR season approaches.
Yes, he's coming off back-to-back missed cuts - one at TPC Sawgrass, which is excusable because the course is rather tricky, and one at Augusta, which is slightly concerning - but without those performances, you wouldn't get McIlroy at +2000 at a course he's won at twice in his career.
Prior to those, McIlroy wasn't playing that badly. He came sixth at the WGC in Florida and 10th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
A few weeks away from the TOUR to work on his swing or take time to reset could do wonders for one of the world's most talented players. Come Sunday, there's a very real chance we're asking how oddsmakers let McIlroy go off at +2000.
Jason Day (+5500)
If McIlroy can't get it together, then Jason Day is a nice fall-back option at +5500. The Aussie won the Wells Fargo in 2018 and has been playing some nice golf lately. Prior to a surprising missed cut at Augusta, Day had four straight events of quality ball-striking. His putter went ice cold at the Players, where he gained 11.2 strokes tee-to-green, resulting in a tied-for-35th showing instead of genuine contention.