The PGA Tour heads to Charlotte this week for the Wachovia Championshipwait a minute oh yeah, Wachovia went belly up last year and it’s now the Quail Hollow Championship.
Whatever the name may now be, it hasn’t affected this tournament’s ability to attract one of the best fields of the year (outside of the majors and WGC events).
Here are this week’s most intriguing stories.
Aside from making some noise at the Masters a few weeks ago by recording a record setting 11 birdies in his second round, Anthony Kim has been fairly quiet this season.
Kim finished second at his first event of the year, the Mercedes-Benz Championship out in Hawaii, but has spent a good amount of time playing internationally during the past few months.
Kim’s first of two PGA Tour wins last year came at the Wachovia Championship and seemed to provide Kim with a confidence from which to build upon; if he ever needed a confidence boost in the first place.
Just a month after his win at the 2008 Wachovia Championship, Kim won again at the AT&T National before reaching international stardom with his exceptional performance at the Ryder Cup last September.
Kim will certainly be looking to defend his title at the Quail Hollow Club this week, but, more importantly, he will be looking to get his game back towards it’s top form as the 2009 season begins to head into full gear.
After a strong finish to the 2008 season (which earned him a FedEx Cup title), Vijay Singh has gotten off to a slow start in 2009.
Singh has been plagued by a variety of injuries this season, this first of which being a torn meniscus in his knee which he ironically suffered at Tiger Woods’ Chevron World Challenge in December.
Singh underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair his torn meniscus in January and didn’t return to the tour until the Pebble Beach Pro Am in mid-February.
Singh’s knee injury seems to have recovered without incident, but has recently been replaced by an ongoing pain in his back.
Although Singh can seem ageless at times, it should be all but expected that a 46-year-old man who spends hours ever day twisting his body with an extreme amount of force will suffer at least some minor injuries along the way.
More problematic for Singh than the injuries themselves, have been the affect they’ve had on his practice routine.
Singh has built an extremely successful PGA Tour career upon his well-renowned practice routine which involves, amongst other things, hitting golf balls on the range from sun-up until sun-down.
Obviously, with a knee injury and a bothersome back, Singh has more than likely been forced to cut back on a routine he has undertaken religiously for the better part of his career, and it has played at least some role in the slow start to his 2009 season.
With a win in 2005 and three additional top-10 finishes over the past six years, Quail Hollow certainly seems to be a course that fits Singh’s eye.
The Players Championship is set to begin in nine days at the TPC Sawgrass, which just happens to be Vijay’s home course. So, Singh will surely be looking to get his game in order this week at Quail Hollow before heading home to attend what many refer to as golf’s fifth major championship.
Tiger vs. Phil – Round two?
Come on now, you can’t tell me that the second you heard both Woods and Michelson would be attending the Quail Hollow Championship your mind didn’t immediately race back to their recent showdown at Augusta.
Poor Angel Cabrera: The man won his second major championship in three years at the Masters a few weeks ago, yet the tournament will be forever remembered for Kenny Perry’s collapse down the stretch and the Woods/Michelson dual that had many forgetting there was actually a tournament taking place outside of their twosome.
Both Woods and Mickelson have experienced some success at Quail Hollow.
In the six years since the tournament’s inception, Mickelson has finished within the top-10 three times, while Woods has two top-10 finishes including a win in 2007.
Both players are at, or at least very close to their top form.
So, could we see round two in the clash of these two heavyweights this week?
One can only hope.