POTOMAC, Md. — When looking for a place to host the Wells Fargo Championship, tournament organizers opted to return a PGA Tour event to TPC Potomac for a year while the Presidents Cup is contested at Quail Hollow Club outside Charlotte — the tourney’s usual venue.
But this year, TPC Potomac will host its first PGA Tour event since the 2018 Quicken Loans National, and its 22nd overall.
“We think this is a fantastic golf market. We also don’t want this to be a one-year event,” tournament director Gary Sobba said at the tournament’s media day. “There will also be a conflict (at Quail Hollow) in 2025 with the PGA (Championship). We think this market deserves annual golf.
“If this event is successful, we could potentially come back in ’25. This is a robust and as golf friendly of a market as there is in the country. We think the time of year is going to be very helpful. We’re just excited to be here.”
TPC Potomac is a challenging track, routinely delivering single-digit winning score totals, save for the 2018 Quicken Loan National, which was hosted by Tiger Woods and his TGR Foundation. The winner that year, Francesco Molinari, triumphed by eight strokes and three weeks later earned his first major at the Open Championship.
The course’s reputation is one PGA Tour pro Byeong-Hun An previously tweeted was one of the toughest courses he has ever played, meaning the 156 players in the field are in for an examination.
“This is a challenging golf course,” said Sobba. “The rough probably won’t grow up as much as it has historically. This is a driver’s golf course, but it’s a true test.”
Among the changes to TPC Potomac since 2018 is the 50 yards added to the par-5 second hole, which now tops out at 641 yards.
Historically, the Wells Fargo Championship has been an event where several players have earned their first career PGA Tour wins, including defending champion Rory McIlroy. Also included on that list are Rickie Fowler, Anthony Kim and Max Homa.
Recalling his 2019 triumph during a media-day conference call with reporters, Homa considered himself privileged to be treated as part of a family.
“That week changed my life, getting your first win you will always be the most memorable,” Homa said. “It’s fun to remember that week and always am looking forward to the Wells Fargo each year. I’ve gotten to know some of the people in the last three years who run the tournament, they make me feel like a part of the family after the event. This event is always circled every year.”
Also in the field this week are Tony Finau, Abraham Ancer, Tyrrell Hatton, Sergio Garcia, Marc Leishman and Patrick Reed.
So far the response from the surrounding area has proven positive, as both the Monday and Wednesday pro-ams sold out and all of the chalets on the closing 18th hole are expected to be filled to capacity.
Sobba stated there will be a $30-million economic impact with this event approaching, with $750,000 guaranteed to local charities.
For fans, all active military and children 15 and under will be admitted for free, while veterans will be eligible for a 50 percent discount on tickets.
There also will be entertainment throughout the week for fans, including a concert after the final putt drops on Saturday, which includes a Jimmy Buffett-style band. Also, the video boards on course will show the Kentucky Derby.
“We want people to come out here and don’t want economics to be the objection,” Sobba said. “This is an unbelievable experience, and it is an all-day event.”
Corey Conners: It comes down to form and someone who has four top-12’s in his last six starts, is third in GIR and sixth in Strokes Gained: Off The Tee, states that he has the game and if the proximity continues to be successful and the flatstick cooperates, then a second PGA TOUR win feels possible this week.
I also like Abraham Ancer because of recent success in this event, plus he ranks sixth on tour in driving accuracy, Russell Henley, due to course conditions playing in his favor and Marc Leishman because of his well-rounded game, past success at this track and sitting atop the rankings in par-3 scoring.
Corey Conners: The Canadian is consistent and good at hitting fairways, which TPC Potomac requires.
I also like Keegan Bradley because he is due, Paul Casey in his return to PGA Tour action and Webb Simpson just because.