Golf Preview: Wells Fargo & GolfSixes

Two hugely different evens in the golfing world this weekend with Dustin Johnson making his return to action, whilst GolfSixes is the first event back in Europe since The Masters.

Taking place for the first time at the Centurion Club at St Albans in England and over just two days, two-man teams from 16 different nations will compete over six holes The teams will play a Greensomes format, where the teams select their best tee shot and then play alternate shot thereafter.

Teams from Australia, Belgium, Denmark, England, France, India, Italy, Portugal, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, The Netherlands, USA and Wales will compete against each other.

The competition will also feature a long drive competition, shot clocks and a closest to the pin.

It remains to be seen how the competition goes down, but many are uneasy with the new approach which appears more akin to a Golf Society weekend.

“I like the sound of it, I like what they’re trying to do to make it more exciting,” said Jamie Donaldson, who is part of the Welsh team.

“It’s something a bit different. It’s just how will it go down, we don’t know until it’s finished,” Donaldson continued.

“They have picked the holes that you can be the most aggressive on to make it as exciting as possible.”

If the GolfSixes is not your thing – then there is a competition of huge standing across the pond as the Wells Fargo Championship takes place with a fine looking field.

Normally played at Quail Hollow, this year the event is staged at Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington, due to the fact Quail Hollow is staging the PGA Championship in August.

James Hahn is the defending champion, but all eyes at Eagle Point will be on one man, world number one Dustin Johnson – who makes his return to golf for the first time since his dramatic withdrawal from The Masters, after he injured his back falling down the stairs just the day before the event started.

Now Johnson is back and will be looking to get back into the groove from the off.

“The body’s all good. Glad to be back out playing again. Obviously, I haven’t played much. I feel like I haven’t practiced much, but I’ve practiced enough to compete,” said Johnson, who likes the look of Eagle Point.

“The golf course is great, it’s really pretty; it’s in perfect condition. Can’t find anything wrong with it condition-wise. It’s one of the best-conditioned courses we play all year. I think it’s going to be challenging, especially with the firmness of the greens, and they’ve got a lot of slope in them.”

Over big names looking for the win include Adam Scott and Jon Rahm, who both showed up well at Augusta, along with Englishman Paul Casey.

There looks to be a strong home-based contingent looking for the win with the likes of Phil Mickelson, William McGirt, Webb Simpson and Bill Haas all looking like possible contenders.

The pro’s point of view…

Our resident golf expert is Cliff Jackson. Cliff is a leading youth coach and PGA professional at the famed Seaton Carew Links – one of the oldest courses in the world.

A really good field in America and hard to look past some of the big names – but I am going for Mickelson, Scott and Rahm,

And the GolfSixes – hard to know what to say but you would think England with Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan will go close.

The Bookie says…

We caught up with Ladbrokes’ senior golf trader Peter D’Arcy ahead of the weekend’s action to gauge the markets and ask him about our fancies.

Whilst a good idea to boost interest in the sport, GolfSixes has diminished the betting opportunities and with the lack of any marquee players the punters are steering clear.

There is a slight lottery about it, hence the outsiders are only 33/1. However as we saw in Perth with Rumford winning after leading the strokeplay tournament class should more often than not prevail so I like the Americans to cause a few upsets.

At Wells Fargo on the other hand, we are seeing interest in Dustin Johnson, which is a bit surprising as no-one knows if he’s fully recovered from his fall.

The foreign legion seems quite strong this year and with a new course for the year negating some of the American’s knowledge we could see a non-American winner and for me I go with Jon Rahm this week.

We say…’s Graeme Bailey brings you his golfing opinion

I refuse to do a prediction for the GolfSixes at it is not a proper golf event, and looks like being an absolute farce.

In America, it is a fascinating contest looking field for the Wells Fargo. I think Adam Scott will go well but further down I like Soren Kjeldsen to compete and Webb Simpson grew up on this course so has to be in the mix.

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