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Wells Fargo Preview: Phil's Money At Wells Fargo

Greg Vara

Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the 2013 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. In addition to producing the weekly preview and the bulk of the draft kit content, Vara participates in Yahoo!'s "Experts Picks" where he routinely dominates. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.

It used to be that back in the NBA's heyday, the 1980s, a team had to pay its dues to become the champ. While that's not exactly the case anymore in the NBA, it is somewhat the case on the PGA TOUR. Case in point, Jason Dufner, who came painfully close to earning his first victory on the PGA TOUR last season not once but twice, losing in a playoff each time. He's not the only one to break through this season after having paid his dues; Bubba Watson paid his dues at more than one major before breaking through at the Masters. It's not just the act of paying your dues, however, it's the experience that it brings. The experience of feeling what it's like to be in the lead, the experience of losing a lead and even the experience of being just out of the mix. All of these experiences make the man a better player in the end, that is unless he cracks before he ever gets that first victory. Luckily for Dufner, he didn't crack. He hung tough and failed to waver when the pressure was on at the Zurich Classic last weekend. Dufner's paid his dues, now it's his time to shine, and trust me, he will.

This week:
Wells Fargo Championship

Last Year:
Lucas Glover shot a final-round 69 on his way to a playoff victory over Jonathan Byrd.

Players to Consider:

1. Phil Mickelson

Mickelson has accomplished everything here outside of winning. He's finished runner-up, third, fifth-place twice, seventh and ninth. A top-10 is almost guaranteed, but can he find his first win at Quail Hollow? I wouldn't bet against him.

2. Lucas Glover

Glover's win here last year was no fluke. Prior to his victory last year, Glover had a runner-up and another top-5 on his resume at Quail Hollow. Is he in top form now? No, but it might not matter as he has a feel for this course.

3. Rory McIlroy

It's been a pretty quiet year for McIlroy; well, compared to last year anyway. Anyhow, it's about time for McIlroy to remind everyone why we thought he was the next Tiger. A win this week leading into the Players would accomplish that.

4. Rickie Fowler

Fowler showed some signs of life last week in New Orleans and enters this event with a pretty solid track record at Quail Hollow. Fowler finished T16 here last year and solo sixth the year prior.

5. Stewart Cink

Cink hasn't resembled the player who won the British Open a few years ago, but if he's to snap out of this funk it could be this week at Quail Hollow where he's recorded three top-10s in his past five tries.

Players to Avoid:

1. Geoff Ogilvy

Ogilvy tops the "Avoid List" for the second consecutive week. Last week, he could only manage a T45, so I'm not all that concerned about his placement here again. Ogilvy's track record here is decent, but his game is still too far off.

2. Spencer Levin

Levin started the 2012 on fire, but he's since cooled. He hasn't recorded a top-25 since mid-February, and his history here is weak. Levin has yet to make a cut at Quail Hollow in two tries.

3. Ben Crane

Crane has only played here four times and has yet to find success. His best finish was a T60 in 2003. Crane has appeared here only once in the last five years, so you have to wonder if this course just doesn't suit his eye.

4. Angel Cabrera

His track record here isn't the issue. Cabrera finished third here in 2010, but he withdrew from the Zurich Classic after one round last week, posting a 75 before withdrawing.

5. Jason Day

Day has really struggled to back up his outstanding 2011 season, and there's really no sign that he's going to snap out of his funk anytime soon. Perhaps the time off after the Masters will help; we'll have to wait and see.

Yahoo! Fantasy Golf

This week:
Wells Fargo Championship

Group A

1. Phil Mickelson
2. Webb Simpson

Decent talent in Group A this week, but few golfers you'd be scared to leave off your roster. Mickelson is an easy choice from Group A, but the second player will create separation this week. I'm going with Simpson, who played well on the weekend in New Orleans last week.

Group B

1. Rory McIlroy
2. Tiger Woods
3. Rickie Fowler
4. Lucas Glover

Unlike Group A, plenty of players could burn you this week in Group B. Three of my four picks in this group were dictated by my top-five, but the final spot was up for grabs. It came down to Tiger Woods or Hunter Mahan. Mahan has been extremely consistent here with four consecutive top-25 finishes, but he doesn't have the high-end finishes here that Tiger has.

Group C

1. Ben Curtis
2. Cameron Tringale

The winner came out of Group C last week, but I dare say that feat will not be repeated this week. In fact, I struggled to find anyone I really wanted on my team this week. I ended up with two guys who played well last week in Curtis and Tringale. Hopefully I can find a couple good early rounds from this pair this week.

Starters Round One

1. Phil Mickelson
2. Rickie Fowler
3. Rory McIlroy
4. Ben Curtis

Straightforward strategy for round one this week, a mix of big names and course history. Mickelson is the complete package this week; he has the course history and, well, he's Phil. I could go any number of ways in Group B, but I'm going with McIlroy, who won here two years ago, and Fowler, who's played well here the last two years and also played well last week. I didn't have the luxury of picking the player with a solid track record in Group C because there is no such player at least on my team. That said, I'm going with Curtis who's played pretty well the last two weeks.

Round Two and Going Forward:

Mickelson is clearly the "alpha-dog" in Group A this week and has a strong hold on the starting spot, unless Simpson can find his late-2011 form this week. Simpson doesn't seem that far off, so a solid week could be right around the corner. Group B should be fun this week - it always is when Tiger is in the mix. I'm going to wait on Tiger, however, as it's been a while since we've seen him and when we last did he wasn't exactly sharp. Glover will need to show his form from last season to get a starting spot at some point, but he'll take a back seat to Tiger if Woods starts well. Group C is completely up in the air as is often the case when you have two questionable players. My guess is that both Tringale and Curtis will make the cut this week, but do little on the weekend.