Quail Hollow will have a noticeable hole in their field this year with the news that current World No.1 Tiger Woods will be absent for the 2013 Wells Fargo Championship.
According to the golfer's agent Mark Steinberg, speculation that Woods would be skipping on the tournament was "accurate" and the the 14-time major winner would be taking his customary "long break after the Masters."
The Wells Fargo Championship traditionally features three weeks after the pomp and circumstance of Augusta National, but this year, due to a scheduling change, the Charlotte-based tournament will be a week earlier; and so Woods misses out.
Compensation for golf fans attending the event will come in the confirmation of a host other luminaries of the sport, in particular the participation of superstar Rory McIlroy, currently the 2nd rated golfer in the world
McIlroy won the championship back in 2010, a moment he will remember fondly as it was his first professional win of his career. In fact, the Norther Irish star almost took the title for the second time in 2012 before falling in a playoff to Rickie Fowler.
Alongside McIlroy both Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson have confirmed to play, giving the event a powerful field that includes three of the four major winners from 2012.
02 May , 2013 Thursday
Former No. 1 Rory McIlroy in first-place tie after Day One at Wells Fargo
Neither the course nor the stars disappointed on Day One of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina on Thursday.
Former No. 1 and two-time Major winner Rory McIlroy was one of six men to fire a 5-under 67 to share the lead.
It's the first time in 2013 that McIlroy has been on the top of a leaderboard at the end of a day.
After a ho-hum start, McIlroy ripped off four straight birdies between holes No. 5-8. In all, he hit six birdies in an eight-hole stretch, but the other two were bogeys to temper his run.
The rest of the group atop the board wasn't as well-known: Nick Watney, Ryan Moore, Derek Ernst, Daniel Summerhays, Nate Smith and Robert Garrigus all shot 67s as well.
Rookie Ernst is ranked just 232nd in the world and is in rare territory after missing the cut at three of his last four events. Likewise, Summerhays is coming off back to back cuts after finishing seventh at the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio at the beginning of April.
Phil Mickelson was part of a big group one stroke back at 68 after Thursday. Mickelson proudly showed off his new driver, dubbed "Frankenwood" to the crowd and the media before the tournament began.
Smith is the real wild card in the mix at the top, having qualified for the tournament on Monday. His golf bag drew plenty of stares on Thursday after he was pranked by fellow player James Hahn, who put a note on Smith's bag in the locker room asking players to sign it for a charity event.
There was no event, and so Smith spent Thursdy traveling the course with a bag sporting more than 60 fellow players' autographs on it.
The tournament continues through Sunday.
03 May , 2013 Friday
Phil Mickelson takes two-stroke lead halfway through Wells Fargo Championship
Phil Mickelson spent the pre-tournament press conference bragging about his new driver, dubbed "Frankenwood" to the media.
On Friday, his putter did all the talking.
Mickelson made a 40-foot putt on No. 9 to highlight a 5-under 67 that put him in the lead by two strokes at 9-under for the tournament.
In all, Mickelson fired six birdies and a lone bogey on the day. He has a two-stroke lead over three players, including Americans George McNeill and Nick Watney.
Australia's Scott Gardiner had the day's best round, 5-under to join the two Americans in the second-place tie.
Former No. 1 Rory McIlroy fell to a tie for fifth after being in the lead on Thursday.
McIlory was down to 9-under after eight holes thanks to a trio of birdies, but hit bogeys on No. 10 and 18 to come back down to earth. He's one of five golfers at 6-under, joined there by Lee Westwood, who fired a 4-under on the day, hitting six birdies.
Gardiner had four straight birdies between holes No. 6 and 9.
Last year's champion, American Rickie Fowler, had his second straight even par round, dropping him to a tie for 47th.