Rory McIlroy commits to Wells Fargo

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The highly anticipated return of the PGA Tour to the Washington metropolitan area received a major boost with the announcement on Wednesday of Rory McIlroy’s commitment to play in the Wells Fargo Championship at TPC Potomac at Avenell Farm during the first week of May.

The four-time main champ and No. 7 player in the official golf rankings is by far the highest-profile player to date in the field which includes other Wells Fargo winners Max Homa (2019), Brian Harmon (2017) and Lucas Glover (2011).

Players have until April 29 at 5 p.m. to commit to a court of 156 players but are allowed to opt out of the tournament at any time.

McIlroy has won the Wells Fargo title three times, including his first 20 PGA Tour wins in 2010. He won again in 2015 and last year at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, the event’s usual home. Quail Hollow hosts the President’s Cup in September, forcing the PGA Tour to move the tournament to Avignell.

McIlroy is the only winner of the Wells Fargo Championship.

“It’s always nice to have Rory on the field, as he adds another element to the competition wherever he is,” Wells Fargo Championship Director Gary Sopa said in a statement. “Having him defend his title will be a special experience for the fans and everyone involved in this year’s tournament.”

McIlroy recently finished second in the Masters last weekend with an 8-under 64 in the final round which included a hole-out from a bunker from the green side of an unlikely birdie at No. 18.

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He equaled the lowest final score in Masters history and was one of the unscheduled goals in any round in his first major tournament of the year, the only Grand Slam stop he hasn’t won.

McIlroy’s 7-under 281 was three strokes behind winner Scottie Scheffler, the highest-ranked player in the world.

McIlroy is also no stranger to playing in the National Capital Region. McIlroy’s most convincing victory came at the 2011 US Open at the Congress Country Club, winning by 11 shots over runner-up Jason Day. In winning his first major tournament, McIlroy set 11 US Open records, including the lowest 72-hole score (278) and the lowest-than-average score (-16).

Seven of the 11 Wells Fargo winners have won a major, and four of them have climbed to number one in the world. Since 2003 the tournament has welcomed all 25 of the world’s players, and last year it was voted “best in class” on the PGA Tour schedule.

Marked for its 20th anniversary, the Wells Fargo Championship marks the first stop of a PGA Tour with links to the region since the 2018 National hosted by Tiger Woods. The event has been a staple of the Potomac Bethesda Trail for decades but hasn’t been able to secure a title sponsor.

The PGA Tour was moved to Detroit Golf Club for the Rocket Mortgage Classic in 2019 to replace the National.

This year’s event is expected to draw a loaded stadium as it is played two weeks before the season’s second major tournament, the PGA Championship at Southern Hills in Tulsa.

Many of the best players in the world choose to skip the PGA Tour event in the week immediately preceding a major tournament.

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