This column will provide any field updates, injury news, and other player notes in the days leading up to the Wells Fargo Championship.
Field Changes (-): Brandon Wu withdrew on Monday morning.
Field Changes (-): Ryan Brehm withdrew on Tuesday due to an arm injury.
Field Changes (+): Brent Grant replaced Wu in the field on Monday morning.
Field Changes (+): Paul Haley II replaced Brehm in the field on Tuesday.
Field Changes (+): Trevor Cone, Carson Young, and Dylan Wu were added via sponsor exemptions.
Field Changes (+): Alejandro Tosti was added as a result of his top-10 finish at the Mexico Open.
Open Qualifiers (+): Ryan Cole, Trace Crowe, Danny Guise, Willie Mack III.
Sponsor Exemptions: Marcus Byrd, Pierceson Coody, Ryan Gerard, Austin Greaser, Quinn Riley, Trevor Cone, Carson Young, Dylan Wu.
Section Champion: Morgan Deneen.
McIlroy returns to action for the first time since missing the cut at The Masters (April 7th). He skipped RBC Heritage, and in doing so McIlroy missed his second elevated event of the season. McIlroy’s penalty for skipping a second elevated event is that he now won’t receive 25% ($3 Million) of his PIP Bonus from the PGA Tour.
MAY 3RD UPDATE:
McIlroy admitted that focusing on his "mental and emotional well-being" factored into his decision to skip RBC Heritage the week after The Masters. He added that "I just needed to be home for those feel weeks."
Some other quotes McIlroy gave surrounding his decision to skip a second designated event:
"I needed a break for me. Obviously, after the disappointment of Augusta, and it's been a pretty taxing 12 months mentally, so it was nice to just try to disconnect a little bit and get away from it."
"I think the last 12 months with everything that's went on...it's been a big 12 months. I don't know I fully, like, sat down to really reflect on stuff. I never really had a chance to think about The Open at St. Andrews and everything that went on there. It was nice to have three weeks to just put all that stuff in the rearview mirror and focus on what's ahead. Three more majors. The entire golf season to play. It was a good three weeks to sort of do all that and get refreshed and get ready for the next few months."
"We certainly have our minimums, we obviously signed up for this designated-event series this year. I obviously knew the consequences that could come with missing one of those. It wasn't an easy decision, but I felt like if that fine or wahtever is to happen was worth that for me in order to get some things in place."
Day will tee it up for the first time since shooting 80 (+8) in the final round of The Masters. Like McIlroy, Day opted to skip RBC Heritage the week after Augusta.
MAY 3RD UPDATE:
During Day's pre-tournament press conference he revealed that he suffered veritgo during the final round of The Masters (April 9th). This caused Day to skip RBC Heritage the following week in order run some tests.
Day attributed the vertigo at Augusta, in part, to stress:
"I've been playing a lot better so there's obviously more stress and when you have more stress, your immune system can get compromised and for me it was just unfortunate that happened in the last round. But I've had three weeks off and I feel like I'm getting a handle on it, which is good, so it will just take some time."
"Overall I know exactly what happened. It is obviously the stress of playing the game, and I understand there's obviously competitive stress and there's stress outside the game that is totally seperate that everyone goes through as well. When you put yourself under stressful conditions all the time, sooner or later your immune systems get compromised. I wasn't eating as healthy as I should have, so I made some changes to my diet."
"I just needed to take some time off, that was pretty much plain and simple. And then obviously on top of it just rework how I come to the golf course and work as well."
One last thing to note is that Day said he also suffered a small bout of vertigo at the Dell Match Play event two weeks before The Masters. Day said, "I didn't want to talk about it too much, especially the Match Play because it was just a small bout of it, but it really kicked by butt at Augusta. That was like kind of the time where I had to take a step back."
Notables NOT in the field:
Rahm announced on The Pat McAfee Show (April 21st) that he would take two weeks off after the Mexico Open, meaning he would miss both the Wells Fargo Championship and the AT&T Byron Nelson.
This will be the first skipped elevated event for Rahm who should now be expected to play in the remaining designated events this season. Rahm’s next start will come at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club (5/18-5/21).
Scheffler will skip his first elevated event, which means he should be expected to compete in the remaining designated events this season.
Scheffler’s upcoming schedule:
AT&T Byron Nelson (5/11-5/14) – Committed
PGA Championship (5/18-5/21) – Committed
Charles Schwab Challenge (5/25-5/28) – Likely but not officially committed
Memorial Tournament (6/1-6/4) – Committed
Also not in the field:
Billy Horschel - OWGR 27th
Tom Hoge - OWGR 28th
Russell Henley - OWGR 29th
Justin Rose - OWGR 32nd
Ryan Fox - OWGR 36th
Lucas Herbert - OWGR 42nd
Min Woo Lee - OWGR 58th
Matsuyama is not in the field for the Wells Fargo Championship due to a neck injury.
According to a statement from PGA Tour Communications last Friday, Matsuyama returned home to Japan after The Masters in order to receive treatment for his neck. However, according to the statement, Matsuyama's neck has not improved enough for him to compete in Charlotte.
Matsuyama has dealt with this neck issue intermittently for the past two seasons. It will continue to be something to monitor whenever Matsuyama tees it up in an event on the PGA Tour.
Woods announced on April 19th that he underwent a subtalar fusion procedure to address his post-traumatic arthritis from a previous talus fracture. He is currently recovering and looks forward to beginning his rehabilitation.
The 15-time major champion withdrew in his most recent start at The Masters, citing a reaggravation of his plantar fasciitis after being seen walking with a noticeably worse limp during the third round. In February, Woods expressed his goal to play in all of the major championships this year. However, given this news of another ankle surgery and upcoming rehab, expectations should be tempered for Woods' chances at playing in the next three majors.
There's currently no official timetable for Woods' return.
Wise announced in an Instagram story on March 31st that he would not be playing in The Masters. He is stepping away from golf to focus on his mental health.
IG post from 3/31:
“Golf is just as much a mental game as it is one of physical skill, and the mental piece of it has been a struggle for me recently. I don’t take the significance of playing at Augusta lightly, but know that I need to take some time away to focus on my mental health so I can get back to compete at a level I am proud of.”
Wise was listed as committed to playing in the Wells Fargo Championship but was not ultimately on the official field list Friday evening. It's currently unclear how close Wise might be to returning to the PGA Tour.
Berger is hopeful to make his return to the PGA Tour sometime in May, per Daniel Rapaport of Barstool Sports. The four-time winner has been sidelined since the 2022 U.S. Open.
Berger tried to play through this injury last season but said “that was definitely not the answer.” Instead, Berger has opted to take a more patient approach in his recovery. According to Rapaport, Berger has begun ramping up practice, and though he’s set no official timeline for a return it appears Berger could come back to the TOUR in May.
Zalatoris announced on his Instagram account on April 10th that he underwent successful surgery on his back and will now miss the rest of the season.
Zalatoris withdrew just prior to his first-round tee time at The Masters. As it turns out, Zalatoris was dealing with the same back issues (herniated discs) that caused him to be out for the last four months of 2022. Zalatoris has had a very promising start to his career, winning his first PGA Tour event last summer at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, but will now miss at least another five months following a microdiscectomy.
I've seen some confusion out there–this is the first time Zalatoris is having back surgery. He did NOT have surgery in 2022.
Brehm withdrew from the Wells Fargo Championship on Tuesday. It's the third consecutive event that Brehm has WD'd from.
According to a tweet from Tony Paul of Detroit News on April 20th, Brehm suffered a tricep injury prior to the start of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Paul noted that Brehm said he couldn't make a driver swing.
Vegas announced on his personal Twitter account last Thursday (April 27th) that he suffered an elbow injury related to the one that plagued him last year. He underwent surgery in April of 2022, and then later in the year Vegas opted to take the entire Fall portion of the PGA Tour schedule off due to this recurrent injury.
The 38-year-old has not played in a PGA Tour event since the Valspar Championship last month. Vegas said the recovery is taking longer than he expected but is working hard to return as soon as possible.
Yu underwent surgery on February 20th for a torn miniscus, which will sideline him for an unknown amount of time.
The rookie was having an excellent first season on the PGA Tour with seven made cuts in 10 starts, one top-5 finish, and two top-10 finishes. In his last start before the injury, Yu finished T7 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Barnes underwent knee surgery on April 3rd and is without a timetable for his return to the PGA Tour.
The 35-year-old rookie posted on Twitter that he was having reconstructive surgery on his MPFL and a repair of his MCL. Barnes said he's battled knee subluxation issues for the last couple of years which have worsened over the past few weeks. According to Barnes' social media post, the surgery was successful but he expects a long road in his recovery and eventual return to the PGA Tour.
Huh has yet to play in an event in 2023 due to elbow tendinitis. His last start came at The RSM Classic (November 20th, 2022).
Knowles announced on his Instagram account on May 1st that he severed a nerve in his thumb on February 1st, underwent surgery on February 24th, and started swinging a golf club again on April 14th.
He noted that (as of May 1st) he's nearly back to full function but "range of motion is limited due to scar tissue" and "lack of sensation in the outside part of my thumb."
Knowles is currently without a timeline for returning to the PGA Tour.
Schenk was anticipating missing some time towards the end of April due to the birth of his child. That event occurred last week and so now Schenk will return to the PGA Tour after missing just two events.
Kisner remains out after he withdrew from the RBC Heritage after the first round (April 13th). It's currently unclear what exactly Kisner is dealing with at the moment, or if his absence is injury related at all. His status is one to monitor.
Pan is playing in his second PGA Tour event since returning from a wrist injury that caused him to miss more than four months of the season.
He made a rehab start on the Korn Ferry Tour at the Club Car Championship at the end of March (missed cut) and then played in the RBC Heritage three weeks ago (missed cut).
Kim was unable to play a practice round last Wednesday (April 26th) ahead of the Mexico Open after his back "locked up" while warming up. After this news came out there was some concern that Kim might withdraw, but he ended up playing and finished T30 in Mexico.
It appears that Kim's back is fine after a minor scare last week. Nonetheless, it's something to keep an eye on.
Wu withdrew from the Wells Fargo Championship on Monday for an undiclosed reason. Coming off a 3rd place finish at the Mexico Open, this stands out as an interesting decision for Wu to skip out on an elevated event while in-form. This would have been Wu's fourth consecutive event played.
He should be expected to return to action at the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Taylor is not in the field for this week's Wells Fargo Championship due to the expected arrival of his second child--first reported by Bob Weeks on Twitter.