The final drive of The PGA Tour season kicks off this week as players look to qualify for The FedEx Cup Playoffs.
A pretty fun and exciting time for golf right now as we saw Ryan Moore play a sharp Sunday round at The John Deere to take home the trophy, not long after Justin Rose had captured the gold medal for Great Britain in Rio at The Olympics, holding off Open Champion, Henrik Stenson. Now we have one final qualifying event for The FedEx Cup Playoffs which will begin next week at The Barclays at famed Bethpage Black. The top 125-players in The FedEx Cup standings will advance into round one of the playoffs at The Barclays and this week will be the last chance to get into that top 125 at The Wyndham Championship.
The Wyndham Championship takes place at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina. A Donald Ross design, Sedgefield began hosting the event in 1938. Forest Oaks took over from 1977 to 2007 but since 2008, The Wyndham has been back at Sedgefield. Maybe the most famous Donald Ross design is Pinehurst #2, where Martin Kaymer won The U.S. Open in 2014.. and there certainly are some similarities in the designs, classic Ross characteristics like small greens with undulations and plenty of runoff areas that will make for a tough up and down. Like last week at The John Deere where we saw that Driving Distance was not so much an advantage, much of the same will hold true here where Driving Accuracy will be the preferred strength off of the tee. Hitting the smaller greens in regulation will be very important as will scrambling from the closely shaven collection areas surrounding the putting surfaces. Sedgefield is a Par 70. Scoring on the Par 4's has proven to lead to success here and so will making birdies as the past winners have gone pretty low at The Wyndham with the final tallies averaging nearly 18-under par since coming back to Sedgefield in 2008.
Interesting, those that do make it into The FedEx Cup Playoffs, will have a chance to find another Donald Ross design at the year's final test and where the FedEx Cup Champion will be crowned. East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia hosts The Tour Championship, the top 30-players in the standings, and a 10-million dollar first prize.
Patrick Reed (15-1) Reed has been a Top-10 machine this season and is coming off of an 11th place finish at The Olympics in Rio. He won The Wyndham in 2013 and finished 24th the next year in his title defense.
Jim Furyk (20-1) Mr. 58 will be the focus of a great deal of media attention this week as he tees it up for the first time since his record-breaking round on Sunday at The Travelers. That could be a distraction but Furyk has a good history on Ross designs and took 9th here in 2011.
Rickie Fowler (20-1) Fowler finished in the middle of the pack at The Olympics in 37th and this will be his first time playing The Wyndham. He does have a good track record at other Ross courses, however, finishing 2nd at Pinehurst and 8th at East Lake in 2014.
Webb Simpson (25-1) There is not a more consistent player in the field at The Wyndham than the Carolina native, Webb Simpson. He won here in 2011 and in six other trips to Sedgefield, Simpson has gone CUT-8-22-11-5-6.
Bill Haas (25-1) Another North Carolina native, Haas also fares well at The Wyndham with three Top-10 finishes here in the last four years.
Jon Rahm (25-1) The Spaniard makes yet another appearance in this column this week as he continues to perform well in his debut campaign on The PGA Tour. Still ranked 129th in the world, Rahm has not missed a cut in any of the eight events of which he's played and pulled in a 14th last week at The John Deere.
The Long Shots
Jason Dufner (50-1) The 2013 PGA Championship was played at Oak Hill, a Donald Ross design, at which Dufner captured his first Major Championship. His results have been mixed here, finishing 7th in 2012 and 51st last year.
Keegan Bradley (60-1) Currently ranking 105th in The FedEx Cup standings, Bradley will be focused on playing well in order to advance to the playoffs. This is his first trip to Sedgefield but he does have a solid track record on Ross courses with a 4th at Pinehurst in 2014 and a 19th at Oak Hill in 2013.
Camilo Villegas (300-1) Yes, a long shot indeed but Villegas won The Wyndham just two years ago and also has a 9th place finish in 2011 along with a couple of Top-30's in the last three years. Currently at 150th in The FedEx Cup standings, he knows he must do well this week.
Brandt Snedeker (25-1) Sponsored by Wyndham Worldwide, Snedeker has played this tournament every year since 2007, a year in which he won it but that was at Forest Oaks and not Sedgefield. He does have three Top-10 finishes however at this track in the last eight seasons. Snedeker also finished 9th at Pinehurst in 2014 and won at Ross' East Lake Golf Club in The Tour Championship in 2012. Coming off of a solid July in which he did not miss a cut and took 5th in Canada, I'll make Snedeker my pick this week in Greensboro.