The Wyndham Championship does not have the star-studded field that provided all the fireworks in the year’s final major championship last Sunday, but for many players on the PGA Tour, a trip to the Sedgefield Country Club can be their ticket to a future in golf. Sam Snead won the first Greater Greensboro Open at Sedgefield in 1938, and his 82nd and final record-setting PGA Tour win in 1965.
What is on the line this week at The Wyndham is an opportunity to make the field in the FedEx Cup playoffs which get underway next week at the Barclays. Not only do the top 125 players get into the 2014 playoffs, they also gain an exemption through the 2014-2015 season which includes an exemption through the 2015 golf season.
The added value for the festivities in Greensboro this week, are the three spots on the 2014 Ryder Cup that are up for grabs. Ryder Cup Captain, Tom Watson will have his eye out for possible Captains Picks, and in particular, those who were on the team that was beaten at Medinah two years ago.
Everyone gets three weeks to impress the boss before he makes his selections early in September.
Webb Simpson hasn’t done much in 2014, and is currently 18th in FedEx Cup points but is from the North Carolina area, and typically plays well in the Tar Heel state. He has a victory at The Wells Fargo, and here at Greensboro back in 2011. He has four top 22 finishes at Sedgefield, and two third place finishes on tour this year. More importantly, the 2012 US Open Champ want’s another shot at the Euro’s in Scotland this year where he can help avenge the “Miracle at Medinah”. I see this weekend as a chance for the 29 year-old from Raleigh to save what has been a dismal 2014 season.
Ranked 69th in FedEx Cup points, the 2012 Champ went in the tank during the 2013 season after he injured his rib cage at the Desert Classic. The injury seemed to short-circuit a season that was destined for fame, and a possible major title. He picked up a courtesy win in Canada in 2013 when Hunter Mahan withdrew with the lead to attend the birth of his first child. Snedeker looks to be back in form with top 15’s at the Bridgestone, and the PGA last week. He is safely in the playoffs, but is looking for a nod from Captain Tom and a trip to Gleneagles.
We have started to hear some noise from Nick Watney again in the last couple of weeks, and signs that his golf game may be on the mend. The 33 year-old from Sacramento was close to the top of the golfing world until he shot an 81 with a three-shot lead in the final round of the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. He was the odd man out for the 2012 Ryder Cup team and was not one of Captain Davis Love’s picks. Watney picked up a T12 in Canada a few weeks back, a T8 in Reno. He had a nice PGA Championship with three rounds under par at Valhalla, and a T33 finish. Nick is ranked 11oth in FedEx Cup points, and could use a win at Sedgefiel to make his 2014 season.
Tim Clark is a dangerous player who won the RBC Canadian Open three weeks ago, and is back on a golf course that has a length where he can compete. Firestone, and Valhalla do not fit his game but with the length at Sedgefield is a place where he has a chance to sneak another win before the playoffs begin. Ranked 29th in FedEx Cup points, and not eligible for the Ryder Cup on either side, Clark is just looking to pick up some cash before the anchored putter ban comes in to effect. Clark has a condition which will probably not allow him to compete in 2016.
Carl Pettersson has been on the verge of greatness for almost a decade, but has not achieved it at this point. The 36 year-old Swede played his college golf at North Carolina State, lives in Raleigh, and won the first Wyndham at Sedgefield in 2008. He has finished in the top ten at each of the majors except for the Masters where he had T27 in 2006. Carl is currently ranked 87th in points and has two top ten’s back in June. He co-owns the course record(61) at Sedgefield, and may be looking for some attention from Euro Captain, Paul McGinnley this week.