Tournament: Wyndham Championship, August 18-21
Course: Sedgefield Country Club (Ross), 7,127 yards, par 70. Greensboro, NC
Purse: $5,600,000; winners purse $1,008,000
Defending Champion: Davis Love III. The current Ryder Cup captain became the fourth oldest PGA Tour winner with his come from behind victory in 2015. Tiger Woods finished 4th last year, desperately trying to make the FedEx Cup playoffs (he didn’t).
Fun Fact: Sam Snead won this tournament 8 times, the last in 1965 at the age of 52. And he holds the record for oldest to win a PGA Tour event. A sellout crowd of 800 attended (really!), and his prize package included a rifle and a lifetime pass for free hamburgers.
Television: Thursday-Friday, 5-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 3-6 p.m. (CBS). Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS).
Former 'Dawgs in the Field (Seven): Erik Compton, Harris English, Russell Henley, Kevin Kisner, Chris Kirk, Lee McCoy, Brendon Todd
This is the final tournament before the FedEx Playoffs begin. We’ll address the playoff format next week, but for now we’ll keep our eye on the Greensboro prize… this here Wyndham Championship.
This is an old tournament, formerly known as the Greater Greensboro Open. And no, it’s not on the banks of the Oconee, but instead located in central North Carolina. The GGO was also known locally as the “Pop Top Open” for the beer consumed by the… well, let’s call them “patrons”. The tournament has been held at several courses, and was entrenched for about 20 years at the nearby Forest Oaks. But the purchase of Sedgefield by a local software millionaire and plugging a few dozen large helped bring the tourney back to Sedgefield where it has resided these last 8-10 years. It’s a solid course with a very interesting finishing hole, but the pros can go very low here if they want.
It is a somewhat unique field this week. You have Jim Furyk, former US Open champ and the only PGA Tour member to shoot 58 in a competitive round (and a 59), you have 10 of the world’s top 30, you have 4 who played last weekend in the Olympics, and you have a few special exemptions (such as Lee McCoy, playing on a sponsor exemption).
So with most of the big boys sitting it out, the rest are either trying to move into the top 125 on the playoff list, or move up enough so that they will advance past the first round. Former UGA golfers make up both groups, as I’ll describe briefly below:
Erik Compton, #168: Erik needs either a win or top 5 to have a chance of making the playoffs, and really only a win or 2nd will do it (depends on other in front of him).
Harris English, #34: With this ranking, he’s set for the 1st and 2nd playoff events, and might just be tuning up this week. But there’s still big money on the line, and a win almost assures him of making the Tour championship.
Henley, #82: Henley is okay for the first playoff event, so he’s definitely looking to move up the board.
Kisner, #11: Because he won earlier in the season, the Kiz is in excellent shape. He slowed down over the late spring, but there have been signs of success lately.
Chris Kirk, #62: Kirk is in similar shape to Henley, but probably through to the 2nd playoff event. Can’t hurt to move up though.
Lee McCoy, N/A: Lee doesn’t have status on Tour, but he just turned pro in June. A win, and only a win, will get him into the playoffs. He’s mostly playing to earn some cash and improve his status for next year.
Brendon Todd, #212: He also would need to win to play this fall, but he has full Tour status as of now and is a former tourney winner. To be honest, I don’t think he will have full-time Tour privileges next year (same as Compton above).
Bubba Watson is coming off a decent showing at the Olympics, and Hudson Swafford finished top 50 last week, so both decided to rest. I’ll admit that viewership will be hard, as this is competing against low-drama MLB races, pre-season NFL football, and the Olympics. So I get that this isn’t at the top of your weekend plans. But come back here and I’ll try to post round by round results as our favorite Bulldogs try to win in ACC basketball country. And as always….