5 To Watch At 2013 Wyndham Championship
Five Players Who Can Make A Move At The Wyndham Championship
This week, one season ends, and another begins. The PGA Tour regular season wraps up this week in Greensboro, N.C. at the Wyndham Championship. For some, the dream season will continue; but for others, this is the end of the line.
Since the inception of the FedEx Cup playoff format in 2007, the goal for every player on Tour has been the same. If you earn your way into the top 125 in the points, you have a chance to make a run at the season championship and the $10 million grand prize. While the pressure is on all year, a good week at the Wyndham could easily change a player’s career.
As the final chance to earn a spot in the first event of the playoffs next week, several players close to the bubble will be looking to make a run. Players such as Ben Crane (124th), Nicolas Colsaerts (127th) and Padraig Harrington (129th) are right there, while Vijay Singh (141st) and Tommy Gainey (137th) have their work cut out for them.
Formerly the Greater Greensboro Open, you couldn’t pick a more exciting place for the regular season to wrap up. Sedgefield Country Club has been the off-and-on host of the tournament since its inception, won by Sam Snead back in 1938. In 2008, the championship moved back there permanently, and it’s been a shootout ever since.
Playing as a par-70, Sedgefield is one of the easier scoring courses on the schedule, and in the last five years, it has twice given up a winning score of -20 or lower. Birdies will be flying, but as exciting as that will be for spectators, it cranks up the pressure on the field. If you miss a few fairways or lose some strokes to the rough, just one or two key bogeys can set back your championship hopes.
With that, it’s time for the golf to begin. It’s another strong field this week, both with playoff hopefuls and those who are already in and jockeying for top positions beyond next weekend. Let’s take a look at five of my favorites this week.
5. Bill Haas
With the exception of difficult weeks at Merion and Muirfield, Bill Haas has had an excellent summer of golf, with four top-10s before a tie for 25th at last week’s PGA Championship. Haas finished seventh at Sedgefield last year, and currently sits sixth in the FedEx Cup points race. He’s racked up a Tour-leading nine top-10 finishes this year, thanks in large part to his ability to hit greens (11th for 2013) and score well on par-4s (third). His putting has been lacking this season, but he seems to have it figured out at this point.
4. Zach Johnson
There may not be a hotter player on Tour over the last month than Zach Johnson, and there certainly isn’t a better one without a win right now. His playoff loss to Jordan Spieth (also likely to make some noise this week) in last month’s John Deere Classic was a tough pill to swallow, but it’s set off a string of incredible golf like he hasn’t seen in a while. Four straight top-10 finishes show that Johnson is on top of his game. Even though he hasn’t played this tournament since 2008, great golf like what Johnson has played recently translates anywhere.
3. Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia is just one of those players who feels like he's due for a win, and defending his 2012 title here would be fitting. Currently 66th in the FedEx Cup Standings, Garcia is solidly in next week’s field at the Barclays, but a win here could move him into the top 20 and springboard a shot at the FedEx Cup. After all his bickering with Tiger Woods earlier this year, it would be a strong finish for Garcia, who still leads the Tour in strokes gained-putting and sits eighth in adjusted scoring average.
2. Webb Simpson
Speaking of players who are due for a breakthrough, Webb Simpson finds himself in that category at the end of the season with only three top-10s in stroke play events in 2013. Simpson showed a flash of his top form last week at the PGA Championship, where he shot a 64 on Friday, only to be outdone by Jason Dufner’s 63. Unfortunately for Simpson, it was his only round in the 60s at Oak Hill. Still, he's won here in 2011 and followed that with a top-25 last year. Simpson is currently 18th in the FedEx Cup standings, so this will be an important tune-up as the playoffs begin.
1. Brandt Snedeker
Brandt Snedeker has the enviable task of defending his FedEx Cup championship, and while the playoffs don't start until next week, this is his week to make a statement. Really, there aren't too many places left on the schedule that I wouldn’t pick Snedeker if given the opportunity. Arguably the best ball-striker on Tour, Sedgefield sets up well for him, as he finished T5 in 2009, eighth in 2010, and T28 last season. Third in the points race right now, a top-10 finish would give him a bump up to second ahead of Matt Kuchar.
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