Last chance saloon at Wyndham
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2014 Wyndham Championship | Preview | 13 Aug 2014
The final event of the regular PGA Tour season is played this week at the Sedgefield CC in Greensboro, North Carolina where players not only chase victory but, for several on the fringe, the opportunity to reach the FedEx Cup playoffs which begin next week.
The leading 125 players from the Fed Ex Cup points table at the completion of this week’s Wyndham Championship are eligible for the four event Final Series which begins with the Barclays in New Jersey next week.
Those not making it into the top 125 and not otherwise eligible for ongoing status on the PGA Tour will be forced to play the Web.Com Tour playoffs in order to regain status on the 2015 PGA Tour.
The field for this week’s championship is missing the absolute stars of the game, many of them saving their energy for the Playoff Series where so much money is at stake in terms of regular prize-money and bonuses.
This week’s event has a great history in US professional golf, the Wyndham Championship or its equivalent dating back to 1938 when won by the man whose name would become synonymous with the tournament, Sam Snead.
Snead would go on to win it a total of eight times the last of which came in 1965, 27 years after his first.
This week’s defending champion is Patrick Reed who has gone on to win two further events on the PGA Tour since although his most recent form is below the level it was when leading into last year’s event.
I can’t help but think that Hideki Matsuyama should start as the favourite this week given he had a solid 15th place finish in his rookie season last year and has gone on to win the Memorial this year and has continued to play solidly since.
Webb Simpson might not be playing at his peak at present but he has played this event well in the past including when winning in 2011 and has one or two other good finishes at Sedgefield.
Simpson has played a couple of very similar events well this season finishing 3rd at both the Greenbrier Classic and the FedEx St Jude Classic.
Tim Clark has had several good finishes in this event including when runner-up to Sergio Garcia in 2012 after leading comfortably heading into the final day. Clark finally won again on the PGA Tour recently at the Canadian Open although in his two events since he has struggled. This is the style of event and golf course that appears to suit him and he might do well again.
Brandt Snedeker has been solid if not brilliant of late but that might be good enough for him to contend here. He does boast a victory in this event several years ago and one or two other reasonable finishes so he appears a chance at worst.
The Australians in the field are Aaron Baddeley, Steve Bowditch, Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby, Greg Chalmers and Bronson La Cassie.
Of those only Bowditch, Baddeley and Appleby are guaranteed of finishing inside the top 125, earning a place in the Playoffs and full status on the PGA Tour next season.
Allenby in 122nd position, Chalmers 128th and La Cassie in 185th all need finishes of varying degrees if they are to play with the luxury of full status next season. Allenby would need to make the cut to be certain while Chalmers will need something more significant and La Cassie will probably need a top two finish if he is to have any chance.