The Wyndham Championship preview with Skeeter McGillicuddy
The final regular season event before the playoffs the Wyndham, on paper a relatively poor event, Patrick is favourite after all, will be a fascinating tournament.
Played at the old fashioned and thus shortish (7,127 yards) Donald Ross designed Sedgefield, with its three furlong run, in provides a moderate jumping test…. and not much more of a golfing test for seasoned PGA tour players.
As if to provide a platform for scoring, Sedgfield plays as the easiest Par 70 on tour, the event comes with a host of narratives and for those needing a result they better get their scoring boots on.
Davis Love won this last year and while not defending given an injury he’ll certainly be watching with the Ryder Cup looming. Jimmy the F…k / Mr 58 could nail a spot here as a pick and you have to imagine Davis would Love to have him on the team. Rickie came home hard on the steel at the Olympics and he’s here with intent. In a normal season he’d be killing it frat style with his ho’s and bro’s prior to the playoffs but while Jordan and co are probably sharing a few pipes ahead of the Barclays (strictly shisha) Ricky has to front up and show up. He’s an awesome talent but this year has really gone off the boil at times and anyone who recalled his Celtic Manor exploits will know he’s a big match player. If nothing else we want to see how he’ll offset the potentially ludicrous US team outfit.
Patrick looks great in anything and has been a top 10 lay down this year but he’s not won and he’s 8th on the list. Given his overt competitive spirit he looks nailed on but as we may have alluded to he’s not exactly Mr Popular with the other players and if he’s not an automatic pick then there’s hot competition for Love’s Captains choices.
Ryder Cup aside there is the little matter of the bubble boys. Sure you can rely on invites and there’s the Web.com Tour but lets not kid ourselves who wants to explain to the wife you’ll be “playing for a whole lot less next year honey”?
While these narratives add to the event it’s still there to be won.
Once a player steps onto the first tee he’ll be playing to win – not mosey up to a finish in the hope he wins a place on the US Ryder Cup Team or makes it into the top 125.
Yes, come the back nine on Sunday these factors will come to bear, but isn’t there always pressure on Sunday?
Reed, a winner here in 2013 followed by a 24th and hasn’t played since. Clearly motivated by the Ryder Cup and a favourite of ours we can’t have him at the price.
Matsuyama is a brilliant ball striker and you need that around here but again he’s too short.
Furyk comes off a freaky round, is motivated for sure and posted a top ten in his only start here in 2011, but as with the top two is too short for us.
Bobby Clampert’s Death Star, McGirt, 14th in the Fed Ex standings and with the best will in the world not a chance for a Cup pick comes here in great form. Tenth in the PGA allied to 14th here last year and 8th in 2014 – his two best performances in five attempts – McGirt has the game to succeed at Sedgefield. He hits 2/3 fairways and greens all year round and has a 0.469 strokes gained putting number. 2016 is his stellar year with a maiden win, a second and seven top tens from 23 events. Stats don’t always tell the whole story but it’s interesting that in the six core “strokes gained” categories McGirt has positive numbers in all.
Came home in 62 at the Travellers and this course is prone to giving up low scores. Thomas finished a lowly 56th on his only start here but that was his first full season on tour and seemed keen to tee it up as often as possible. Despite having what appears to be an ordinary year he’s 9th in the Fed Ex Rankings so there’s no need to come here..unless..unless he feels a win would seal a Ryder Cup place? (currently 25th on the list). Often criticised by Butch Harmon for not being able to temper his power game Thomas is simply on a longer learning curve than his more illustrious mate Speith. Remember he has won and posted five top tens in 2016 plus he does hit 65% of greens. Thomas admitted frankly that he had always switched putting grips depending on what felt best at the time and if he can strike it well and putt like he did at the Travellers then he’s right in this.
2nd in the US Open followed by 36th and four missed cuts. Tee’s it up here for the first time. What’s not to like? A winner on tour, a class act, a player who can go low. Yes he’s felt the effects of that US Open but he’s had two mini spells since to recapture something. 90th on the Fed Ex list he’s in the playoffs baring a disaster and at 14th and 16th on the respective Ryder Cup lists a win could propel him into an automatic pick. We’ll chance our arm at the price.