After an action-packed, final major, the PGA Tour is coming to Greensboro, North Carolina to cap off the regular season before heading into the FedEx Cup Playoffs. With that being said, we can expect to see a weaker field for the most part because many of the players that are in this tournament are fighting for FedEx Cup points so they have a chance to win that $10 million prize. But without giving too much away in the introduction, let’s jump in.
The Wyndham Championship is held at the Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina. Sedgefield is one of the easiest, and shortest, courses that these guys see. The past winners from 2012-2017 all had scores between 14 and 22 under, with the 22 under score coming from Henrick Stenson last year who, just so we’re all aware, went all four rounds WITHOUT A DRIVER IN THE BAG. Even though Stenson isn’t exactly a “shorter” hitter, this course does not benefit the bombers any. The fairways are relatively wide, so accuracy really isn’t extremely important either. There are twelve par-4’s that average about 437 yards, with the shortest being 374 yards, and the longest being 507. Sedgefield also has 4 par-3’s, with two playing in the 170’s and 2 playing in the 230’s, and 2 par-5’s that are 529 yards and 545. Both par 5’s are eagle-able holes, so expect to see a bunch of 3’s on the scorecards from these holes. Only a couple of holes have greenside bunkers, but there is a creek that runs through the course, so there will be water in play on a lot of holes. However, we should still expect to see extremely low scores.
Thursday and Friday should play with no problems. It’s going to be hot, so the ball is going to go a bit longer than usual, but the players should be used to that by now. Saturday and Sunday is a different story though. There could be thunderstorms in the area that could potentially halt play, so that will be something to look out for.
The field features 156 players, including last years winner Henrick Stenson and every player that is on the bubble of the top 125 in FedEx Cup points. One player to mention that is a part of this “on the bubble” group, is Sergio Garcia. Sergio is ranked 133rd in FedEx Cup points, which is notable due to the fact that he has never missed the postseason since it was created back in 2007. I’ve heard many people say that they expect Sergio to use this as a drive to perform well this week, and I’m here to say the exact opposite. Sergio’s recent form has been terrible, and he hasn’t made a cut in what seems like forever. I think this will be a historic year for Sergio, but not in a positive manner. If any of you reading this play any form of fantasy golf, avoid Sergio at all costs.
This section is going to be pretty short because since the field is weak, there won’t be a lot to mention about the middle and lower-tier guys.
This week, my top-tier pick is going to be Joaquin Niemann. This guy is making a serious case for rookie of the year. Honestly, I don’t see how it could go to anyone else. Niemann is, in my opinion, the best player in this field and it seems crazy to me that they didn’t give him the outright best odds to win. He has four top-10’s this year, and one other top-20, with only four missed cuts. He is also the only player in the field that ranked in the top-10 in pretty much every stat category I looked at. Since the off-the-tee game isn’t important this week, and the holes are short, the categories I looked at for this week were greens in regulation 150-175 yards, GIR in general, proximity to the hole, and birdie-or-better 150-175. In those categories, Niemann ranks sixth, second, second, and second. Because of this, I think Niemann has a solid chance to win this week, which would also allow him entry into the FedEx Cup playoffs next week even though he has special temporary member status.
In the middle tier, my pick is Sam Ryder. This, along with the lower-tier, are predominantly feel picks. However, Sam does check off a couple of categories. He’s tenth in GIR 150-175 and fourth in GIR in general. He’s also twenty-seventh in proximity to the hole, which puts him at top-10 in the field. He’s also fighting to stay in the FedEx Cup playoffs, and he’s been playing well recently with two top-10’s in his last three starts. I think Sam Ryder has a phenomenal week this week, at a course that fits his playing style, and finishes in the top-10.
In the lower tier, I’ll be honest, I had no idea who to choose from. There are a ton of guys in this range that I’ve never even heard of, and I feel like I keep up with golf enough to know of almost all the players. So since I’m pretty much throwing darts here, I’m going to go with J.J. Henry. Of all of the guys in this range, he is the only one to have a top-40 placement in GIR 150-175 and GIR in general, placing thirty-sixth and tenth respectively. He also has some decent course history here with a T-16 last year and a T-32 in 2014. However, he also had two back-to-back missed cuts in 2015 and 2016 to go with it, so take that with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, he does seem to be the best lower tier pick, and I’m willing to say that if he makes the cut, he will place in the top half of the field.
I’m honestly excited to get to watch this tournament, which might sound contrary to everyone else because I haven’t gotten to focus in and actually watch Niemann this year because there are usually other guys that I have my eye on. Now with him being my top play, I’m pumped to be able to see what this talented young guy has to bring to the table.