After a thrilling PGA Championship with a star studded leaderboard, the best golfers in the world travel back to the East Coast and play the final tournament of the regular season. The week the PGA Tour plays the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, NC.
Here’s everything to know about the tournament before placing a single wager on it.
The field list may change, as it plays on the heels of a major championship and primarily serves two purposes. One – players who love money and are hanging around the Wyndham Rewards Top 10 may opt to play the tournament for a chance at a nice $500K minimum payout. But more importantly is that the FedEx Top 125 playoff field will be set following the conclusion of this tournament. Anyone who played last week’s PGA Championship and garnered enough points to comfortably move into the Top 125 might opt for a week off to get ready for the playoffs.
The prohibitive favorite of the tournament is undoubtedly Webb Simpson, a Tar Heel native and an absolute horse for the course. Webb earned his first ever PGA Tour victory with a win here back in 2011, and has placed 2nd, 2nd and 3rd in his last three Wyndham Championships. Get ready for everyone in the fantasy and gambling industry to not only regurgitate that exact talking point, but make him their pick to win or lock DFS play of the week.
Other notables include Brooks Koepka, Justin Rose, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Paul Casey, Abraham Ancer, Sungjae Im, Billy Horschel, Kevin Kisner, and Shane Lowry.
For the full field list, click here.
The Golf Course
Often overlooked because of its relatively weak fields, Sedgefield Country Club is one of the finest golf clubs the PGA Tour plays every year. Sedgefield Country Club is the only Donald Ross designed golf course that is played on the PGA Tour, and was built in 1925.
In its early years it played host of the Greater Greensboro Open (the traditional name of this tournament) and was dominated by Sam Snead. There’s a famous story that Sam Snead (who famously buried his money in tomato cans in his backyard) after his seventh straight victory at the golf course jokingly asked the owner of Sedgefield to dig up his tomato cans and fix up the golf course to make it harder. The owner then banned Snead from the property!
Like many Donald Ross golf courses, years of neglect eroded the quality of the golf course. Pure Donald Ross golf courses have very challenging greens and green surrounds, and over time if they’re not properly maintained the quality and difficulty of them fades away. In 2007, the golf course was restored to its original roots by Kris Spence and also lengthened to handle the added length of PGA Tour players. That was enough to convince the PGA Tour to return the Greater Greensboro Open to to Sedgefield, where its been held ever since:
Kris Spence and his team did a really great job renovating the golf course to its original Donald Ross roots. While not overly long, the bermudagrass golf course presents challenges with rolling fairways and inconveniently placed bunkers tee-to-green. The greens and the greens surrouds, however, are what make the golf course special. As expected from a Donald Ross design, the putting surfaces are often raised from the surrounding terrain and features several collection areas that’ll run the ball far away from the surface. The greens overall are fairly large for PGA Tour standards, but those who miss greens face very challenging up and downs for par.
The routing of the golf course is also really good. Hole after hole golfers tee off in a totally different direction than where they just played. That increases the challenge because of the changing of wind direction and sloping of the property hole to hole.
Despite these challenges, overall the golf course is relative easy for the pros. The winning score has eclipsed -20 in each of the last four tournaments, and the cut line in general hovers around -3 every year.
As just mentioned, guys go deep under par at this event almost every single year. But contrary to what one might expect at a birdie fest event, overall the winners of this tournament haven’t put up lights out putting stats on their way to the win. Last year’s winner J.T. Poston (an excellent putter in his own right), only gained a little over a stroke per round putting and was 17th in the field on the week. In 2018, Brandt Snedeker (yet another excellent putter) gained less than a stroke per round putting on his way to the win. And 2016 winner Si Woo Kim only gained 0.18 strokes per round putting on his way to the win.
Rather, driving accuracy and iron play are much, much more important measures to success at this tournament:
Given the layout of the golf course, this isn’t all that surprising. While the players generally will be able to carry most of the fairway bunkers on the property, its vital to hit approach shots from the short grass because of how undulating the greens are. It’ll be tough sledding to access certain pin locations without the ability to spin the ball properly onto the green.
In addition, iron play is important for two reasons. First, the surrounding areas around the greens are quite challenging and make for tough up and downs for pars. But more importantly is that because the greens are bigger than average on the PGA Tour, it is vital that players hit them in regulation or else they’ll be at a significant disadvantage from the rest of the field. Anyone with loose iron play on the week has almost no shot at a good finish.
Unfortunately, this tournament is fairly weak with talent. While there’s lots of accurate players off the tee, there’s not a lot of premium iron players in the field. As such, identifying which middling tour player will have an outstanding ball striking week may be a bit of a challenge.
In terms of horses for courses, the five players in the field who have at least 12 rounds at Sedgefield Country Club and have the most success there include Jim Furyk, Webb Simpson, Rory Sabbatini, Zach Johnson and Patrick Reed.
Lastly, the closest correlated golf courses on the PGA Tour in terms of importance of relative skill sets include Muirfield Village, TPC Sawgrass, Innisbrook, TPC River Highlands and East Lake GC. Players in the field with the most success at these golf courses include Justin Rose, Webb Simpson, Jordan Spieth, Paul Casey, Jim Furyk, Ryan Moore, Jason Dufner, Luke Donald and Bo Van Pelt.