The year’s major championships are out the way, leaving the tour’s season finales at the forefront of everyone’s mind. This week’s Wyndham Championship is the last event of the PGA Tour season before the FedExCup Play-Offs and offers the last opportunity for players to qualify.
Only players from inside the FedExCup rankings top 125 will make it to the Play-Off opener – The Northern Trust – next week. And with those safely qualified taking time to rest up after the PGA Championship and before the final series, it offers a huge opportunity for those players outside the qualification spots.
Most significantly, Graeme McDowell, Shane Lowry and Smylie Kaufman all sit just outside the qualification spots and enter at Sedgefield Country Club this week in an attempt to make a last minute leap into the Play-Offs. McDowell has the confidence of a tied fifth finish at this event last year to boost his chances; but Shane Lowry has only managed a tied 42nd in one appearance and Kaufman is making his Wyndham debut.
It’s also a worrying situation for players sitting on the fringe of the top 125. Daniel Summerhays (124th), Geoff Ogilvy (125th) and Cameron Tringale (126th) all stand on the FedExCup Play-Off precipice and enter this week to try and clinch their place.
In a weak field in the wake of the PGA Championship, only Henrik Stenson enters from inside the world’s top 30. He won’t be joined by reigning champion, Si Woo Kim, either as back injury keeps him out. Kim lit Sedgefield up last year, setting the 18-hole and equalling the 72-hole records of 60 and 259 respectively en route to claiming first PGA Tour title by five shots.
There are returning champions, though, in Camilo Villegas (2014), Webb Simpson (2011), Arjun Atwal (2010), Ryan Moore (2009), Carl Pettersson (2008), K.J. Choi (2005) and three-time champion Davis Love III (1992, 2006 & 2015).
The Wyndham Championship takes place at Sedgefield Country Club for the 10th consecutive year this week, having lost hosting rights from 1977 to 2007. The 7,127 yard Ross Course is the track the players face and as a par 70 it’s not menial by any means.
The 500 FedExCup points for the winner could be very useful for someone far out from Play-Off qualification, but an encouraging stat for those on the cusp is that every year this event sees an average of 2.6 players book themselves a last minute ticket to Play-Off series opener.