Inside the Ropes
Sedgefield Country Club, Greensboro, North Carolina
Sedgefield Country Club
Yards: 7,117 as per the scorecard
Par: 70 (35-35)
Greens: Champion Bermudagrass
Rough: Bermudagrass at 2 inches
Water Hazards: There are 12 creeks and one pond. Pond is definitely better for you.
Course Architect: Donald Ross (1926); Redesign: Kris Spence (2007)
Winner’s Share: $936,000 and 500 FedExCup points.
Defending Champion: Webb Simpson, after missing the cut at the PGA, won for the first time in his career as he beat George McNeill by three shots.
Date: August 16-20
Notes: This is the FINAL week for players to make the top 125 and the FedExCup Playoffs. Number 126 is the unluckiest number this week.
The Wyndham Championship has been on the PGA TOUR schedule since 1938.
Gamers, this event was played from 1977-2007 at Forest Oaks Country Club before moving to Sedgefield Country Club in 2008.
The four winners at Sedgefield Country Club have been Carl Pettersson (2008), Ryan Moore (2009), Arjun Atwal (2010) and Webb Simpson in 2011.
Moore, Atwal and Simpson all were first-time winners. Moore and Atwal haven’t won again on TOUR. Simspson won again two weeks later at the Deutsche Bank last season when he defeated Chez Reavie in a playoff. Moore won a three-man playoff. Atwal was a Monday qualifier. Simpson was the best player on TOUR last year without a win. You get a little bit of everything at this classic Donald Ross set-up.
“Young” Guns versus “Middle” Guns versus “Old” Guns
In 36 events on TOUR in 2012 the “Young” have taken the lead with one event left on the back of Rory McIlroy’s second win on TOUR this year. McIlroy becomes the second-youngest PGA Champion in history behind Gene Sarazen. The season series now stands at 17-16-3.
For the “Young”, age during their victory in ( ), Johnson Wagner (31), Brandt Snedeker (31), Kyle Stanley (24), Bill Haas (29), John Huh (21), Hunter Mahan TWICE (29) Rory McIlroy TWICE (22), Justin Rose (31), Rickie Fowler (23), Dustin Johnson (27), Webb Simpson (26), Marc Leishman (29), Ted Potter, Jr. (28), Scott Stallings (27) and Keegan Bradley (26) are your winners.
The “Middle” guys are Mark Wilson (37), George McNeill (36), Luke Donald (34), Tiger Woods THRICE (36), Bubba Watson (33), Carl Pettersson (34), Ben Curtis (34), Matt Kuchar (33), Jason Dufner TWICE (35), Zach Johnson TWICE (36), Scott Piercy (33) and J.J. Henry (37) have been victorious.
Steve Stricker (44), Phil Mickelson (41) and Ernie Els (42) are the only “Old” guys to hit the board in 2012. At least 33% of their wins are majors! Vijay Singh, 49, gave it the ol’ college try for 50 holes but couldn’t find the finish line on Sunday.
So What? So Let’s Dance!
In May of 2012, Sedgefield Country Club replaced their bentgrass greens with Champion Bermudagrass. This course will now play quite differently than it did the last four years with the Bermudagrass in place. Bentgrass needs constant water during the hotter months and therefore remains soft and receptive. Having bentgrass is extremely helpful on Donald Ross designs where the greens slope from back to front and that’s why the scores were averaging over 19-under-par to win the last four years. Champion Bermudagrass, on the other hand, can stand extreme heat without having to be constantly watered. This means these “new” greens will be fast and furious and not all shots from the fairway will hold. The good news is that the course is only 7,117 yards but the main challenge this week will be GIR and being able to hole putts on these new surfaces. According to the PGA Professional at Sedgefield, Rocky Brooks, one pro told him that with Champion Bermudagrass greens that the days of the winning score pushing 20-under-par would be long gone and single digits would be more reasonable. This will be their first tournament with Champion Bermudagrass in place so I’m going to focus on players who can GIR and have skills with the short stick.
When evaluating players this week, I’m not going to get too wrapped up if they were cut last week at Kiawah Island. The weather on Friday was rubbish. The players haven’t played that course enough times to find any trends. I have a feeling Webb Simpson, even though he was cut last week will be more than competitive this week.
This week, we’ll go with the Elite Eight in honor of Slammin’ Sam Snead who won this event a record eight times in his career.
Jason Dufner: He already has two wins on TOUR this season. He’s on the Ryder Cup team. He got married. Everything else is gravy and he’s still playing excellent golf. He closed up the weekend at the PGA in five-under par (68-71). This will be his fifth tournament on this course so he should be nice and familiar with his surroundings.
Webb Simpson: Last year’s champion and Charlotte resident, Simpson knocked his rust off last week at Kiawah and should be ready to fire this week. He broke out here last year for his first win and then backed it up just two weeks later at the Deutsche Bank in Boston. He did all that after missing the cut at the PGA last year as well. Déjà vu? With his game, it’s hard for me to leave him out when he’s in the field but unless you’re Steve Stircker, it’s not easy to repeat on TOUR.
Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker won his first-career event here in 2007 when the event was played at Forest Oaks for the final time before moving to Sedgefield. Snedeker is one of the best putters on TOUR and never has a problem making birdies so he should be in the mix this week after being cut last week at the PGA.
Bill Haas: Another resident from Charlotte, Haas has had a steady, yet quiet, run here of late as he’s made his last four cuts in a row. His last four finishes, three of them being big events (WGC, majors) have been T33, T19, T19 and T32 so he’s getting close. I like the way he’s trending and I like that he shot 73 at the PGA on Friday in impossible conditions.
David Toms: In his last three events on TOUR Toms has cranked out T4 (U.S. Open) T8 (WGC-BI) and T42 last week at the PGA. He’s also playing here for the fifth year in a row and has made the cut in his previous four events with solo second in 2010 and T17 last year being his two best finishes. Toms is looking to move up from position 65 on the FedExCup and this track should help him achieve that goal.
Carl Pettersson: Let’s see what the golfing gods have in store for the 2008 champion this week at Sedgefield Country Club. Pettersson was assessed a two-stroke penalty on Sunday after extensive video replay showed that he moved a leaf in a hazard on the first hole. Pettersson is the only person in America who thinks HD television is overrated. He soldiered on and made four birdies in five holes but that two shot penalty was too much to overcome. I’ll root for a guy who QUIT going to the gym any day and this is essentially “homecoming” for the N.C. State grad.
Tim Clark: Clark and Pettersson should form the Odd Couple and make a video like The Golf Boys. They both went to N.C. State. They both use the long putter. They are both not from the U.S. They are quite a bit different in stature but both are excellent players. Clark has rebounded nicely from his injuries and in his last two events he’s finished T15 (RBC Canadian) and T11 last week at Kiawah Island. When Pettersson won at Harbour Town in April, they were roomies for the week. Wonder if they are rooming together this week? Clark needs a solid finish this week to move him up from his current position of 109 on the FedExCup points list.
Josh Teater: I’m hopping on the “Teater Heater” again this week as he looks to make it four-consecutive events in the top 10. His reign of terror began with a solo ninth-place finish at the True South. He took his talents north of the border to bang out T4 at the RBC Canadian before he flew across the continent to hit another top 10 (solo seventh) at Reno-Tahoe. He’ll add some more frequent flyer miles this week as he heads to Greensboro and hopefully, he’ll add another top 10!
Five More That Could Surprise:
Blake Adams: As I mentioned in The Takeaway after the PGA, Adams has played 26 events in 2012 out of 36. He must like the way his game is flowing to stay in this field after his T7 last week at the PGA Championship. He’s currently 76th in points, so those 26 starts haven’t gotten him as far as he would like but he’s looking to pad that number to get back to TPC Boston where he was T10 last year. Sure, I’ll take a swing!
Ken Duke: He only broke par on Thursday at the PGA last week so he’ll be happy to see a track where his lack of distance won’t matter. As many putts as he holes, Duke can be a sneaky factor this week. He’s quietly 32nd on the points list but doesn’t have a finish better than T5. The good news is he has and handful of T7’s to go with that. He’s never won on TOUR.
William McGirt: He was red-hot before crashing out at his first major last week. After missing the cut in three of four, McGirt turned the corner at the True South Classic where he finished T5. The following week at the RBC Canadian Open he had a birdie putt to tie Scott Piercy on the 72nd hole to force a playoff but it fell just short and he settled for T2. He fell victim to 79 last Friday so I think he’ll be back to holing putts this week on a much easier track.
John Mallinger: Horse-for-course pick here. He was T12 last year and T3 in 2011. He was T11 at the AT&T but followed that up with MC, MC before hopping back into the top 5 (solo fourth) his last time out at Reno-Tahoe. This will be all or nothing, so hang on!
Jason Bohn: Another horse-for-course as Bohn has finished T12 and T2 in his last two outings at Sedgefield. He was second at True South, MC at RBC Canadian and was T19 at Reno-Tahoe two weeks ago. He’s 123rd and on the cusp. FIRE UP!
Outside Looking In:
These 10 players have to play well this week or their fates will be decided by somebody else. Only the top 125 advance after this week, period. No exceptions!
Five on the RIGHT side:
Jerry Kelly 120
Boo Weekley 121
Trevor Immelman 122
Jason Bohn 123
Jhonattan Vegas 124
Rod Pampling 125
Five on the WRONG side:
Brendan Steele 126
Retief Goosen 127 (He’s not in the field!)
Heath Slocum 128
Y.E. Yang 129
Gary Woodland 130
Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge: The Wyndham Championship (Glass Picks)
Group 1: Jason Dufner
Group 2: Blake Adams
Group 3: Josh Teater
Group 4: Heath Slocum
Ned said, “…
Ned Brown is a long-time contributor for Rotoworld Golf. He’s had documented success in Yahoo!’s game for years. Even if you’re confident in your selections for that game, give his insight a read. Now, Ned also provides us with his Golf Channel fantasy game selections as well!
Full Disclosure: I am NOT Ned! He’s smarter and better looking!
Webb Simpson-- I wasn't that surprised that Simpson missed the cut at the PGA Championship after taking four weeks off for the birth of his daughter. He is the defending champion here and I think he will revert back to the form that he showed in the mid-summer.
Nick Watney-- He missed the cut last week at the PGA, but prior to that he was playing well with top 25s in his prior five events.
Sergio Garcia, Charles Howell III, Chez Reavie
Brandt Snedeker-- Another player that missed the cut last week, but who had been playing well going in to the final Major. His win at the Wyndham came just before the switch to Sedgefield, but he has had some success here with a T5 result in '09 and a T8 in '10.
Tim Clark-- In recent months, Clark is showing signs of returning to the player he was before the elbow injury. He hasn't played here in three years, but he did have a T6 when the tournament switch to Sedgefield in '08.
David Toms-- He was playing his best golf of the season going into the PGA Championship and made the cut, but finished well back in the pack. He has finished here in the top 25 for the last three seasons, with his best finish being a T2 in '10.
Ryan Moore-- I'm taking a shot with Moore because he is a past champion here ('09) and he looked good at the John Deere Classic, where he tied for eighth place.
Nicolas Colsaerts, Bill Haas, Gary Woodland, Tommy Gainey, Brendon de Jonge
Carl Pettersson-- Played great last week at the PGA Championship and he would have finished in solo second place if wasn't for the two-stroke penalty to open his final round. Pettersson won the Wyndham when it switched to Sedgefield in '08 and he played well here last year in a T4 finish.
Henrik Stenson-- Normally, I would play Jason Dufner but I'm down to two starts and I want to save him for the Playoffs. Stenson hasn't played in awhile, but prior to that he was playing well on the European Tour with top eight finishes in his last three starts. He has missed the cut in his only two starts at the Wyndham, so he is an attempt to play the current hot hand.
Jason Dufner, Charl Schwartzel, John Daly, Trevor Immelman, John Mallinger, Josh Teater
Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge: The Wyndham Championship (Ned’s Picks)
Group 1: Webb Simpson
Group 2: Henrik Stenson
Group 3: Tim Clark
Group 4: Patrick Cantlay
“And another thing…”
The analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton will be co-hosting a one-hour live chat with TheGolfNewsNet.com's Ryan Ballengee on Wednesday at NOON ET. They will be breaking down the field at The Wyndham Championship and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter.