With the season's final major tucked away in the history books, the rank and file return to business as usual at this week's Wyndham Championship. And that means a play-in game for many of the hopefuls for the FedExCup Playoffs.
Only the top 125 in the standings will qualify and secure fully exempt status for 2014-15. (Those inside the top 125 in earnings will also be fully exempt next season.) It's a familiar theme at a tournament celebrating its 75th anniversary. Fittingly, eight-time champion Sam Snead won the inaugural edition in 1938.
Sedgefield Country Club's Donald Ross Course serves as the site for the seventh consecutive year. (Sedgefield hosted or co-hosted off and on from 1938-1976.) The stock par 70 had been a relative pushover until last year when it ranked as the hardest of five par 70s that average under par. Its 69.972 scoring average is the highest in its brief recent history. The field hit a tournament-low 66.81 percent of the greens in regulation and averaged a tournament-high 36'8" in proximity to the hole. That measurement ranked 10th-highest in all of 2013.
Scoring on every set of the pars was also at an all-time high, so it's no surprised that defending champion Patrick Reed's 14-under 266 is the highest winning aggregate since the tournament returned to Sedgefield. En route to his breakthrough on the PGA TOUR, he led the field in GIR, ranked second in proximity and fifth in strokes gained-putting. That'll play just fine again this week, while distance over accuracy off the tee is preferred as Sedgefield tops out at just 7,127 yards.
Mother Nature is doing the field of 156 a solid by opening a window of fair conditions throughout the tournament. Aside from a slight threat of rain at the back end of the weekend, it should be dry and mostly sunny. High temperatures will hit the upper 80s at times and winds will be light.