If you equate the conclusion of the PGA TOUR season to the final leg of a marathon, then the Wyndham Championship is run downhill with a tailwind and a bottomless reservoir of adrenaline.
For the second consecutive season, Sedgefield Country Club, which debuted as host of the tournament in 2008, was the easiest par 70 the TOUR underhand-tossed its members. Last year alone, there was a 61 and five 62s turned in en route to an overall scoring average of 68.858. The pair of par 5s – Nos. 5 and 15 – ranked as the second-easiest of the season, rolling over for an average of 4.45. At just 7,127 yards – one yard shorter than last week’s test for the Olympics – length isn’t required to succeed at Sedgefield. Neither is hitting fairways, so the focus should be on manufacturing as many scoring opportunities as possible. It’s an objective that works anywhere, of course, but especially on a track where the cut was 3-under 137 in 2015.
Last year’s field averaged 13.22 greens in regulation per round, sixth-highest of the season, so there are second chances after wayward drives, which means the field can be aggressive off the tee. Davis Love III prevailed by one stroke. He ranked T18 in GIR, seventh in proximity to the hole and third in strokes gained: putting. Perhaps most impressive is that he secured his 21st PGA TOUR title at the age of 51. DL3 will not defend this week as he continues to recover from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip on July 6. His plate is full, anyway, as the captain of the American Ryder Cup team on which many in the field are aiming to join. The deadline to qualify automatically aligns with the scheduled conclusion of The Barclays on Aug. 28.
The factors for success at Sedgefield define the shootout mentality with status on the line as well. The top 125 in both FedExCup points and earnings will be fully exempt on the PGA TOUR in 2016-17. Of course, only those inside the first bubble will qualify for the Playoffs. Members who finish outside both top 125s but inside the top 200 in FedExCup points are eligible for the Web.com Tour Finals.
The threat of rain and thunderstorms cannot be ruled out throughout the tournament. Warm and muggy conditions will dominate the outdoor experience with virtually no wind expected. This combination of factors supports the likelihood that low numbers will abound in Greensboro, North Carolina, once again.
ROB BOLTON'S WRITING SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM's Fantasy Columnist Rob Bolton will be filing his usual staples leading up to this week's event. Look for the following features later this week:
TUESDAY*: Sleepers, Fantasy Insider, Comfort Zone
THURSDAY: Most-picked players
* = Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM's Expert Picks, which also publishes on Tuesdays.