Quick look at the Wyndham Championship
August 16, 2017
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
Inside the PGA TOUR
Final push for the FedExCup Playoffs
The projected lowest number is 352. According to the PGA TOUR’s ShotLink team, that’s the minimum number of points needed after this week’s Wyndham Championship to make the 125-man field advancing to the FedExCup Playoffs.
A year ago, the No. 125th player after Wyndham had 454 points. In 2015, it was 458 points. In 2014, it was 438 points.
If the projections (the high-end projection is 363 points) hold after this week, 352 points is significantly lower than in recent years. In fact, it would be the lowest minimum points since 2011, when it took 334 points to make the Playoffs.
Why the decrease?
With FedExCup points now determining which players get their PGA TOUR cards, the FedExCup tie tables were adjusted this season in order to more closely align with the money list (which previously had been a determining card factor). The changes placed greater emphasis this season on high finishes, particularly top 10s – much like the standard purse breakdown.
This means more points are now weighted at the top – and with four players winning three or more tournaments this season, that point distribution was weighted even more.
Consider this: the top four in points going into Wyndham are Hideki Matsuyama (three wins), Justin Thomas (four wins), Jordan Spieth (three wins) and Dustin Johnson (three wins). They’ve combined for 10,694 points. A year ago, the top four in points going into Wyndham had a combined 9,500 points.
By collecting nearly 1,200 more points, the top four have made the points list more top-heavy this season.
Based on the 352 projection, that means 122 of the 125 players in points have already accumulated enough points to make the Playoffs – meaning that three spots are still up for grabs.
The three players currently inside the top 125 who are not yet at 352 points are Seamus Power, Daniel Summerhays and Geoff Ogilvy. They are wearing the targets at Sedgefield that all others outside the top 125 now have their sights on. (Click here to see the live projected points standings).
It’s the story within a story that makes the Wyndham Championship so intriguing each season.
The 507-yard par-4 18th is the longest par-4 at Sedgefield; it was also the toughest hole on the course last year, playing to a stroke average of 0.301 strokes above par. That made it the sixth toughest closing hole on the PGA TOUR last season. Here’s an overview of the hole.
Sedgefield CC - Hole No. 18
THE LANDING ZONE
The par-4 eighth is the easiest and shortest par-4 at Sedgefield, with a scorecard length of 374 yards. In two of the four rounds last year, the hole played at 351 yards. No player drove the green; the longest recorded drive was 318 yards. With a bunker guarding the left front of the green, and other bunkers along the fairway to the right of the landing zone, the play for most is to land short of the left bunker, leaving a short wedge shot. Players still have to guard against the creek running up the left side; 10 players took penalty strokes last year. Here’s a look at where all drives landed in 2016.
PGA TOUR meteorologist Stewart Williams says potential scattered afternoon showers and thunderstorms are in the forecast for Thursday. Added Williams: “Looks like an approaching cold front will keep the chance for showers and thunderstorms in the forecast Friday into Friday night. The front should slowly push to the south of the Triad on Saturday, decreasing our chances for thunderstorms as we go through the day. Partly cloudy skies can be expected on Sunday with highs in the upper 80s.”
For the latest weather news in Greensboro, North Carolina, check out PGATOUR.COM’s Weather Hub.
It's a great course, a lot of character. You've got to hit a lot of different shots off the tees, into the greens, a lot of different clubs. I enjoy golf courses like that.
ODDS AND ENDS
1. EASY GREENS. Last season, the greens at Sedgefield played as the second-easiest greens to hit from inside 125 yards of any course on TOUR. Players hit the green in 1,829 of 2,055 attempts (89 percent) from inside this distance.
2. 54-HOLE JINX. In the last 17 PGA TOUR events, the 54-hole leader has failed to convert that lead into victory a total of 15 times. The only player in that span to win after carrying the third-round lead is Jordan Spieth, who did it at both the Travelers Championship and The Open Championship.
3. TOP 5 OPPORTUNITY. Kevin Kisner, who at No. 9 is the highest-ranked FedExCup player in the field, is the only player who can move inside the top 5 should he win this week.
4. THREE OF 16. Of the 16 players who have qualified for the FedExCup Playoffs every year, three are in the Wyndham field – Bill Haas (34), Ryan Moore (67) and Luke Donald (105). All three are guaranteed a Playoffs spot for the 11th consecutive year.