putting series

08/17/2015

Heading back to Sedgefield Country Club and the Wyndham Championship– the final event of the 2015 PGA Tour season before the the playoffs start at the Barclays on August 27th.

Now before I go too much further, let me point out that Wyndham is a hotel corporation (that has gone through a lot of litigation) and yes, Tiger Woods is in the field making a last ditch effort at the FedEx Cup.

And before I get into the rest of the preview, if I think that I have trouble typing and spelling the name Wyndham consistently, I can’t imagine what the Simpson family (Webb Simpson, not Homer) went through filling out baby papers after giving birth to a girl and naming her Wyndham (in honor of Webb’s first Tour win).

I think I’ve misspelled the word every time I’ve typed it. Wyndham Championship. Wyndham Championship. Wyndham Championship. Wyndham Championship. Wyndham Championship. There, that should help.

Last week’s PGA Championship win (that I correctly called for the 3rd straight year!) by Jason Day was epic. Click the image below to read my thoughts:

Screenshot 2015-08-17 00.44.06

Read about Jason Day’s win

Course

Another Pete Dye course, oh my, oh my. Whistling Straits proved to be the perfect PGA Championship test, another Dye design, but this week’s course will set-up much easier.

Not sure if the scores will reflect it without the sharpened major championship focus of the world’s best players, but Sedgefield is a much easier golf course than Whistling Straits, I guarantee you that.

View the entire course here!

News, Notes and Historicals

  • First recognized as the Greater Greensboro Open, the event had the city (Greensboro, NC) in the title until 2007 when the name changed to the Wyndham Championship
  • Charlie Sifford was competed in 1961 as the first African-American to ever compete in a Tour event in the South
  • Sam Snead owned this event, winning it 8 times
  • Arjun Atwal, perhaps the biggest surprise winner in the past 10 years on Tour, won here in 2010 after Monday qualifying.
  • Sedgefield CC has been one of the main homes for the event throughout the entirety of its history

wyndham

Last 5 Winners

2014: Camilo Villegas (Read more here)

2013: Patrick Reed (Watch more here)

2012: Sergio Garcia (Read more here)

2011: Webb Simpson

2010: Arjun Atwal (Read story here)

Don’t forget this epic finish between Reed and Spieth in 2013. I completely forgot about Spieth’s putt in the playoff.

This Week’s Picks

One from the Fairway (Contender)

Bill Haas

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Billy H (not that Billy H) almost nabbed another victory here last year on his way to a T2 finish.

Really good play a few weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National (T4) was following some horrendous play (CUT-CUT) at the Greenbrier and Open Championship and was followed by some really average play (T65) at the PGA last week.

Through it all, Haas has to remain one of the favorites heading into the week. One of the top ranked players in the field at #29, Haas will find contention this week in North Carolina. North Carolina isn’t far from South Carolina, despite what people may tell you…

Brooks Koepka

brooks koepka

Riding the hot hand this week, as Koepka sat comfortably on my bench throughout the week at the PGA. He’s playing some of the best golf on the Tour right now (aside from the obvious culprits). Koepka’s game is big-time and his play at Whistling Straits will vault him into another week of good play in North Carolina.

The finish last week was the 7th time in a row that he’s finished inside the top-25 and last year, he closed out this event with a final round 64. Brooks.

brooks

Billy Horschel

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I can’t leave the octopus pants alone…

He hasn’t won this year and only has two top-10s, but don’t let that fool you. Billy Ho has made some noise on the PGA Tour this year. Dating back to the Valero Texas Open (where he placed 3rd), Billy has notched top-25s nine different times and boasted top-30s in each of the season’s last 3 majors.

Registering a second round 65 here last year and a third round 66 in 2012, he has the ability to put up the scores at Sedgefield CC.

I think this week is another week where Billy gets things going and he finishes with a top-10. He’s 15th in GIR and 8th in ball striking. In a weak field event, Billy will rise to the top.

One from the Rough (Sleeper)

Heath Slocum

Screenshot 2015-08-17 16.16.42

The ultimate sleeper pick on the year– Heath Slocum. His 2015 season has been an utter disaster. He’s missed almost every cut on the season (okay, fine, he’s made 6 cuts, but still) and has posted almost as many 76s and higher than made cuts (okay, fine, he’s only did that 5 times, but still).

Heath Slocum’s performance on the year has been saddening to say the least. For every Jordan Spieth racking up millions and top-10s, there are the Heath Slocums of the Tour– great players with multiple wins who struggle to keep their card.

So why do I like Heath Slocum this week? Two reason: desperation and track record.

The 41-year old needs to make something happen this week to earn a spot in the playoffs and only a great finish this week will do him that justice. He will claw his way up this week’s leaderboard, on a course that suits his game, and string together solid play. Veterans do that type of stuff.

A t-17 in 2011, t-31 in 2012 and a solo 5th last year have the Wyndham up there among one of Slocum’s best annual events on the Tour. One of his 4 career wins came at the Barclays, the site of next week’s stop. Slocum likes playing good golf in late August.

The ultimate sleeper of 2015, I like Heath Slocum for a sneaky, sneaky top-20 finish.

The Winner at the Wyndham

Branden Grace

branden grace

I think Branden Grace has the feeling of every villain in the history Scooby-Doo cartoons.

“I would have gotten away with it, if it wasn’t for that meddling Jordan Spieth and those double bogies…” 

Seriously though, Branden Grace’s play in the majors in 2015 was nothing short of incredible. Look at this stretch of hot play from the South African.

Screenshot 2015-08-17 16.44.05

And without a few untimely doubles and some phenomenal play by a few select notables, Grace could have easily made himself a major championship winner. He’s 8th in Strokes Gained Putting and has propelled himself to inside the world’s top-20.

I think he wins this week. In ode to Day’s shedding the monkey from his back at the PGA, Grace joins the monkey tossing group this week.

A win at the Wyndham for Grace.