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The End Is Near (Here): Wyndham Championship Preview

Wyndham Championship - Final Round

Hello friends. Do you know what that photo is? I’ll tell you — that photo is a metaphor. It’s a metaphor for the end of the PGA Tour season. The sun setting on yet another year of golf. Professional writer here. No big deal.

In the midst of a bunch of major championship and FedEx Cup playoff golf, we’ve got the final regular season PGA Tour stop of the year. The boys are in Greensboro, North Carolina, and before you snooze your ass off here, you need to know that this golf course fuqs.

I’m a huge Donald Ross guy. I’ve said before and I’ll say again — my favorite track I’ve ever played is Essex County Club on Massachusetts’ north shore. Ross lived on the course, doctoring it constantly, ultimately producing an incredible combination of difficulty, fun, intricacy, and fresh variance. There’s really only one hole on the entire property I don’t love (the 6th).

The main focus this week will be on the top-125 in the FedEx Cup standings. With the playoffs starting next week on Long Island, anyone and everyone near the bubble is teeing it up this week. They need good showings.

The defending champ is this year’s Players champ, Si Woo Kim. The biggest winner in tournament history is Sam Snead, with 8. He won the inaugural event in 1938.

The Track

Sedgefield Country Club

Sedgefield County Club is a classic Donald Ross, opened in 1926. Although I’ve never played it, I’ve gotten to know the course a bit better over the past year, and over the past few days leading up to the event, and I love it. At 7,130 yards, with a par of 70, it’s not particularly long for these dudes.

It’s the only Donald Ross track on the annual Tour roto. It’s old, traditional, experienced and — if you hit it in the wrong spots — tough. But if you’re crafty, you can get around mostly with an iron.

Like this guy in 2015. RIP Tiger.

It doesn’t wow you with crazy holes, nor does it need to. It’s difficulty comes in its subtleties. As the Fried Egg guys write, whom I’m quickly becoming obsessed with, the way the slopes are used against one another really makes this layout tricky.

From an architectural perspective, Sedgefield C.C. is one of the best stops on Tour. What I love about the Donald Ross design is how the land and slopes were used to create a subtle challenge. If you watch the telecast, check out how the green will favor a certain shot shape while the fairway will slope to promote the opposite flight. This nuanced design is prevalent across the course, notably on the par four 17th where the green favors a left to right shot but the slope of the fairway promotes a right to left shot.

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Notable Holes

9th, 416 yard, par 4

Wyndham Championship - Final Round

You all know how I feel about clubhouses. Especially American clubhouses. Sedgefield has, in my opinion, a beautiful one and the 9th brings you right to it. Therefore, I love the 9th. At 416, it’s not notably long but does play uphill. With a good drive it’s a nice birdie opp to get you steamrolling into the back.

15th, 545 yards, par 5

Sedgefield Country Club

The 15th is an awesome 5-par. And with its pivotal positioning late on the back nine, it’s even better. At 545, all these guys can reach in two with a good tee ball. But as you can see from the photo, any imperfectly struck second will likely find the aqua. A solid risk/rewarder coming down the stretch. Tickles my fancy.

18th, 507 yards, par 4

Wyndham Championship - Final Round

At 500+ yards, the 18th at Sedge is the best type of finishing hole — a difficult par 4. I don’t like to see guys strolling to the 18th only to play an easy par-5 to close it out. I want carnage, I want it late, and I want it dramatically. This hole gives us that.

Hitting an uphill approach off a downhill lie to a well-protected green (4 bunkers) is the challenge we need to see. Must play a good old-fashioned straight and long tee shot, smart approach, and hit a couple good putts to finish it off. The way it should be.

Here’s a look at the track from Luke Elvy.

Clubhouse

Sedgefield Country Club

Sort of has an East Lake vibe to it, no?

TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola - Round Two

Anyway, I like this thing, don’t love it. It’s fine.

Sedgefield Clubhouse Grade = 6.2.

The Field

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Predictably, a lot of guys taking this week off. We just had back-to-back a WGC then the PGA Championship, and we’ve got 4 playoff events starting next week. Those are of course followed by the Presidents Cup, so the bigger names are chilling.

Like so:

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Injuries aren’t helping the Wyndham’s star power either:

SourceDefending champion Si Woo Kim, Andrew “Beef” Johnston and 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup Team Captain Jim Furyk have all withdrawn due to injuries, and Snedeker is questionable to start with a rib injury.

Still, we’ve got Kisner, Dufdaddy, Stenson, Ernie Els, and 2015 winner DLIII (who’s won here 3x).

And golf course architecture enthusiast Zac Blair.

Plenty of Fore Play dudes teeing it up. If you’re out there, show them some love. All great guys: Keegan Bradley, Bud Cauley, Paddy Harrington, Billy Hurley III, Willy Wilcox, Ryan Palmer, Smylie Kaufman, Ollie Schniederjans.

Predictions

COMIC-CON INTERNATIONAL: SAN DIEGO 2017 - Season 2017

Winning Score

The last three winning scores have been -21, -17, -17. That’s low. My guess?

Winning score = -18 (My college hockey number. Did I tell you I played hockey at Harvard?)

Winner

I LOVE James Hahn this week. He hasn’t missed a cut since May. He finished T13 at the PGA and T10 at the Canadian Open.

Winner = James Hahn.

The Steven Bowditch Memorial DFL Award

Wyndham Championship - Round One

Steven Bowditch!

Dark Horse

I don’t know why, but I have a feeling Sam Saunders will have himself a week. The kid hasn’t won on Tour yet but his last four starts: T25, T55, T19, 8.

Love him at 70-1 this week.

Betting Odds!

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Weather

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Coverage

PGA TOUR - 2007 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am - Third Round

Golf Channel, Thursday (2-6PM ET) & Friday (2-4PM ET).
CBS, Saturday & Sunday 3PM ET on.

Final Thoughts

Had Keegan on the show this week. Told some incredible stories about breaking through in his first major, Phil in Tuesday money games, playing with MJ and TB12, and hitting his first tee shot at the Ryder Cup. Great listen.

There’s a lot of other great golf this week, like the U.S. Am and the Solheim Cup, so I’ll be getting some coverage up on those tomorrow and throughout the weekend. Enjoy.

PS — Hideki is officially my favorite player.

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Double PS — There’s a rager going on at the office right now so I didn’t proofread this. Please attribute all errors to Portnoy being on vacation and losing complete control over the circus he created.

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