By Mike Glasscott, Rotoworld
Sedgefield Country Club
Sedgefield Country Club
Par: 70 (35-35)
Greens: Champion Bermudagrass; 6,500 square feet on average.
Rough: Bermudagrass at 2”
Water Hazards: 12 creeks; 1 pond
Course Architects: Donald Ross (1926); Re-design Kris Spence (2007)
Winner’s Share: $954,000
FexExCup Points: 500 to the winner
Defending Champion: Sergio Garcia won for the first time in four years on TOUR as he handled Tim Clark by two shots.
Dates: August 15-18
Notes: This is the last chance for players who are currently outside the top 125 in the FedExCup standings to crash the party. Only the players 125th or better enter the FedExCup Playoffs next week.
Last year Sedgefield removed their Bentgrass greens and replaced them with Champions Bermuda. These greens thrive in the heat and humidity and don’t need water to flourish. If it doesn’t rain, they’ll be exceptionally greasy; if it rains all weekend and the tournament finishes on Monday (see last year) it will look like the first two days at Oak Hill. #darts
The 2012 tournament was the first and only tournament played on the Champion Bermuda greens. Course history from tee-to-green will be useful but putting stats might not be so much.
This is the 74th edition of the Wyndham Championship. Sam Snead won this event a staggering eight times and was runner-up three times, the most in both categories. #slammin’
This is the only Donald Ross course used annually on TOUR. Donald Ross also designed Oak Hill, site of last week’s 95th PGA Championship.
There are four of the five past champions in this week’s field. Remember, winners from 2007 and before did NOT play Sedgefield!
2012: Sergio Garcia (-18)
2011: Webb Simpson (-18)
2010: Arjun Atwal (-20)
2009: Ryan Moore (-16 P)—not entered this week
2008: Carl Pettersson (-21)
The course record is 61 set by Pettersson, Atwal and Kevin Na over the last five years.
In the five years since the return to Sedgefield, four of the 54-hole leaders have held on for victory. This is the complete opposite of the trend on TOUR this year.
There have been 35 tournaments this season. The Stars and Stripes have won 29 of them.
There have been 11 first-time winners this season and just four players with multiple victories (Woods, Mickelson, Kuchar and Snedeker).
The winners on TOUR have been Johnson, D (28), Henley (24), Gay (41), Woods FIVE times (37), Mickelson (42) TWICE, Snedeker (32) TWICE, Merrick (30) Kuchar TWICE (34),Thompson, M (27) Brown (29), Streelman (34), Points (36), Laird (30), Scott (32), G-Mac (33), Horschel (26), Ernst (22), Bae (26), Weekley (39) English (23), Rose (32), Duke (44) Haas (31), Blixt (29), Austin (49), Woodland (29), Dufner (34) and 19-year old Jordan Spieth. The young folks (30 and younger) now have 13 victories; the 30-somethings have racked up 17 victories, and the “old folks” (40 and up) now have FIVE wins. David Toms waived the AARP flag last week as he finished seventh at Oak Hill. Not bad for 46!
Rank and File
It shouldn’t be any surprise that only 10 of the top 50 in the OWGR are in the field this week after a major championship.
Sedgefield Country Club was designed by Donald Ross and features as the only one of his courses on the normal TOUR annual rotation. Last week, Oak Hill was the site of the 95th PGA Championship and that is another Ross design. The players who teed it up last week at Oak Hill should have their eyes and minds conditioned to the tee and approach shots but it might be the Sedgefield greens that will provide the biggest challenge this week. Last week at Oak Hill, plenty of rain made the course soft and the greens even softer.
In Greensboro, the TOUR pros will find Champion Bermudagrass instead of Bentgrass and that could be the difference this week. Bermudagrass loves the heat and can survive and be cut short with not a lot of water. Dry, crusty, crispy greens always make for fun times and long rounds on TOUR! Sergio Garcia remarked last year, in the first year of the Champions Bermudagrass that they were quick, but not as quick as they could get because they had only been in the ground a few months and their roots weren’t mature yet (can’t cut them short).
As we saw at Oak Hill, golfers who can work their ball both ways off the tee will have an advantage but with the rough playing at only two inches, those who miss the fairway won’t be as severely penalized as they were last week but there will be rough. New greens or old greens, the winning score here the last five years has averaged around 17-under-par. Players who find the most GIR this week will have the chance to make the most birdies and premium putters are praying the course dries out by the weekend. Last year, Sedgefield played 35th hardest of the 49 courses used on TOUR. This will provide a nice come-down after a major!
My 10-best plus one
Zach Johnson: The U.S.-version of Henrik Stenson has been doing everything but winning in his last four events on TOUR. Scoff at the P2 to Jordan Spieth at the JDC but he backed that up with T6, T4 and T8 against the three best fields in golf in three out of four weeks. His bogey-free 68 on Sunday at Oak Hill shows me he’s dialed in at the moment and it’s time to saddle up. Johnson played Sedgefield on its return in 2008 and opened with 66 and closed with 64. Slick greens won’t bother him a bit as he quite enjoyed them at Firestone.
Brandt Snedeker: The last time he played a course where bagging birdies was good idea he won at the RBC Canadian Open as he fired 16-under. He ranks 35th in GIR and 10th in strokes gained-putting and that’s a lethal combination as Sergio Garcia proved here last year. If the greens do get slick, I don’t think there is anyone else you would want to have near or on the lead on Sunday. After two indifferent performances I would expect a nice bounce-back this week as his career-year continues.
Webb Simpson: After MC here in 2009 check out his four-round totals in the next three years: 2010 66-64-71-63, T8; 2011 66-65-64-67, WIN; 2012 66-63-71-71, T22. He likes it here. His first win on TOUR was on this course so there will happy thoughts on his return this week. Born in Raleigh and currently living in Charlotte, the North Carolinian will be right at home this week and embraces the challenge. Simpson will be happy not to see Hole No. 5 at Oak Hill for a while as he played it five-over for the week. So that one hole for the week almost wiped out his course-record tying 64 on Friday.
Bill Haas: His worst round in his last four tournaments at Sedgefield has been 70 twice. The other 14 rounds have been in the 60s and this Carolinian (born in Charlotte; lives in Greenville, S.C.) has racked up two top 10s (T7, 2012; T10, 2009) in those four starts. The last two weeks have seen him finish T7 (WGC-BI) and T25 last week so his ball-striking is humming along. His nine top 10 finishes lead the TOUR and he’s 12th in ball-striking.
Chris Kirk: After a rocky May and June, Kirk has found form as July has turned into August. Always slick with the putter, 24th in strokes gained-putting, Kirk has proved through his T10 and WIN the last two seasons at Annandale that enjoys putting on Champions Bermudagrass. Last year he put four rounds in the 60s here to finish T22. In six rounds here, he’s been in the 60s.
Hideki Matsuyama: Why friggin’ not? I thought last week would be the week he would run out of gas but this kid is just grinding right through it all. After opening with 72 at Oak Hill, he had no problem backing it up with 68. When it looked like he was going to fall apart after 73 on Saturday he goes out with Keegan Bradley and lights up a 66 on Sunday in a major. Did I mention that he’s just 21 years of age? Go on, son!
Sergio Garcia: The defending champion has had no problem scoring around Sedgefield as he also has a T4 from 2009 on his resume from this event. He started to get hot this time last year but he was also fighting for a birth on the Euro Ryder Cup team so I’ll consider that as well. His form was better earlier in the season but he obviously likes this Donald Ross layout. Form is temporary, right? Right.
Jordan Spieth: I like the fact that he took some time off after his big, four-week stretch which included sixth at AT&T, T23 at Greenbrier, WIN at JDC and T44 in The Open Championship, to decompress and relax mentally and physically. He’s only 19 and he’s currently 16th in the FedExCup standings so he wants to be fresh to the wire. He chose NOT to play a WGC event to rest. That’s a sign of big-time maturity. Forget he MC last week as his ball-striking was just knocking off the rust.
Jimmy Walker: He’s played every event since the move back to Sedgefield in 2008 and he finally put it together last year to finish T4. His T4 included a second round 62 so he should have positive thoughts returning to North Carolina after posting MC at The Open and the PGA in his last two outings. The outing before that was T2 at Greenbrier.
Boo Weekley: He played super golf in the final three rounds at Oak Hill as he fired rounds of 69-70-67 to finish T12. He’s MC here in the last two years but his worst score is 70. #devilinthedetails. As always with Weekley, it will come down to how many putts he makes because he’s going to hit plenty of fairways and greens. What a difference a year makes as this time last season Weekley was hovering around the “un-magical” No. 125 on the FedExCup Playoff list. This season is his best since 2008 as he’s currently 12th in those same standings.
Carl Pettersson: Here’s this week’s HORSE-FOR-COURSE ladies and gentlemen. He backed up his win in 2008 with T4 finishes in each of the last two seasons. I know, I know, he’s not doing ANYTHING on TOUR at the moment that would suggest him breaking par anywhere, but the Sedgefield member went to high school here and college in Raleigh at N.C. State. He shares the course record of 61. He fired 8-under-par 62 here last year. He fired 63 here in 2011. If there is ANYWHERE to insert him into the lineup, it’s this week, and Sweden has been ON FIYAH.
Tim Clark: He’ll be happy to play a course where he won’t have to hit hybrid into most of the finishing holes this week. This Donald Ross course is a different animal as he proved by finishing second to Garcia last year and T6 in 2008. He leads the TOUR in fairways hit and these greens are, on average, 1.5 times bigger than Oak Hill so that should help him find more birdie putts than he did last week. Don’t forget, he was Pettersson’s roomie up the street at N.C. State!
Peter Hanson: He’s currently No. 126 on the FedExCup Playoff standings so he’ll need at least to make the cut this week to make the Playoffs next week. Hanson, who has battled injury recently, found the moxie (or right pain killers) to finish T33 at WGC-BI and T33 last week at Oak Hill. He’s seventh in total putting and fired 68 on Sunday at the PGA so I’m guessing his back will be feeling much better after that. Also from Sweden…
Martin Kaymer: Nobody but a bunch of golf nerds like you and me will remember that Kaymer RECORDED THREE ROUNDS IN THE 60s LAST WEEK AT OAK HILL and did NOT finish in the top 30! His Saturday 78 ruined his excellent week of work but continued the solid play he demonstrated with T9 at WGC-BI the week before. The other trend was that he had a big round, 74, at WGC-BI before rattling off three straight in the 60s. He’s getting close and just missed out on the top 11 and remarked last week that he’s comfortable moving the golf ball either direction and is happy with the way his game is becoming whole. Interesting.
Rory Sabbatini: Thanks to Jason Dufner on Howard Stern this week, we now know who’s the biggest, ahem, “jerk” on TOUR. It’s no secret that Sabbatini has had his moments on TOUR but it’s also worth noting that he’s in a fine run of form. Following a WD at AT&T, Sabbatini bagged at T9 at Greenbrier, MC at JDC, T17 at Sanderson Farms, T12 at RBC Canadian and T7 at Reno-Tahoe. He’ll be in play in deeper formats this week.
Roberto Castro: It’s not a surprise when a young player regresses after a career-best finish as Castro did after his second at AT&T. I always look for the players who get right back into the mix after a semi-life changing event because that shows where their game currently stands. Castro followed his second with MC and T68 but bounced back T6 in Canada and racked up T12 last week at Oak Hill, another Donald Ross course. He racks up fairways, greens and makes plenty of birdies and that’s the formula for this week.
Brendon de Jonge: The Charlotte resident will have plenty of support surrounding him this weekend as he batters fairways and greens again this week. He’s seen 20 of 25 weekends on TOUR including the last four and he finished T33 last week after rounds of 71-71-71-70 at Oak Hill.
Jason Bohn: He was sad to see the tournament leave Forest Park as he finished T3 in 2005 and second in 2006. He didn’t play the event in 2007 or 2008 but returned to Sedgefield in 2009 and racked up another T2. His T12 in 2011 or MC last year won’t scare me off. He’s hot and makes plenty of birdies to keep up with any field. He started to heat up at the JDC with 64-69 to finish T22. He played very well on Champion Bermuda the following week at Annandale (T9) and was T2 his last time out at the RBC Canadian.
Patrick Reed: After missing the cut in four consecutive events in March, Reed has turned the corner and the fantasy world is starting to see his consistency after a 2012 of Monday qualifying. He’s seen the weekend in nine of his last 11 events on TOUR and that includes T7 and T9 in his last two appearances. For a guy who plays almost every week, the two week break leading into Wyndham might be exactly what he needed to make a final push inside the top 70 on the FedExCup Playoffs list. He currently sits No. 78.
Morgan Hoffmann: The youngster has made five cuts on the bounce and that included a streak of four with finishes of T23 or better. Half of those were in the top 10 as he finished T9 at the Travelers and T8 at AT&T at Congressional. He’s also taken the last two weeks off to recharge to charge higher up the FedExCup ladder as he currently sits No. 105. He’s safe for the Barclays but he’ll need to be No. 90 or better to advance to TPC Boston the following week. He destroys par fours and he’ll have plenty of chances to get after them this week on this par-70 layout.
Mark Wilson: The UNC grad has found some late season form and can use this week to jump up into the top 90 (currently 95th). Remember, the top 90 will play the first two events of the playoffs; the top 70 play the BMW and the top 30 play the THE TOUR Championship. He’s teed it up three times here and has only fired 70 or worse one time so his steady game will fit here but he hasn’t teed it up since 2010. His last two events on TOUR have seen him finish T6 at Glen Abbey in Canada and T23 at Reno-Tahoe.
Chez Reavie: Good news and bad news. He’s made nine cuts on the trot but none of those have resulted in top 10s as he currently sits No. 106 on THE LIST. He posted T58 last year but has a T9 and T10 in the last four years so he must find something around here that suits his eye. If you need a guy to make a cut this week, well, here he is!
Jonathan Byrd: After making 17 birdies and two eagles en route to his T2 finish last time out at Reno-Tahoe, including a closing round 64, Byrd still has some work to do to get in the FedExCup playoffs. He’s played well up the street at Quail Hollow (P2, T5) and has eight rounds career at Sedgefield par or better.
Don’t forget about these guys
Bud Cauley: He’s only been par or worse once in eight rounds at Sedgefield so that should bring encouragement to Cauley who is firmly at the end of a sophomore slump. He’s been cut 12 times in 23 events and has only three top 25s to hang his hat on this year. He’s No. 130 but he did finish solo third here last year. It’s a stretch but that’s why he’s in this column.
Chesson Hadley: In 12 weekends on the Web.com Tour he’s racked up six top 10s including T10 last week and T3 three weeks ago. He won in late June as well so you know my mantra: hot golf is hot golf. Oh, and he’s born, raised and resides in Raleigh.
Jerry Kelly: In the four years he’s played since the tournament moved to Sedgefield, Kelly has two top 10s and has not MC. He’s made 10 of his last 12 weekends, including six straight and was T4 his last time out at JDC. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Brendon Todd: He shot 61 in the Monday qualifier. His last two starts on TOUR were T14 (Sanderson Farms) and T13 (Reno-Tahoe). I’m done typing now.
Davis Love III: He missed the cut at Oak Hill by one shot. He was T10 last year while preparing to captain the Ryder Cup and T12 the year before.
Just because they have well-recognized names doesn’t always mean you have to panic to fill your roster out with them…Also, it seems at least one of these guys will hit the top 10 EVERY week. I’m not scared.
Charlie Beljan: Since his P2 finish at Riviera he’s missed 12 of 16 weekends on TOUR and his best finish in that stretch is T38. His streak is now MC in 10 of 11. SOUNDS ABOUT DUE! Remember, the only things due in this life are your taxes and pregnant women.
Sean O’Hair: His best finish since March is T40.
Camilo Villegas: After knocking on the door with a couple of top 20s, the Colombian has fallen back on hard times.
Y.E. Yang: A T32 is his best finish in his last nine starts.
Ernie Els: I was a week late and a dollar short but Els ran out of gas last week. The concern leading into last week was that he was playing too much. Last week, he was a late entry into this event. He must feel he’s close or that the extra work in tournament play is what his game needs. I need to get off this horse. Congratulations on your victory this week, Big Easy!
Rookie of the Week Last Week
I keep an eye on the young’uns each week to see who is making the most noise.
Sony: Russell Henley WIN
Humana: David Lingmerth P2
Farmers: Brad Fritsch T9
WMPO: James Hahn T16
AT&T: James Hahn T3
NTO: Luke Guthrie T21
WGC-Match Play: Russell Henley 2nd round
Honda: Luke Guthrie 3rd
WGC-Cadillac: Russell Henley T28
Puerto Rico: Jordan Spieth 2nd
Tampa Bay: Jordan Spieth T7; Shawn Stefani T7; Ben Kohles T7
Arnold Palmer: Ben Kohles T14
Shell Houston Open: Robert Streb T22
Valero Texas Open: Ben Kohles T37
Masters: Russell Henley MC
RBC Heritage: Russell Henley T6
Zurich Classic: D. H. Lee T8
Wells Fargo Championship: Derek Ernst WIN
THE PLAYERS: David Lingmerth T2. Great back-to-back weeks for the rookies on TOUR!
HPBNC: Morgan Hoffmann T5
Colonial: Jordan Spieth, yep, him again, T7
Memorial: Russell Henley T6
FESJC: Patrick Reed Fifth
U.S. Open: David Lingmerth T17; special mentions for Hideki Matsuyama T10 and Michael Kim T17.
Travelers: Morgan Hoffmann T9
AT&T National: D.H. Lee T3; Jordan Spieth 6th; Morgan Hoffmann T8
Greenbrier: David Lingmerth and D.H. Lee both T9
John Deere: Jordan Spieth WIN
The Open Championship: Jordan Spieth T44
Sanderson Farms: Steve LeBrun T26
RBC Canadian: Patrick Reed T9
WGC-BI: Russell Henley T27
Reno-Tahoe: Scott Langley T21
PGA Championship: Hideki Matsuyama T19. #forreal
SEASON TOTAL: $5,810,125
HTOC: Steve Stricker (2nd; $665,000)
Sony: Charles Howell III (T3; $324,800)
Humana: Tim Clark (MC)
Farmers: Rickie Fowler (T6; $204,350)
WMPO: Jason Dufner (MC)
AT&T Pebble: Hunter Mahan (T16; $94,250)
Northern Trust: Bill Haas (T3; $343,200)
WGC-Match Play: Charl Schwartzel (T33; $46,000)
Honda: Lee Westwood (T9; $156,000)
WGC-Cadillac Championship: Matt Kuchar (T35; $68,500)
Tampa Bay: Jim Furyk (T7; $148,892)
Bay Hill: Sergio Garcia (WD after three rounds)
Shell Houston: Jimmy Walker (T50; $14,838)
Valero: Cameron Tringale (MC)
Masters: Phil Mickelson (T54; $18,320)
RBC Heritage: Luke Donald (T3; $336,400)
Zurich Classic: Bubba Watson (T15; $102,500)
Wells Fargo: Webb Simpson (T32; $37,073)
THE PLAYERS: Nick Watney (MC)
HPBNC: Jason Day (T27; $46,565)
Colonial: Kevin Streelman (MC)
Memorial: K.J. Choi (T21; $58,202)
FESJC: Ryan Palmer (4th; $273,600)
US Open: Graeme McDowell (MC)
Travelers: John Rollins (MDF; $11,041)
AT&T National: Billy Horschel (T61; $14,040)
The Greenbrier Classic: Graham DeLaet (T30; $36,618)
John Deere Classic: Jordan Spieth (WIN; $828,000)
The Open Championship: Adam Scott (T3; $428,776)
RBC Canadian: Chris Kirk (T21; $54,160)
WGC-BI: Tiger Woods (WIN; $1,500,000)
PGA Championship: Henrik Stenson (3rd; $545,000)
Wyndham Championship: Zach Johnson
GolfChannel.com Fantasy Challenge
I play as “Glass” for ALL fantasy games
Ned said, “…
Bill Haas—He’s played well for most of the year and right now he is on a run of three top 10s in his last five starts including a championship at the AT&T National. His recent history at the Wyndham is good with a pair of top 10s (T10 in ’09; T7 last year) in his last four starts.
Sergio Garcia— I think this spot is a real tossup between Brandt Snedeker and Sergio Garcia. I’m going with Garcia because Snedeker hasn’t played well since his win at the RBC Canadian Open and Garcia has a very good record at the Wyndham, with a fourth place in ’09 and a championship last year.
Web Simpson– He has been playing well recently and he was very impressive in his second round last week when a score of 64 moved him up to the first page of the leaderboard. His record is very good at Sedgefield with a T8 in ’10 and a championship in ’11.
Zach Johnson— He has played his best golf of the season over the last month as he has record four straight top 10 finishes. His record at the Wyndham is not noteworthy, so he is all about playing the hot hand.
David Toms— It been a real quiet year for Toms, but he has come alive in the last couple of weeks with a T16 at the Reno-Tahoe and a seventh place last week at the PGA Championship. His best finish at the Wyndham came in ’10 when finished in second place.
Chad Campbell— It’s a tough call between Ernie Els and Chad Campbell. Els has been on the road for quite a few weeks, but Campbell was playing well before the Reno-Tahoe Open and he should be rested up after a couple of weekends at home.
Hideki Matsuyama— He is a first-timer at the Wyndham, but he has continued to impress after his T6 at the British Open with a T16 at the Canadian Open, a T21 at the WGC-Bridgestone and a T19 last week at the PGA Championship.
Martin Kaymer— He’s another first-timer at the Wyndham. I’m going with him because I was impressed with his T9 at the Bridgestone and he played well at the PGA Championship despite a poor third round which left him in a T33 finish.
Points last week: 135
Points this year: 5,309
Overall Ranking: (104; 99th percentile)