By Dave Shedloski
The Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina, marks the conclusion of the PGA TOUR regular season. While the tournament offers a $5.4 million purse, it’s the 500 points that mean more as players vie for the top 125 in the standings and a berth in the FedExCup Playoffs beginning the following week at The Barclays.
The Wyndham Championship dates back to 1938 and is best known as the tournament Sam Snead won eight times among his record 82 career titles.
Coincidentally, making his first start this week in Greensboro is former world No. 1 Tiger Woods, who has won two PGA TOUR events eight times — the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.
Woods, 39, winner of 79 TOUR titles, will be making his 11th start of the season. He is ranked 187th in the FedExCup standings, meaning he would likely need to finish no worse than solo second, worth 300 points, to have any chance of moving into the top 125. His best finish this year is a tie for 17th at the Masters.
Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel is the man on the bubble, ranked 125th. Other players of note making a last-ditch effort for points are Adam Scott, Ernie Els and Luke Donald.
Veteran CBS Sports on-course reporter David Feherty looks at the storylines from the final regular-season PGA TOUR event.
This is a big week, and it comes after the final major of the season. How do players get themselves geared back up for an important week in their season?
I don’t know if they gear back up so much as try to maintain the level that they needed last week at Whistling Straits. They need to keep that intensity and prepare almost like they did last week, because there is a lot at stake for many of the guys in the field.
What is it about the tournament course, Sedgefield Country Club, that makes it an appropriate venue for the last regular-season event?
I think it’s simply because it’s a wonderful golf course with very challenging greens. It’s a Donald Ross, so you’re going to see just about every kind of putt imaginable. There’s really a premium on hitting the greens and putting the ball in the right places, keeping it in the fairway. Great test of shotmaking.
What do you make of some prominent names adding this event to their schedule? Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Ernie Els come to mind first and foremost.
I think it’s great that we are seeing more of the name players who haven’t been here in the past, because I’ve already mentioned that they play on a golf course that I think is one of the great gems on the TOUR. Wyndham is a tremendous sponsor. The fans are terrific. And, this is one of the oldest events on the PGA TOUR, so it has a great tradition.
Are you surprised that Tiger has committed and is competing? And what do you make of his chances of finishing high enough to break into the top 125 at a venue he’s never seen before?
We certainly don’t know what to expect from Tiger. You never put anything past him when the light bulb turns on and he turns the corner and starts winning again. I wouldn’t say this is the most ideal golf course for him with some of his struggles off the tee. But I give him credit: Tiger is no quitter. He could have just passed, but he’s going out there and giving it a try. I applaud him for that.
Favorites and dark horses… give us the rundown.
Luke Donald is playing well, and it’s a golf course that can suit him. Likewise for Brandt Snedeker, who won his first PGA TOUR title at the Wyndham Championship in 2007. So he has that going for him. Dark horses: I’ll start with Webb Simpson. And I like some of the South Africans on those Bermuda grass greens, guys like Charl Schwartzel, George Coetzee and Brendon de Jonge.
Journalist and author David Shedloski of Columbus, Ohio, has been covering golf since 1986, first as a daily newspaper reporter and later as a freelance writer for various magazines and Internet outlets. A winner of 23 national writing awards, including 20 for golf coverage, Shedloski is currently a contributing writer for Golf World and GolfDigest.com and serves as editorial director for The Memorial, the official magazine of the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio. He is the author of three books and has contributed to three others, including the second edition of “Golf For Dummies,” with Gary McCord. He’s a fan of all Cleveland professional sports teams, the poor fellow.