Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Course: Sedgefield Country Club (7,130 yards, par 70), Greensboro, N.C.
Purse: $5.1 million. Winner's share: $918,000.
TV: Golf Channel (Thu.-Fri., 3-6 p.m., 9 p.m.-midnight; Sat.-Sun., noon-1:30 p.m., 9-11:30 p.m.) and CBS (Sat.-Sun., 2-5 p.m.).
Last year: Ryan Moore won his first PGA Tour title, beating Kevin Stadler with a birdie on the third playoff hole. Jason Bohn was eliminated on the first extra hole.
There’s a lot at stake this week at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C. Of course there’s the Sam Snead Cup awarded to the winner, not to mention precious FedEx Cup points up for grabs, and don’t forget the future of the Tour’s mobile phone policy.
Mobile phones? Hold on, we’ll get to that.
After 32 weeks and 36 events, the FedEx Cup regular season concludes this week. It’s the last chance for players to secure their positions inside the top 125 on the FedEx Cup points list and qualify for The Barclays, the first of four playoff events. Michael Letzig enters the tournament as the player directly on the bubble at No. 125.
THREE TO WATCH
Mike Weir: The former Masters champion is on the outside looking in; he is in 126th place in the FedEx Cup standings. Weir hasn’t had a top-10 finish since the Bob Hope Classic in January.
Seung-yul Noh: Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa may get all the buzz, but you may “Noh” just how talented this Korean teen sensation is by the end of the week. Noh finished T-28 at the PGA Championship in his maiden U.S. major.
Anthony Kim: Kim missed time after undergoing surgery to his left thumb May 5. Now he’s missed two straight cuts since his return at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Kim also missed qualifying in the top-8 for the U.S. Ryder Cup squad and needs to prove to Captain Corey Pavin that he’s not missing in action and worth a pick for the team.
According to Tour FedEx Cup expert Kin Lo, only the players ranked 96th or better are mathematically safe and guaranteed to finish inside the top-125 regardless of the final results at Wyndham. But most likely there won’t be quite so much volatility. Last year five players moved into the top 125 at the Wyndham and qualified for the playoffs.
Dating back to 1939, the “GGO” – as longtime supporters still call this week’s tournament – returns for the third straight year to Sedgefield Country Club, a Donald Ross design known for its small, undulating greens and rolling fairways.
Players will need to go low or go home. The tournament scoring average of 68.753 in 2008 was the lowest on Tour that season, and it rose only slightly last year, finishing as the third lowest overall.
If the players aren’t dialed in, the fans definitely will be. The Tour is allowing spectators to use mobile phones at Sedgefield Country Club as long as the devices are kept in silent mode and calls are made only in designated areas around the course. Typically, fans are asked to leave cell phones at home or in their car – or risk having it confiscated by security. But in a sign of the times, the Tour is considering softening its stance to be more fan-friendly.
“We’re going to be kind of the guinea pig tournament on allowing this,” said Mark Brazil, Wyndham Championship’s tournament director.
Wonder why the Tour didn’t experiment with this at the AT&T National? In any event, none of the players will be phoning it in this week. Too much is at stake in Greensboro.