Sedgefield Country Club
Sedgefield Country Club
Yards: 7,127 via the scorecard
Par: 70 (35-35)
Greens: Champion Bermudagrass; 6,500 square feet on average.
Rough: Bermudagrass at 2”
Water Hazards: There is one pond and 12 creeks running throughout
Course Architect: Donald Ross (1926); Kris Spence (2007) redesign
Winner’s Share: $954,000
FexExCup Points: 500 to the winner
Dates: Aug 14 – Aug 17
Notes: This is the final week to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs. The top 125 after the completion of play advance to The Barclays at Ridgewood CC next week.
Recent History Lessons
After winning 31 of 40 tournaments in 2013, the USA has now won 24 of 40 events in 2013-14 but none in the last four weeks. Harris English, Jimmy Walker (THREE), Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore, Dustin Johnson, Chris Kirk, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed (TWO), Scott Stallings, Kevin Stadler, Bubba Watson (TWO), Russell Henley, Chesson Hadley, Matt Every, Matt Kuchar, J.B. Holmes, Brendon Todd, Ben Crane, Kevin Streelman and Brian Harman have won for the USA.
Geoff Ogilvy, Adam Scott, Matt Jones, Steven Bowditch, John Senden and Jason Day, all Australians, have cashed six victories. Hideki Matsuyama and Seung-yul Noh are the Asian representatives. Martin Kaymer, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy are the European chalk that has won four of the last six majors dating back to the 2013 U.S. Open. Angel Cabrera flies the flag for South America; Tim Clark flies it for South Africa.
S.Y. Noh, Steven Bowditch, Matt Every, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Stadler, Chesson Hadley Matt Jones, Brendon Todd, Hideki Matsuyama and Brian Harman are the first-time winners this season. There were 12, first-timers in 40 events last year and we’ve had 10 in 40 events in 2014.
Young Guns Versus Prime Time Versus Old Guys
Jimmy Walker (34) started the season out on the right foot for the Prime Time guys and has since added two more wins to lead the FedExCup standings. Ryan Moore (30), Zach Johnson (37), Kevin Stadler (33) and Bubba Watson (35), Matt Every (30), Steven Bowditch (30), Matt Jones (33), all were victorious before Watson picked up victory No. 2 of the year at Augusta. Matt Kuchar (37), J.B. Holmes (32), Adam Scott (33), Ben Crane (38), Kevin Streelman (35), Justin Rose (33), Tim Clark (38) and Geoff Ogilvy, 37, have added to the prime-timers trophy case as the season moves along.
Scott Stallings (28), Patrick Reed TWICE (23), Chris Kirk (28), Webb Simpson (28), Dustin Johnson (29), Harris English (24), Jason Day (26) and Russell Henley (24) Seung-Yul Noh (22), Martin Kaymer TWICE (29), Brendon Todd (28) and Hideki Matsuyama (22), Brian Harman (27) and Rory McIlroy THRICE (25), are the twenty-somethings who have made large noise this year.
Turn Back the Clock
At this point in the season last year there were 11, first-time winners and just four players with multiple victories Woods, Mickelson, Kuchar and Snedeker. Only Kuchar has cracked the winner’s circle this year and all that took was a hole-out from a bunker on the 72nd hole at RBC Heritage!
This year, Walker (3), Reed, Watson, Kaymer and now McIlroy (3) have won multiple times and there have been 10 players that are first-time winners.
Pay Attention: It’s FREE!
Not surprising the field is a bit thin this week after two majors and a WGC event in the last four weeks.
Since moving back to Sedgefield permanently in 2008, no player has defended their title or won multiple times.
This is the 75th edition of the Wyndham Championship but only the seventh event at Sedgefield since 2008.
Sedgefield completely redid their greens in 2012 as they replaced Bentgrass with Champion Bermudagrass. The advantage of Champion Bermuda is it takes hardly any water to keep it growing so they can cut it nice and short and slick it up if necessary.
This is the only Donald Ross course that is used annually on TOUR. I wouldn’t use Oak Hill as a comparison because the set up will be quite different.
Here are the winners since moving to Sedgefield in 2008:
2013: Patrick Reed
2012: Sergio Garcia
2011: Webb Simpson
2010: Arjun Atwal
2009: Ryan Moore*
2008: Carl Pettersson
*Ryan Moore is not in the field this week
Carl Pettersson holds the Sedgefield tournament record at 21-under-par 259.
Sergio Garcia holds the Sedgefield “new greens” tournament record at 262.
The Sedgefield “new greens” course record was set last year by Tim Herron as he fired 61 in the second round after opening with 76. #weird
Of the last six winners since the move, three have made it their first victory on TOUR. Ryan Moore, Webb Simpson and Patrick Reed all claimed their first trophies on this historic layout. One might notice they all came in odd numbered years as well. #trendornotatrend
These gentlemen have business to attend to this week if they would like to advance to the FedExCup Playoffs:
No. 130: J.J. Henry
No. 129: David Lingmerth
No. 128: Greg Chalmers
No. 127: Charlie Beljan
No. 126: Sang-moon Bae
No. 125: Paul Casey
No. 124: Jhonattan Vegas
No. 123: Nicholas Thompson
No. 122: Robert Allenby
No. 121: James Hahn
No. 120: David Toms
This Will Win You a Bar Bet
Slammin’ Sammy Snead won eight of these back in the day and finished runner up three times, the most in either category in 74 previous events.
Inside the Ropes
From a modern test of golf at Valhalla to a classic, old-school layout, the TOUR arrives in Greensboro this week at this classic Donald Ross design. This will be the second Ross design they have seen this summer, after Pinehurst No. 2, for some of the players in the field. Built in the mid-20s Sedgefield shared hosting duties until the 70s for the Greater Greensboro Open. In 2007 after Kris Spence stripped it down back to its original layout, Sedgefield returned as host of the Wyndham Classic. This sounds similar to what Coore and Crenshaw did at Pinehurst No. 2 to get it ready for this year’s U.S. Open. Spence restored the original routing and refurbished the greens to their planned intentions to reflect what Ross had in mind 70 years before.
As with most Ross courses, the problem lies closest to the flag as his trademark is back-to-front sloping greens that require the pros to leave the ball in the correct position on the greens. The tee box will try and play tricks with lines of sight but fairways and lack of rough shouldn’t bother the best in the game. The second shots that find the wrong part of these undulating greens will require deft putting and/or chipping/pitching to save pars and escape. With only two par fives on the card par four scoring again should be a category to consider when scouting players this week. I’ll also take a look a solid ball-strikers and players who are flashing form. This is not a difficult course to get around but the money will be made into and on the greens this week. If the weather is nice and it gets slick look for rounds to be closer to single digits as the greens should be mature and ready to be cut short.
Sedgefield ranked 23rd-most difficult last year after checking in at No. 35 last year.
Only Heath Slocum in 2012 has moved into the top 125 in the last two years from players starting the week outside looking in. #badgamingangle
Call to Order
Here they are, ranked for your pleasure.
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Brandt Snedeker (A): After a terrible April and May by his high standards, Snedeker changed coaches and sought out Butch Harmon, or Midas as I like to call him. Anyhow his return to form began at the U.S. Open with T9 and six cuts made later he only has one finish outside T25. Last week he closed with 66-67 at Valhalla to finish T13 so it wouldn’t surprise me if he made the leap this week.
Hideki Matsuyama (B): The first time he saw this course last year he found 65 and 66 and ended up 15th. He got off to a slow start at Valhalla after closing 65-68 at Firestone but did close with 68 on Sunday. He’s made eight cuts on the bounce and that included his first win at the Memorial. He’s 17th in scoring average and 19th in the all-around ranking.
Bill Haas (B): Since changing to the Champion Bermudagrass greens Haas has posted seven of eight rounds at 69 or better at Sedgefield. He’s played 23 events this season and has played the weekend in 22 of them so that’s about as consistent as it gets. His only miss was a WD at Harbour Town. Of those 22 weekends, 12 have gone for top 25s but gamers will remind me that just three have found the top 10. His last top 10 was T8 at Memorial, another course where he’s had strong history.
Brian Harman (B): Similar to his alum brother from Georgia, Brendon Todd, his first victory hasn’t seen him get comfortable or mail it in. He followed up his victory at the JDC with a trip across the pond to finish T26 at The Open and he played three rounds of par or better last week before a final round 73 knocked him to T41 at the PGA. He put all four rounds in the 60s here last season to finish T3 so he should be excited to have another chance to add to his six top 10s in 2013-14.
Patrick Reed (A): The defending champ showed flashes of his previous brilliance with a closing 65 at Firestone but couldn’t crack the top 50 last week at Valhalla. Nothing like a bit of positive vibes to get him back on track this week as he looks to become the first player to defend since the return to Sedgefield full time.
Webb Simpson (B): The Charlotte native has rattled off T8, win, T22 and T11 in his last four trips to Sedgefield so I can look past his current form of MC, T31 and MC to put him in the lineup this week. The last time he played a classic course, the Old White TPC at Greenbrier, he perked up and closed 67-63 to finish T3. Maybe he’s just an old soul who needs a bit of southern comfort to get his late summer jumpstarted.
Tim Clark (C): He finished T6 the first time they returned here in 2008 and was second to Garcia in 2012 so I’m confident he’ll regain his July form which saw him finish T5 at the JDC and win at Royal Montreal, on another classic, old-school layout. He closed here with 64 last year en route to T26.
Billy Horschel (B): In two attempts at Sedgefield his first three rounds were 10-under and eight-under before over-par rounds killed him on Sunday. His excellent ball-striking, fifth on TOUR, saw him bang out four consecutive T23 or better before MC at Hoylake and T59 at Valhalla. Majors are a different can of worms and I expect him to be right back all over the flags again this week, especially on a course with minimal rough.
Robert Karlsson (C): I’m riding this horse until I get bucked off. The Charlotte resident has finished in the top 12 in four of his last seven events worldwide and I’m not going to let T47 at the PGA scare me off. He put three of four rounds at par or better so it’s not like he found the yips again!
Brooks Koepka (C): If he wasn’t on gamers radar screens after his T3 to open the year at Frys.com, he was after his T4 at Pinehurst. He must like Donald Ross courses! He also likes Jack Nicklaus courses as he closed 66-67 last week at Valhalla to share 15th place. He’ll be one begging that the Champion Bermuda is lightning fast this week as he can really roll the rock. Plus, like Reed last year, he needs a win to get into the FedExCup Playoffs as he is a Special Temporary Member.
Justin Hicks (C): Ah, the weekly test of course form versus current form comes to us in Hicks as he was third at Royal Montreal and solo second his last time out at Montreux. In a thin field, which this clearly is, I have no problem endorsing the current form. I can’t turn a blind eye to a 67-64 finish his last time out at the Barracuda as he made 16 birdies on the weekend. That’s form in its finest. It’s time to make a cut here in try No. 3.
Ernie Els (B): After storming home last Sunday with 65, that should have been better perhaps, the Big Easy returns to Sedgefield where he posted 65 in 2011 and 65 last year. He finished T30 and T20 in the last two tries and has six of eight rounds 70 or better.
Brendon de Jonge (B): Another with “Horschel-itis” de Jonge’s only two rounds over par in his last 12 at Sedgefield came on Sunday last year and in 2011. Another Charlotte resident, de Jonge’s best finish this year came at another North Carolina track, Quail Hollow.
John Huh (C): His 62 in the second round here last year sprung him to T3 and all eight of his career round here have been 70 or better. After a disappointing MC at the PGA after T3 at Barracuda, I expect him to bounce back this week on a course where he’s proven he can score.
Martin Laird (B): In seven of 12 career rounds at Sedgefield he’s fired 67 or lower including two 63s and a 64. To be fair, he hasn’t played the last two on the new greens but the layout no doubt fits his eye. He enters the week off his only top 10 of the year, T6, at Barracuda where he fired three 66s. He’s No. 139 so he’ll need a solid performance to advance to the Playoffs.
These folks could be on form, horses-for-courses or just plain ol' long shots.
Francesco Molinari: He only has two rounds over par from his last 12 and eight of those rounds were The Open Championship and the PGA. I’m not crazy about him on quick, slick greens but he’ll find most fairways and putting surfaces.
Paul Casey: At No. 125 on THE LIST, Casey has the pedigree to pull it together for one week to muscle his way into the Playoffs. His last two U.S. starts that were not majors went for T13 (Memorial) and T24 (FESJC).
Scott Brown: Gamers love his putting numbers and ability to make birdies and he’ll need both of those facets to fire this week. He hasn’t posted a round over 72 in his last four starts this summer.
Freddie Jacobson: I’ll take a flier on a guy who can get up-and-down from everywhere and make a ton of putts in a light field. He was T17 and T12 in his last two BEFORE they changed the greens.
Charles Howell III: With finishes of T13, T4, T31 and DQ in his last four trips around Sedgefield, I’ll remind you only two of those rounds were above par.
Carl Pettersson: All-or-nothing as the big Swede has the “old” course record and tournament record in his 2008 victory plus a pair of T4s in 2011 and 2012. He’s looking to find that spark that saw him claim back-to-back top 10s in June in Memphis and Hartford.
Davis Love III: With a T12 and T10 in two of his last three, this old dog is looking for his first top 25 of the year. That’s good news and bad news.
Scott Piercy: After easing his way back to action after shoulder surgery, Piercy had gamers licking their chops after a 65 and 66 at Royal Montreal saw him claim T25. He’ll be off the radar this week after MC at Valhalla but I’m sniffing around after his 66-66-64-68 T8 back in 2010.
Johnson Wagner: He’s also a Charlotte native and he’s rolled up four in a row of T34 or better including a T7 at the JDC. Again, it’s a light field, might as well fly the flag with some guys on form.
Tim Herron: Nothing worse than T28 and nothing better than T19 in his last four here but he did fire 61 in the second round, albeit after 76, to share the course record. He’ll need a huge finish to even have a chance of making the playoffs but could be useful in other formats. That first round 76 is his only round above par in his last four outings.
Joe Durant: He’s 50 and he’s playing solid golf on the big TOUR as he’s finished T11, T12 and T17 in his last three.
Michael Putnam: He’s 21 of 27 on the season and has cashed in his last five with three T24 or better.
Bryce Molder: With T13, MC and T14 in his last three, now is the time to take a chance on a guy who loves short courses and can really putt. His T16 here last year shouldn’t scare gamers off either!
Bo Van Pelt: After firing 16-under at the JDC, BVP opened with 66 in his next event only see it go south with 75 (and MC) in round two in Montreal. He’s close.
Retief Goosen: He’s made 12 cuts in a row and his last two are T12 and T25 last time out at Barracuda. He’s cashing again this week as his putter will carry him to the weekend.
Robert Streb: Like Reed last year, Streb hits it a mile and can get hot with the putter so we’ve already seen this theory proven by a youngster here. He only made two bogeys on the weekend his last time out at Barracuda where he finished T14.
Martin Flores: He closed here with 63 on Sunday last year to finish T16.
Jordan Spieth of the Week Last Week
The column was taken over and thrashed by the kid from Texas last year. Out of respect, I’m not changing the title of it for 2013-14. It will remind me just how good Spieth was in the last three months of the season. This year, we’ll still identify an up-and-coming player and/or rookie that fantasy players should have on their radar.
CIMB: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, 24, might have enough money after this week to earn Special Temporary Membership. Pay attention!
McGladrey: Scott Langley turned 24 last April and is in his second season on TOUR. He finished T22 last week and No. 124 last season. #slimpickinngsthisweek
OHL Mayakoba: Harris English turned 24 last July. He won.
HTOC: Er, Jordan Spieth, solo second.
Humana: Patrick Reed won. He’s 23. You need to pay attention.
FIO: Ryo Ishikawa, 22, bagged another top 10 finish. That’s his sixth in his last 10 events on TOUR or the Web.com Tour. He’s an alternate this week as of Monday afternoon.
WMPO: Hideki Matsuyama is 21. In 11 events the last two years, he’s hit the top 25 in NINE of them, including T4 last week. #ALLRIGHTYTHEN
Riviera: Harris English won’t be 25 until July. He was T10; Spieth was T12.
WGC-CC: Patrick Reed is 23. He’s now won three times in eight months on TOUR.
Puerto Rico Open: Rookie Chesson Hadley, 26, took home his first title on the big boy circuit.
API: The young Japanese lad Ishikawa racked up another top 10 (T8) this week. Yep, he’s still just 22.
Valero: He’ll be remembered for all of the wrong reasons but Andrew Loupe, 25, finished T4 in only his eighth start on TOUR. #slowgolfclap
Shell Houston: Russell Henley’s T7 shows him heating up before heading back for another crack at Augusta.
Masters: That Jordan Spieth guy was T2.
RBC Heritage: John Huh, T3, is a TOUR winner but is only 23 years old. Remember?
Zurich: The winner was 22-year old Seung-Yul Noh. He fits this column to a T.
Wells Fargo: Defending champ Derek Ernst was T30. He’ll turn 24 on May 15.
THE PLAYERS: That pesky Spieth was tied for the 54-hole lead and finished T4.
HPBNC: T16 was the best the youth could muster with John Huh, who turns 24 on Wednesday.
Memorial: Matsuyama must be a quick study. He was the 54-hole leader at Colonial yet finished T10. He took it deep this week with his first victory on TOUR, in a playoff, nonetheless. #impressive
FESJC: Brooks Koepka continues to rack up non-Member points and his T19 this week added to that.
U.S. Open: For the second consecutive week Koepka has the spotlight and deservedly so after T4. With Matsuyama, Spieth and Koepka, the future looks quite bright for the TOUR.
Quicken Loans: Spieth and Reed both were T11. John Huh was T19.
The Greenbrier: Even though it is his third year on TOUR, Cauley is just 24. No point forgetting about him now as he’s bagged T11 and T4 in two of his last three.
JDC: Er, that Spieth guy again, T7.
The Open: Frenchman Victor Dubuisson is having some 12-month run. He turned 24 in April. #payattention
RBC Canadian Open: Jamie Lovemark, 26, has battled multiple injuries over the years but he could be one to keep an eye on in off-week fields. T12.
WGC-BI: Patrick Reed was T4.
PGA: Look who was back in the top 10 at ANOTHER major, Dubuisson finished T7. #leeegittttt
Coming Later TUESDAY Afternoon
Playing the Tips will be up and running this and every Tuesday afternoon and will list all of the Rotoworld experts picks in the GolfChannel.com game, the Yahoo! Fantasy Golf game and my One-and-Done feature. Look for it around 6ET every Tuesday for the rest of the season.
And the analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a one-hour live chat Wednesday at NOON p.m. ET. We will be breaking down the field at the Wyndham Championship and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter.