This article is part of our DraftKings PGA series.
Winner's Share: $1.152M
FedEx Cup Points: 500 to the Winner
Location: Greensboro, N.C.
Course: Sedgefield Country Club
2019 champion: J.T. Poston
After all of the craziness of this PGA Tour season, we have now reached the regular-season finale. And because of all the disruptions and changes, some big-name golfers are still scrambling to get into the top-125 or better position themselves for next week's playoffs, all with the goal of getting to East Lake on Sept. 4. As such, the last-gasp Wyndham Championship has seen a big boost to its field. Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Webb Simpson, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Patrick Reed, Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia head a pretty strong 156-man contingent teeing it up this week at venerable Sedgefield Country Club.
There's always last-chance drama at the Wyndham. But this year, some of that drama will be gone. No one is in jeopardy of losing his card. The PGA Tour announced in April that because of the pandemic, all eligibility will continue unabated for the 2020-21 season. It also said there will be no 2019-20 Korn Ferry graduates other than those who earn a three-win battlefield promotion (those who finish in the KF top-10 will get access to some lesser PGA Tour events).
Of course, there is still plenty of incentive to get inside the top 125, and right now there are bunch of big-name golfers who wouldn't be in the playoffs if they started today. In order, Zach Johnson (No. 129), Shane Lowry (No. 131), Matt Wallace (No. 132), Rafa Cabrera Bello (No. 133) and, most notably, Garcia (No. 134) are not yet in, with the playoffs starting next week at TPC Boston. Danny Willett (No. 143) and Branden Grace (back from testing positive and No. 162) will have to dig deep, as you'll see in a moment. Right now, Mr. 125 is Charl Schwartzel and Mr. 126 is Bronson Burgoon.
Over the 13 years of the playoffs, an average of 2.6 players moved into the top-125 at the Wyndham. Last year that number was two – No. 129 Patton Kizzire and No. 134 Andrew Landry – the same as the year before. It's been as high as five and as low as zero. Almost all of those who do make the playoffs at the Wyndham are inside the top-140. Just four times has someone 140th or lower advanced, with Rory Sabbatini the last to do it three years ago. The biggest jump ever was by Davis Love III, famously winning at age 51 in 2015 to climb from 186th to 76th. So it won't be easy for Willett, ranked 39th in the world, and Grace, a former top-10er now trying to find his way back.
Then there are other top guys who are inside the top-125 and secure for next week – but not the second playoff event, which takes only the top-70, much less cracking the top-30 for the Tour Championship. That group is headed by Koepka (No. 92) and also includes Fleetwood (85th), Spieth (94th) and Rose (103rd). Rickie Fowler, at 83rd, also fits into that group but is taking this week off.
The Tour last year tried to add further drama to the Wyndham, which, we should note, didn't need any further drama added. The Wyndham Rewards Top 10 was instituted. It offers $10 million to the golfers with the most FedEx Cup points during the regular season. The goal was to add excitement to this tournament, but really, nobody cares. In a bit of poetic justice, the top position has been locked up before the Wyndham for the second straight year: Koepka last year, Justin Thomas this year. Regardless, with the Wyndham coming on the heels of PGA Championship and the WGC-FedEx and just before the playoffs, hardly anyone would alter his schedule for the Wyndham Rewards Top 10.
Moving on ...
This tournament is steeped in PGA Tour history, much of it centering around Sedgefield and Sam Snead. He won the inaugural Greater Greensboro Open in 1938 and went on to win seven more, the last one famously coming in 1965 at age 53. Sedgefield opened in 1926 and was the tournament's main host into the 1970s. It has now been back since 2008 and is the only Donald Ross design playing host to an annual Tour event. Sedgefield is among of the shortest courses the golfers will see all season. One of its prime defenses is narrow fairways. They average only 26 yards wide at the 275-yard mark, dropping down to 22 by 325. In truth, that's not appreciably different from last week at Harding Park, though the rough was far more penal there. Really, Sedgefield offers little hindrance to today's modern golfer. The tournament has long been a birdie-fest, with the winning score often in the 15- to 20-under range, though last year J.T. Poston won his first PGA Tour title with a record-tying 22-under (Henrik Stenson first did it 2017). And of course Brandt Snedeker shot 59 in the first round in 2018 en route to his most recent Tour win. The birdie-fest mentality goes a long way in determining our key stats and Champions Profile below. The Bermuda greens are a bit large for such a short course (about 6,500 square feet), but Ross countered that with undulations and run-offs. There are only two par-5s, and they're both short at 529 and 545 yards. There are also six par-4s under 425 yards.
Weather-wise, in a word: ruh-roh. Thunderstorms are in the forecast every day Wednesday through Sunday. They will be "scattered" but this seems like the week where tee times could matter, so definitely check for an updated forecast before the lock. Otherwise, temperatures will be in the mid- to upper-80s, with pretty high humidity, though with winds on the light side.
Fun Wyndham fact: Snead may have won eight titles, but CBS's Frank Nobilo won his lone PGA Tour title here in 1997, in a playoff over fellow broadcaster Brad Faxon when the tournament was known as the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic. Nobilo's former Golf Channel colleague, Brandel Chamblee, was also in that field, but he missed the cut.
Key Stats to Winning at Sedgefield Country Club
The most important indicators every week are current form and course history. "Key Stats" follow in importance.
• Greens in regulation/Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
• Proximity to the hole
• Putting average/Strokes Gained: Putting
• Birdie-or-Better Percentage
Last year, Poston didn't have as many birdies as the champion normally does. He didn't need them. That's because he had ZERO bogeys. That's right, zippo. He had 20 birdies and one eagle. Snedeker, beginning with his 59, shot 21-under with 24 birdies and two eagles. Stenson shot 22-under and Kim was also at 21-under. Stenson made a whopping 29 birdies. Kim had 26 plus an eagle. When you birdie more than a third of the holes, it's almost as if "birdie-fest" doesn't fully tell the story. Maybe eagle-fest? There were "only" 51 last year and oftentimes there are lots more. For instance, there were a whopping 77 of them in 2018. Greens in regulation numbers are always high across the board. It's more than that. You have to get the ball close to the hole (proximity) or make a lot of putts, or both. Poston was third in proximity (plus second in driving accuracy, first in GIR, first in scrambling and 13th in putting). Stenson and Kim each led the field in proximity, and just about everyone the past decade ranked in the top-10.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS
Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap
Tier 1 Values
Webb Simpson - $11,200 (Winning odds at golfodds.com: 10-1)
Simpson at the Wyndham is as close to an automatic as there is in DFS golf. He's in the field every year and excels almost every year. He even named a daughter Wyndham. He's been runner-up the past two years, was third the year before, won it in 2011 and has three other top-10s in the past decade. If you need more, he's playing great and is ranked fourth on Tour in birdie or better percentage. This is one big fat green-light special, but be prepared to have lots of company on the Simpson Bandwagon.
Patrick Reed - $10,700 (16-1)
Reed showed once again last week that narrow fairways cannot hold him back, even though he's short and inaccurate off the tee. He is ranked top-10 on Tour in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green and Putting as well as in birdie or better percentage. There is no better all-around short game in golf. Reed won an epic playoff against Jordan Spieth at the 2013 Wyndham. He's been back only three times since, all top-25s, including last year. Reed will cost you $1,000 more than he did last year.
Paul Casey - $10,300 (20-1)
It doesn't matter when you find your game, as long as you don't find it too late. Casey found something last week in finishing runner-up at the PGA Championship. He hasn't been a regular visitor to the Wyndham, but he was 13th last year and third in his previous trip to Sedgefield in 2015.
Harris English - $9,300 (25-1)
Any time a guy takes a big jump in price, more than a few hundred dollars, it's not necessarily a red flag. But it is a yellow flag in English's case. Still, English comes here almost every year, makes the cut every time, has a couple of top-15s – and all of that was when he wasn't playing as well as he is now. He notched his whopping 11th top-25 last week at Harding Park, giving him four in a row. He's ranked 11th on Tour in GIR, third in scrambling, 14th in SG: Putting. There's been no weakness in his game this season.
Tier 2 Values
Brendon Todd - $8,900 (40-1)
Todd keeps chugging along, hitting it right down the middle, getting the ball in the hole, notching top-25 after top-25. He turned in his fourth top-25 in his past five starts last week at the PGA. Maybe his biggest weakness is that he hits the ball so dang short – he's ranked outside the top-200 in driving distance. What's the antidote for that? A short course, of course. That should help most of his stats improve, and he's already first on Tour in scrambling and 23rd in SG: Putting.
Shane Lowry - $8,700 (40-1)
Outside of a tie for sixth at the WGC-FedEx, Lowry has struggled since the restart. He needs a good result this week or he's gonna do a lot of sitting around for the next few weeks – or head back home to Ireland. Neither is a great option these days. He played the Wyndham three times from 2016-18, with a tie for seventh sandwiching two poor finishes. Lowry is ranked 28th on Tour in SG: Tee-to-Green, which in this field is among the best.
Kevin Kisner - $8,300 (40-1)
Kisner has found his putting stroke of late and, voila!, he's playing better. He tied for third at the Rocket Mortgage and has added top-25s the past two weeks at the WGC and PGA. Get this: Kisner was ranked 83rd on Tour in SG: Putting before those two tournaments; he's now ranked 25th. He was seventh in putting at the PGA. You would think Kisner is a Wyndham type of guy being from nearby, but he last played in 2017. He notched top-10s in his two prior visits before that one.
Ryan Moore - $8,100 (40-1)
Moore has not had a great season, but he's played his best in birdie-fests, including a tie for 12th recently at the 3M Open (14-under). He was T6 at the Amex (19-under), T8 at the CJ Cup (12-under) and T13 at the Shriners (17-under). Moore is safely into the first playoff event, but at 91st in the standings he's got work to do to crack the top-70. Moore has top-10s in two of his previous four Wyndhams, including T6 two years ago, and won it all back in 2009.
Tier 3 Values
Russell Henley - $7,700 (50-1)
At 118th in the point standings, Henley is safely through to next week's The Northern Trust. He's playing far better now than a standard No. 118, making four of his past five cuts, including at the PGA. Henley's strength is his iron play – he's ranked fourth in SG: Approach, seventh in GIR and 16th in SG: Tee-to-Green. Plus he's 18th in scrambling. Putting? Please don't ask. Henley was 31st at the Wyndham a year ago, when his game was in a deep slump.
Tom Lewis - $7,600 (80-1)
The Englishman was really starting to get the hang of American tracks until running into a buzz saw named Harding Park. He was co-WGC-runner-up at a difficult TPC Southwind course and also tied for 12th at the Rocket Mortgage birdie-fest. Lewis is 120th in the point standings, a little too close for comfort heading into his Wyndham debut. He's a very long hitter who also is ranked in the top-35 on Tour in GIR. Sedgefield's larger greens should limit Lewis's scrambling opportunities, which for him would be a good thing.
Maverick McNealy - $7,600 (80-1)
McNealy is looking pretty good for two playoff events right now, ranked 57th in the point standings. He owes a lot of that to recent top-10s at the Barracuda Championship and Rocket Mortgage Classic, where he tied for eighth at 15-under. He's not great with his driver or irons, but he's still ranked 25th on Tour in birdie or better percentage because of scrambling (ranked 17th) and putting (11th).
Henrik Norlander - $7,300 (60-1)
When we last saw Norlander in late July, he was completing a fifth straight cash with a top-25 at the 3M Open. He's ranked 10th in driving accuracy and 19th in GIR, and a respectable 71st in birdie or better percentage. Norlander has played the Wyndham twice, missing the cut in 2016 but tying for 16th in 2013.
Sepp Straka - $7,100 (100-1)
Straka has ripped off five straight cuts – one of them was last week's PGA and three others were top-25s. That's a pretty significant correction for someone who's missed 13 cuts in 23 starts this season. Just about all of his stats are average or better, so it's unclear where he ran into so much difficulty earlier in the season, especially in the weaker-field fall events. Straka played the Wyndham last year and tied for 39th.
Adam Long - $6,900 (80-1)
We've gone to Long often this season and more times than not, he's delivered. For a guy with nine top-25s, a sub-$7000 price doesn't seem to jibe. He's also 24th in the standings and a lock for at least two playoff events. Long has made four of his past five cuts, including last week's PGA. Two of those four were top-25s, and one of them was a runner-up at the 3M Open. None of his stats stand out as bad; he's more midrange across the board, except maybe with shortness off the tee.
Denny McCarthy - $6,900 (125-1)
Being the No. 1-ranked putter surely covers up a lot of trouble spots. McCarthy otherwise has pretty horrible stats across the board. Yet he's missed only four cuts all season (with one WD). He reached the weekend at the PGA, where he led the tournament with three eagles. Remember where Collin Morikawa hit it to seven feet on No. 16? McCarthy hit it to two feet earlier on Sunday (Morikawa, however, played the other 71 holes far better). McCarthy is also ranked 31st on Tour in birdie or better percentage. This will be his third Wyndham – he tied for 22nd last year and for 36th the year before.
Mark Hubbard - $6,700 (150-1)
Hubbard has not missed a cut in seven tries since the restart (he did WD from the Workday). He tied for 51st at the PGA. His best finishes of late have been at birdie-fests – T12 at the Rocket Mortgage and T33 at the RBC. Hubbard doesn't haven't any red-flag stats, but he doesn't especially shine in any area except putting (ranked 28th). Somehow, he gets it done almost every week. He has played the Wyndham three times, lastly in 2017, when he tied for 24th.