Wyndham Championship Preview & Picks
BELIEVE it or believe it not, but the Wyndham Championship is the final event of the regular PGA Tour season. At the end of 72 holes at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro we will know how goes forward to the Northern Trust, the first of the four FedEx Cup playoff tournaments.
Henrik Stenson saved his season with a victory here 12 months ago, and this may be a timely moment to reflect on another incredible year on the PGA Tour. Patrick Reed won his first major at The Masters, Brooks Koepka returned from injury to retain his US Open title and then remarkably added the US PGA Championship at Bellerive. That takes care of the majors played on American soil but this was a season that delivered so much more. Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas continue to dominate affairs, with both men seemingly able to win for fun whenever they felt like doing so. Bubba Watson, seemingly in the doldrums, bounced back to win three times. And Jason day, the hugely talented Australian who reached the pinnacle of the rankings only to tumble away when beset with problems in his private life, has also returned with a bang, winning twice and once again looking every inch the world-class golfer.
The biggest surprise has probably been the failure of Jordan Spieth to win a single tournament. Having won three of the game’s majors, the 2017 Open champion came within a whisker of claiming The Masters and looked to have returned to his very best form at Augusta. But it turned out to be a blip. He continues to miss too many fairways and his magical putting stroke has gone awry - for now at least.
We also saw an incredible season from Justin Rose, who could yet finish the year by dethroning Johnson at the top of the world rankings. And what a year it has been for Europe on the PGA Tour. Rose, Paul Casey, Ian Poulter and Open champion Francesco Molinari all recorded victories. Rory McIlroy also won again but for the Northern Irishman this has been another season of under-achievement. He faded away in the final round of The Masters and miss the cut at the US Open before finished tied for second at Carnoustie during a week when he could barely hole a six-foot putt to save his life and yet still only finished two shots behind Molinari.
As you would expect, there have been a number of first-time winners, and the pick of them would seem to be Aaron Wise, a young man who hits the ball a mile and seems to possess every shot in the book. He also has a wonderful temperament. Special mention, too, for Kevin Na. He might well be the slowest player on the PGA Tour but you have to admire his determination. He has struggled with all sorts of psychological issues and yet was still able to find away to hold it together for 72 holes to win The Greenbrier. Like Na, Bryson DeChambeau may not be to everybody’s taste but he has proved without the shadow of a doubt that he is one of the best young golfers on the planet. Who knows? Before long, all of us may well be playing with clubs that are all the same length.
All the above mentioned will be heading to the FedEx Cup playoffs, each with their owns hopes and expectations, but first comes the Wyndham. It was won in 2011 by Webb Simpson (another to return to the winner’s circle in 2018), in 2012 by Sergio Garcia, in 2013 by Patrick Reed, in 2014 by Camillo Vegas, in 2015 by Davis Love III, in 2016 by Is Woo Kim and last year by Stenson.
Ryan Moore. Usually finds his best form at this time of year
Henrik Stenson. Needs a big week
Ryan Moore. One of the game’s good guys
Henrik Stenson. Needs to catch the eye of Thomas Bjorn
Jason Dufner. Not having the best of seasons
Steve Stricker. Still defying the years
Webb Simpson. Enjoying a great year
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