2022 Wyndham Championship Preview
THIS week’s Wyndham Championship is a season-defining tournament. It marks the final regular event of the 2021-22 PGA Tour season, with the top 125 players in the rankings guaranteeing their playing rights for next season.
And there are a number of high-profile players who appear to be in trouble. Englishman Callum Tarren went into the Rocket Mortgage Classic in 126th place, with Jason Day 127th, Rickie Fowler 132nd. Former US Open champion Webb Simpson was 125th.
However, all is not quite as it seems. Things will change because the likes of Talor Gooch, Jason Kokrak, Abraham Ancer, Brooks Koepka and Charles Howell are all comfortably within the top 125 but all will be excluded as they have had their PGA Tour memberships suspended after joining LIV Golf.
When it has all been sorted out, the top 125 will progress to next week’s St Jude Classic. The top 70 will then progress to the BMW Championship before the top 30 fight it out for FedEx Cup honours at the season-ending Tour Championship.
Unsurprisingly, the tournament attracts a decent field. Among those taking part are Brian Harman, Harris English, Billy Horschel, Sungjae Im, Shane Lowry, Harold Varner III, Adam Scott, Day, Danny Willett, defending champion Kevin Kisner, Simpson, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Tyrrell Hatton and 2019 champion J.T. Poston.
English is a four-time PGA Tour winner. Last season was the best of his career. He won twice, finished 18th in the final FedExCup standings and was selected as a captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup. He entered this season with high hopes but suffered a torn labrum in his right hip and missed four months of the season. With just 12 starts, he is 194th in the FedExCup point standings but last year’s successes means he has no worries about losing his playing rights.
Harman is a two-time PGA Tour winner who has had five top-10 finishes this season including tied for third at The American Express, tied for fifth at the Valspar Championship and tied for sixth at The Open Championship. His best result at Sedgefield was a third-place finish in 2013.
If last season’s Wyndham is any way to go by then we are in for a real treat as the pressure is cranked up.
Kisner birdied the second extra hole to win a six-man playoff. He struck his approach to three feet on the 18th hole at Sedgefield and made the putt for his first PGA Tour win since 2019 and fourth of his career.
Not that it was easy for Kisner, who began four shots off the lead and shot 66, making birdies on the 16th and 17th holes to reach 15 under and the playoff. His birdie saw off Adam Scott, Roger Sloan, Kevin Na, Si Woo Kim and Branden Grace after all had made pars on the first additional hole.
“My first playoff win,” said Kisner, who had been 0-5 in playoffs. “To be standing here is pretty sweet.”
It was won in 2015 by Davis Love III, in 2016 by Si Woo Kim, in 2017 by Henrik Stenson, in 2018 by Brandt Snedeker, in 2019 by JT Poston, in 2020 by Jim Herman and last year by Kevin Kisner.
Sedgefield Country Club was designed by Donald Ross in 1926 and underwent major changes in 2007. It is a par 70 measuring 7,127 yards. The course record is 59, set by Brandt Snedeker when he won in 2018. It is a tree-lined course that calls for accuracy from the tee.
Shane Lowry has enjoyed a terrific season, finishing second at the Honda Classic and tied third at both The Masters and RBC Heritage, tied 10th at the Canadian Open, tied ninth at the Irish Open and tied 21st at The Open. All that’s missing is a victory. He may have missed four cuts, but Sungjae Im won the Shriners and tied for second at the 3M Open, as well as reeling off a host of other top-10 finishes.
Shane Lowry. Enjoying a wonderful season
Billy Horschel. Hugely underrated
Sungjae Im. Has few weaknesses
Five to Follow:
Shane Lowry. Possesses a wondrous short game
Billy Horschel. Most stylish player on the PGA Tour
Sungjae Im. In form
Brian Harman. Goes about his business quietly
Tyrrell Hatton. Goes about his business noisily
Outsiders to Watch:
Webb Simpson. Has a point to prove
Rickie Fowler. Time is running out
Brendon Todd. Underrated
Greyson Sigg. Rookie having a half-decent first season
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