The PGA Tour season has been squashed and squeezed by forces beyond its control and strangely the FedEx Cup playoffs are on the horizon despite only one Major having been staged this year.
The playoffs typically come after the Majors have been completed, but the sporting summer has been ravaged, meaning the mega-bucks FedEx Cup shootout will come prior to the US Open and the Masters.
The qualification criteria for the playoffs is unchanged – the top 125 on the standings earn a place in the opening event – the Northern Trust. And this week’s Wyndham Championship is the last chance for anyone outside of the 125 to book themselves a playoffs ticket.
There are some big names who are yet to secure their Northern Trust berth – Open champion Shane Lowry among them. His fellow Europeans Danny Willett, Sergio Garcia, Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Matt Wallace are also outside the qualification places and eager to contend at Sedgefield Country this week to propel themselves into the playoffs.
Former Masters champion, Charl Schwartzel, is in 125th place in the standings, the South African desperately trying to repel his pursuers.
Ailing Koepka May Be Running Out of Puff
The US PGA title was surrendered by Brooks Koepka at TPC Harding Park, San Francisco, last week – and the Floridian picked up a new injury along the way. He was already struggling with a niggling knee issue, but had a hip problem adding to his woes in the first Major of the year.
Many punters expected Koepka to complete a US PGA hat-trick when he entered the final round only two shots off the lead, but a Sunday 74 saw him quickly plummet out of contention and he is languishing 92nd in the FedEx Cup standings.
The health concerns are not helped by the fact Koepka is competing every week, so his body has no time to recover. The Wyndham Championship will be his sixth consecutive event. The field is short on world-class talent, though, so the
10/1 may tempt punters who know Koepka’s A-game is so much better than that of the vast majority of his Sedgefield rivals.
Simpson Looking to Build on Impressive Record
9/1 favourite this week is Webb Simpson, who has become an almost permanent fixture on the Sedgefield Country Club leaderboard over the last few years.
Simpson, whose maiden victory came in the 2011 Wyndham Championship, named his daughter Wyndham because he has so much affection for the event. The North Carolinian loves competing close to home in front of family and friends.
Simpson can boast form figures of 3-2-2 from the last three Wyndhams, getting pipped by Brandt Snedeker and J.T. Poston the last two years. The course sets up perfectly for him – more so than ever now he has become one of the best scramblers in the business. If he misses the small greens, he usually gets up and down.
His caddie, Paul Tesori, has declared himself fit enough for duty after back problems, so Simpson can be expected to contend again.