Wyndham Championship Preview – NBC Sports


There are just 70 spots up for grabs at the 2023 FedExCup Playoffs, down from the traditional 125 number.

That leaves quite a few notable names outside of the bubble, some of them with respectable seasons but it takes more than just a respectable season to crack the postseason this time around.

Some players will be fighting for the playoffs this week at the Wyndham Championship, others fighting for their playing status, and some just trying to pad their FedExCup totals in hopes of making a deep postseason run to East Lake.

The Course

Sedgefield Country Club returns to host another edition of the Wyndham.

This Donald Ross design co-hosted the inaugural 1938 edition of the Greensboro Open and it’s currently set to host its 16th straight, since moving from Forest Oaks Country Club ahead of the 2008 Wyndham Championship.

Played as a par-70 layout, this course does not protect itself with length. It stretches to just 7,131 yards from the tips.

Instead, it is tight fairways, doglegs, and undulating greens that make this course a tough test. Saying it’s tough is a relative term as these pros can still take it low here and there aren’t a ton of big numbers in play, either. The winning score has fallen in the 20- to 22-under range in six of the last seven years.

Off the tee, golfers have options on what club they hit. Big-hitting Keith Mitchell had this to say about his strategy here, “I’ve hit a lot of 2-irons off these tees to just try to get it in the fairway. The rough’s so gnarly out here that the fairway’s a priority.”

Short-knocking Ryan Moore enjoys the lack of options for bombers, “It’s a position golf course. It’s not one you can just send driver down there all day. So guys that maybe have a 30, 40 yard advantage, you know, on me off the tee, you don’t have that advantage around this golf course except around maybe a couple holes.”

The bermudagrass rough is no joke, putting a priority on finding the fairway, as Mitchell referenced.

In typical Ross fashion, long is often dead so keeping the ball below the hole is required. When you are attacking from the rough, having potential flyers to deal with, that task becomes a bit tougher.

There is water in play on six holes and the bermudagrass greens are prepped to run at 12.5 feet on the stimp, which is quite speedy.

The overall scoring environment is on the easy side of the spectrum. Despite it being a par-70 layout, the field finds 0.5 eagles per 72 holes which puts it just outside of the top 5 in terms of eagle rates among regular PGA Tour venues.

Golfers to Watch

Justin Thomas

There is a lot on the line for a struggling Thomas. He added his name to the 3M Open field last week in hopes of picking up some much-needed FedExCup Points. He did not add any points to his season-long tally after missing the cut at TPC Twin Cities. Thomas is just 79th in the FedExCup race, needing to jump at least nine spots this week if he wants to make the playoffs. There is also the Ryder Cup aspect as the current state of his game does not deserve a captain’s pick but a last-minute surge would certainly put him back on the radar. He’s played three times at Sedgefield Country Club but not since 2016 (T-78, T-56, MC).

Alex Smalley

Hoping to follow in the footsteps of Carl Pettersson, this Sedgefield member has finished T-29 and T-13 in two tries at his home course. The Duke product is 47th in the FedExCup race so there is some extra motivation to stay inside of the top 50, as well.

Webb Simpson

The Wake Forest product has a deep connection with this event. He and his wife named their third child Wyndham Rose, because this event meant so much to him. He’s finished seventh or better in seven of his last nine appearances here. Not so fast, though. Simpson has just two top-50 finishes in his last 20 starts. His game has fallen on hard times but if there were ever a venue to spark him back to life, this would certainly check that box.

Billy Horschel

Speaking of slumps, Horschel snapped out of his with a T-13 finish last week at TPC Twin Cities. At 113th in the FedExCup race it may be too little, too late, to make a playoff push. Horschel could be one to watch closely this week and into the fall series as he’s been known to get hot and stay hot at times throughout his career.

Adam Scott

The Aussie has missed just two cuts this season and he’s landed a trio of top 10s. Yet, he finds himself on the outside looking in when it comes to the FedExCup Playoffs picture. Scott is currently just 81st in the season-long race but a repeat of his 2021 Wyndham Championship result (runner-up finish) would certainly push him over the line.

Ranking the Field

1. Sungjae Im
2. Hideki Matsuyama
3. Russell Henley
4. Sam Burns
5. Denny Mccarthy
6. Adam Scott
7. Si Woo Kim
8. Shane Lowry
9. Justin Thomas
10. Keith Mitchell
11. Taylor Moore
12. Chris Kirk
13. Stephan Jaeger
14. Byeong Hun An
15. J.T. Poston
16. Andrew Putnam
17. Adam Hadwin
18. Brendon Todd
19. Eric Cole
20. Ludvig Aberg

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