There will be plenty of pressure in this week’s PGA Tour offering as it is the last regular tournament of the season. After the Wyndham Championship this week the top 125 in the FedEx Cup points list will move on to the first leg of the playoffs which begins next week.
It isn’t just the playoffs that is in play this week. As well as the tournament itself there are players desperately seeking every dollar they can get to push to secure their tour card for next season so a lot of players will be playing for very different things.
We have to take that into account all week and the coverage will be based on that. Charl Schwartzel currently sits on the bubble in the FedEx list so we can expect him to get a lot of attention.
Camilo Villegas begins this edition of the Wyndham Championship as the defending champion and with all the various factors around the tournament this is an event which can throw up a surprise winner. The one surprise that isn’t thrown up is the fact it will turn into a shootout on a pretty easy course to play for players of this ability.
Sedgefield Country Club in North Carolina is the venue for this tournament. The course is a par 70 which measures 7100 yards so it isn’t long and the longer hitters don’t really have an advantage. Generally good putters go well here but that is no surprise as the event is built on low scoring. Fairways and greens are pretty easy to hit so the fact the course was the easiest par 70 on tour last year comes as no shock.
After two heavy weeks and a week prior to the playoffs starting it is no surprise that a number of big names aren’t in the field this week although a couple who are having poor seasons have made the journey to North Carolina. Both Martin Kaymer and Tiger Woods are well outside the playoff zone and both tee it up in a last ditch bid to make it through.
Brooks Koepka goes into the tournament as the favourite this week off the back of some good form but this isn’t a course naturally suited to long hitters so I’m not sure how much value is in that 14/1. Brendt Snedeker is next at 16/1 with Hideki Matsuyama third highest in the betting at 20/1. A couple of classy internationals sit high up in the betting in the form of Branden Grace and Adam Scott. They’re both 22/1 and it is 28/1 bar.
Statistics are all well and good and for those after players based on them you’re probably looking for straight hitters and good putters. Scoring on the par 4s is important as it is in any shootout but you need to get the ball in the hole as a pre-requisite.
Motivation is key this week especially off the back of a strong run of events and with potentially four more to come but one man who might be more motivated than most is Bill Haas. Haas is from North Carolina so this is a home match for him so with friends and family in the crowd he’ll be looking for a big week. He’s been in the top 20 in the last three outings in this tournament including a runner-up finish last year so being at home clearly suits him.
Haas has already won a shootout this year at the Humana Challenge and he’s been in decent form around that. He has top 10s in much much stronger fields at the WGC Cadillac and the Players Championship and he was in the top 10 in the Quicken Loans National recently so his form is good and at 28/1 given how well he’ll know Sedgefield I think he’s a good bet here.
I came very close to taking another North Carolina native in Webb Simpson and hopefully I won’t regret not taking him but my second bet this week is on a man who came alive at this time last year in the form of Billy Horschel.
Horschel won both the final two events of the FedEx Cup playoffs last season so he’ll be looking forward to them beginning again. He should have won the last three having bombed a chance in the Deutsche Bank on the 72nd hole but that only highlights how well he plays at this time of year.
Horschel has been in good form for much of the year but hasn’t managed to find that elusive win but on the face of it this course sets up nicely for him and this isn’t the strongest field of the season. Horschel’s putting is improving and that’s important because his long game has been immaculate all year. If both facets of the game come together then Horschel, who needs a big week soon to make it back to East Lake, could well land a maiden 2015 title.
Back B.Haas to win Wyndham Championship (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 29.00 with Paddy Power (1/4 1-6)
Back B.Horschel to win Wyndham Championship (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 29.00 with Paddy Power (1/4 1-6)