Last chance to get in for FedEx Playoffs

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This week’s PGA Tour pick is simple: Webb Simpson, at 10-1, will win the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship.

And it shouldn’t even be close. Overall, he’s got eight finishes of T-11 or better at the Wyndham event including a win in 2011 — his first victory as a pro. He was second here in 2019. He was second here in 2018. He was third here in 2017. Is the picture coming into focus? We thought so.

It’s also a home game for Simpson and his play shows how much he loves Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C. It’s a par-70 course that reaches 7,127 yards.

Now that we’ve taken all of the excitement about making the top pick this week, let’s look at a few other storylines that will have people talking about this tournament heading into next week’s FedEx Cup playoffs. And it’s going to include one choice that, should it come in, will make for a hefty payday.

This is the finale before next week’s start of the playoff race. The top 125 will make it to the first round so the jockeying for positioning hits high gear this week.

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Like the saying goes: There is no tomorrow. Well, at least for many of these players. If you’re outside the top 125 after Sunday, put the clubs away for three weeks because you won’t need them.

After writing in Simpson’s name in ink to win, we’re going to pencil in a couple of other picks as we concentrate on a few players down the FedEx Cup list. Way, way down. Like right around that magical 125 number. We’re looking at a couple of guys who have to make a move this week. And with 500 points on the line to the winner, that’s a great incentive to vault past a whole lot of players and have the opportunity to play for a few more huge paydays during the playoffs.

For guys like Shane Lowry (No. 131) and Sergio Garcia (No. 134), it’s got to be an uncomfortable position to be on the outside looking in with just one event to make a move. It usually doesn’t happen to players of this caliber.

Both are in the field this week and will need a great finish to keep playing. Both could certainly tee it up across the pond if they don’t qualify for the playoffs. But given the fact so much money is on the line in the playoffs, they will definitely feel the pressure to step up their performances.

That’s why we’re looking at Garcia at 50-1. He’s in an unfamiliar position of having to make up points just to make the playoffs. He’s only missed once in the history of the playoff format, and that was in 2018 when he was 128th. He’s not going to want to relive that scenario.

As a wild card pick this week, we’re going to look down the list at someone who’s hoping to make a late move up in the standings. And at this late date, it’s going to take an incredible effort, like maybe a win.

Aaron Wise, who is 125-1, probably isn’t on anyone’s radar. But we’re going to take a flier this week. He finished eighth at the alternate event a couple of weeks ago to get the ship righted just a little. He had gone four out of five events with a MC after his name before putting together a 33-point effort in the Modified Stableford scored event in Northern California at the Barracuda Championship. He had a 19-point final round to move up 31 spots to his eighth-place finish.

That result moved him up to 149th (from 161st) in the FedEx Cup standings and he does have two top-10s this year. He’s now 91 points out of 125th place so there are a lot of possibilities coming into the week.

No one saw his first win on the PGA Tour coming in the 2018 AT&T Byron Nelson. Why not pick up that second win when he needs it most.

Morikawa delivers

Believe us, it’s not magic. It’s just that sometimes hunches do pay off. And the hunch that Collin Morikawa could and would win his first major at the PGA Championship came down to a few tidbits found here and there in our research.

By the way, that’s three of the last five majors our No. 1 pick has won … but who’s counting?

One, he was a Cal grad who had just enough rounds at TPC Harding Park to make him a little more dangerous than a lot of the field. Two, he’s been one of the most consistent players the Tour’s seen as he’s only missed one cut in 29 tournaments as a pro. Three, he follows up marginal play with outstanding play. He won at the Workday Charity Open a couple of weeks ago before slipping to T-48 and T-20 performances heading into the PGA Championship.

And, we can’t forget number four — blind luck. With 156 players in a usual field, picking a winner is never going to be easy. But using a little research and relying on a bunch of four-leaf clovers and rabbit’s feet (well, not so lucky for the rabbits), sometimes narrowing the field down to five picks isn’t as tough as it first looks.

Now a lot of things had to go perfectly for Morikawa to win — like the chip-in birdie at the 14th and his baseball version of the ‘I can’t believe what I just saw’ drive on the par-4 16th to seven feet for an eagle — definitely proved he’s going to make our future lists more often than a lot of other players.

Hope you grabbed that 30-1 before he teed off Thursday. Or better yet, the 50-1 on Morikawa going into the weekend. 

About the Author

Bill Bowman

Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has more than 40 years in the sports-writing business. He's spent the past 18-plus years covering the golf scene in Vegas including 10 years as a writer/editor with VegasGolfer Magazine. He also contributes to the GolfNow Network of websites and Las Vegas Golf Insider.

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