OK, it’s time to pick your cliché:
- It’s now or never.
- There is no tomorrow.
- It’s do or die.
No matter your favorite cliché (or for most people, the ones you despise the most), they are all applicable this week as the PGA Tour hits the end of the regular season.
This week’s event, the Wyndham Championship, will be played at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, NC.
For a lot of the players who entered this week, it’s down to this event.
They need to perform well or they get a three-week unpaid vacation rather than taking part in the Tour playoffs where millions and millions of dollars are up for grabs.
So no matter the cliché, the Tour players know they’ve got to step up their game this week… especially if they are hovering anywhere near that magic number of 70 in the FedEx Cup standings.
Finish at No. 70 or better after this week’s event and you move on. Finish at No. 71 or worse and it’s back to the range.
This week’s event all of a sudden brings a new sense of urgency to players.
Which players are going to step up and play well and get the chance to move on?
Or looking at it from a different perspective, which players won’t be able to handle the pressure and will fade into the sunset come Sunday evening?
Let’s see if we can come up with a couple of players who could make the big leap into the playoffs — or move up higher in the rankings to ensure they keep playing.
Odds to Win Wyndham Championship
|Si Woo Kim||+3000|
|Byeong Hun An||+4500|
No Defending Champ This Week
Tom Kim, last year’s winner here, is going to be sidelined after sustaining an injury in the Open Championship.
Kim suffered a tear in his ankle at his rental home at the Open Championship.
Despite the injury, which happened after the first round, he gutted it out and still managed a T-2 finish.
But now he’s sidelined through at least the first playoff event (next week’s FedEx St. Judge Championship) so that’s going to open the door for the rest of the field to step up.
Time for Sungjae Im to Make a Move
It wasn’t that long ago that Sungjae Im, a co-favorite at +2000 this week, was the talk of the golf world.
The stories were everywhere: He plays every week. He’s always in the hunt. He’s on the road to greatness.
Im went six straight events with top-20 finishes with two sixth-place finishes as his best outings.
Things were looking solid… until they weren’t.
He then hit a spell where his game took a nose-dive.
He missed the cut in three of his next four events and has just three finishes in the top 30 over the last five events.
But, we do see a light at the end of this period of struggling that everyone hits — well, except if your name is Tiger Woods.
In his last outing, Im was T-20 at The Open Championship despite a final-round 72.
We’re thinking that with the playoffs here and Im ranked 36th in the FedEx Cup standings, he’d love to head into the final three events off a victory.
He would also find himself just outside the top 10 (depending on the shuffling of other players above him) with a little more breathing room.
Checking Out a Player Outside the Top 70
For many of the players in the field, they are on the outside looking in.
A win changes that and gets you into rarified air of likely getting into the top 70 and a spot in the playoffs… unless you’re way down the list.
With that in mind, we’re going to check out Kevin Streelman at +8000.
Streelman went into last week’s 3M Championship at No. 92 in the FedEx rankings but an impressive T-2 finish in that event moved him up to No. 84.
He can now see that No. 70 spot as the Tour approaches the finish line, but depending on how others finish around him, he might need a win to get into that top-70 position.
With four rounds in the 60s and a title within his grasp, Streelman can taste that third PGA Tour victory that would guarantee him a spot in the playoffs — something he has been a part of for the past 16 straight seasons.
Here’s to No. 17.
Another Player on the Outside Looking In
It’s a longshot that Billy Horschel makes the leap and earns a spot in the top 70 as he’s outside the top 100 heading into this week.
But, he’s in the field and is playing solid golf so he’s got a chance.
At +6000, he’s another very long shot to win but we’re guessing he’s going to be fighting until the very end to make a move into the top 70.
He’s coming into this week off a solid T-13 last week at the 3M Championship to help him gain a little ground… but not nearly enough.
With Horschel at No. 116 heading into the event, nothing short of a win extends his season by getting him into the top 70.
It would put him right around No. 50 so he would also be in line to make it to the first two events.
Around the Prop Scene
We’re looking for a trend at this tournament and one pops out immediately.
We’re going to take Russell Henley to finish in the top five at +450. He was T-7 two years ago and T-5 last year.
He missed the cut in the Open Championship in his last outing but he’s 34th in the world rankings and 34th in the FedEx Cup standings.
A top-five solidifies his game moving into the playoffs.