Now that major championship season is in the rear-view mirror, it’s time for the PGA Tour’s best to turn their focus on the FedExCup Playoffs and the $10 million bounty on the line.
This week’s Wyndham Championship marks the final chance for players on the bubble to qualify for the top-125 on the money list and for those already well inside that number to position themselves to control their own destiny.
While the field fails to boast some of the star power it has in the recent past (cough, Tiger Woods, cough), the Wyndham has held its own when it comes to great finishes and high drama. I mean, what else would you expect from the last chance to get in on your chance to claim $10 million?
This year’s installment finds many big names needing solid weeks just to keep their PGA Tour season alive. Here’s a look at those who will find themselves cashing a big ol’ Happy Gilmore check on Sunday and those who will be cashing out:
Jason Dufner — With a field devoid of big names this week, it seems like it’s Jason Dufner’s tournament to lose. I know that’s a bit of a jump, but there are few players in the field at the Wyndham Championship with the pedigree that Dufner has and has played as well as Duf Daddy has. On top of his recent form, the 2013 PGA Champion has collected a pair of top-25 finishes in his last three appearances in this event.
Henrik Stenson — Arguably the biggest name in the field at the Wyndham this season is Henrik Stenson. While the Swede has had himself a very disappointing 2017 on the heels of a season where he collected his first career major, the 2013 FedExCup Champion is poised to bounce back and make a run at his second $10 million check. As with Dufner, Stenson will benefit from being one of the best players and biggest names in a relatively weak field. From a fantasy standpoint, it should be all hands on deck in Greensboro.
Richy Werenski — Being that Richy Werenski hails from about 15 miles from where I grew up and currently reside, it’s easy to believe that my picking with my heart here — but that’s not the case. Despite a stretch of five missed cuts in the middle of the summer, Werenski has qualified for the FedExCup — but finds himself precariously close to the bubble in 122nd place. On the heels of four straight made cuts — three of which resulted in top-25 finishes — I think Werenski is primed to make a move this week at the Wyndham, and assure himself a spot in Boston in two weeks’ time.
Cameron Tringale — One of the streaker players on the outside looking in this week in Greensboro is Cameron Tringale. Now, everyone knows by now that I am a big Mac Triangles guy, and this, being his final shot to qualify for the FedExCup, could be the last chance I have to take him this year. Tringale has played well in this portion of the season in the recent past and is poised to make some hay — and the top-125 — at the Wyndham. If he does, his fantasy value will be great and come at a very small cost.
Graeme McDowell — The 2010 U.S. Open champion, Graeme McDowell, has found himself facing an uphill climb if he wants to make a run at the FedExCup. McDowell has made 11 of 16 cuts on the season and has four top-25 finishes, but thanks to a split schedule here and across the pond, he’s come up just shy of qualifying for New York next week. As much as I’d like to say to take the action, I’m punting on McDowell this week.
Billy Horschel — By virtue of his win at the AT&T Byron Nelson and not much else, Billy Horschel is a lock for New York and Boston — but from that point on, his near future on the Tour is in question. The 2014 FedExCup Champion made an unlikely run three years ago, finishing in the top-5 at the Deutsche Bank then winning in Chicago and Atlanta. Unfortunately, I can’t see any way in which that happens this year. Horschel won’t make much noise this week in Greensboro.
Smylie Kaufman — The first of the SB2K17 crew to take the plunge, Kaufman will need a great week in Greensboro if he wants to keep playing golf on the PGA Tour in 2017. Kaufman, who has bounced around leader boards all season, needs to bring his A-game to the Wyndham if he wants to move on. Kaufman needs a 24th place finish or better to move on to next week’s Northern Trust. Based on recent play, I think this is a pipe dream. Pass on Kaufman.
Shawn Stefani — Despite a couple great showings early in the summer, Shawn Stefani is on the outside looking in for the FedExCup Playoffs and it certainly appears he will be staying there. For a guy who has missed his last two starts and hasn’t done better than a T-10 last November, the top-5 required to make the top-125 is a bit of a stretch.