The Wyndham Championship
Sedgefield GC, Par 70, 7,197 Yards
Greensboro, North Carolina
Welcome to the easiest course and the most stressful tournament of the year. In a sport filled with cuts; The Wyndham is the final cut on the PGA Tour. Sedgefield consistently produces some of the lowest scores on tour. And it’s primary function is relegation: Think English Premiere League. This course isn’t going to beat these golfers; will have themselves to blame. Sedgefield is only penal when and if you let it. Some water and a few dozen bunkers make up the avoidable hazards scattered around the course. Sedgefield is like a Valspar/Bridgestone/RSM Heritage without teeth…Shorter and easier, waaaay easier.
A quintessential second shot-course, Sedgefield asks one thing of its contestants: Accuracy. You have to hit fairways off the tee to set up your second shot. Much like last week, hitting fairways is key, but unlike last week, hitting fairways is relatively simple at Sedgefield.
There are four holes where the approach shot is beyond 175 yards.
Eight holes have an approach shot 150 or fewer yards.
The other six holes are between 150-175 yards.
Twenty-One Under Par has taken down this tourney twice since they put in the new grass in 2015. Obviously, the ability to accrue birdies after these approach shots will determine success and failure this week. Here is a list of the best Birdie or Better Percentage from 150-175 yards (this includes the two par 5’s) this year:
We need to be looking at SG: APP and proximity stats from these distances. Less than 25 approach shots, on average, are taken from further than 200 yards. Here are the top ranked golfers regarding proximity to the hole from the key distance of 150-175 yards:
We need people to put the ball where it supposed to be above all else here.
However, length is not penal; according to the 15th tee, SG: OTT is equal to DA (Driving Accuracy), and Bogey Avoidance in terms significant stats at The Wyndham. SG:0TT makes sense as a correlated stat, but why would bogey avoidance be so important at such an easy course? I didn’t have time to come up with solid numbers on this, but logically I’m assuming that at such an easy course if you bogey a hole, you are probably losing over a stroke to the field, and Par is probably losing close to half a stroke on the field. Therefore, Bogey Avoidance and, to a lesser degree, SG: ATG (Strokes Gained Around The Green) should also be weighted when constructing your course fit models for the Wyndham.
While this course may be the easiest on the PGA tour, it’s the most stressful of the year. For many golfers, this is “Last Call,” in two very important ways. Most significant: Some golfers that you’ve probably rostered, become familiar with, will no longer be on the PGA Tour as they will lose their card without a strong showing this weekend. And there’s another crew that is on the bubble to make the FedEx Cup Playoffs. It would take me forever to go through all the, seemingly endless, possibilities: http://www.pgatour.com/fedexcup/2017/08/14/fedexcup-playoffs-scenarios-Wyndham-championship.html
And here’s a list of people with a lot to play for this weekend:
One thing I remember from previous years is the number of putts I saw on the 18th hole that rimmed out essentially ruining years of hard work and sending the poor soul back down to the Web.com Tour. If you’re watching, be prepared to see many a grown man cry.
Course history at Sedgefield captures many of the nuances that we might otherwise miss from a tournament that has been held in the same place for so many years. Especially important is familiarity with the Bermuda greens, so prevalent in this part of the country.
This seems like an appropriate time to revisit course history. A cursory review of prior leaderboards shows that the good ol’ boys from the South East that have grown up playing on Bermuda play well at the Wyndham. An anecdotal review of leaderboards from such courses as the RSM at Sea Island and The Wyndham present many of the same characters. If you didn’t grow up playing on these types of courses, you tend to struggle on Bermuda Greens. Unfamiliar golfers struggle with “pace” because Bermuda has a very distinct grain to it.
This “grain” actually does two things that drive golfers nuts; it can change the direction of the ball and depending if you’re going against the grain or with it, the ball will go much slower or faster. As someone that sucks at golf, I’ve always found this to be strange/unbelievable that the type of grass could have that much effect on professional golfers putting ability. However, it’s such a “thing” that some golfers just avoid any tournaments in this part of the country. The ability to play well on this type of grass should be a key component of any model that you are building this week.
Here is a summary of notable course histories sorted by SG: Total, from our friends at FantasyNational.com:
Good luck, and I hope this helps you all take ‘em down this weekend.