US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III shot a final day 64 to snaffle the Wyndham booty last year – the last time the world saw Tiger Woods on an actual golf course. Playing golf.
And this year’s comp, that tees off on Thursday, is the second-last chance for the Yanks to nail down an automatic top eight qualifying spot for the September showdown, where a few of them need to get a wriggle on big-time or face chanting U-S-A- from the side-lines with the rest of the huddled masses.
Yes Rickie Fowler, we’re looking at you.
With Fed Ex qualifying for the journeymen just outside the Top 125 in that money list also in the mix, expect a tense shoot-out in Greensboro, North Carolina as the business end rolls around on Sunday.
1. Bill Haas
Missed more cuts than David Duval in his first few visits to the Wyndham Championship, but the world number 33 has gotten his freak on lately in his last four visits.
Haas has only been outside the top 10 once here since 2012 and a repetition of three of the 7-20-2-6 form figures would see you collect as Paddy’s paying the first seven places again.
The shaven-headed Haas seems to have grown as a player since his inclusion – and winning putt – in the US Presidents Cup team last year. He sits 12th in the US Ryder Cup list with two tournaments left to shunt himself into the top eight and automatic qualification – or risk not being one of the four discretionary captain’s picks.
Three Top 10 finishes in his last six starts – including a T9 at the Open Championship – means Haas is trending nicely ahead of the weekend and the upcoming four-tournie Fed Ex Championship – an event he won in 2011.
2. Patrick Reed
A final day 64 saw Reed shoot up the Olympic score-board to finish T11 behind Justin Rose as compatriot Matt Kuchar led the way for Team USA with bronze .
Reed has yet to see his consistency rewarded this season with a place in the winner’s enclosure despite making 20 cuts in 23 tournaments – posting nine Top 10 finishes along the way.
Jumping on a jet from Rio mightn’t be the ideal prep, but the 24-year-old announced his arrival in the big league with his first Tour win here in 2013. Needs the Ryder Cup points (currently sits eighth) to guarantee another appearance against the Europeans.
Expect the lippy Texan to be highly-motivated to get that Ryder Cup place over the line this week.
3. Brandt Snedeker
The winner here in 2007 and three other top 10’s in his nine appearances since marks the Sned-meister out as another one of the course-form ponies at Sedgefield Country Club – even is recent Tour form is sketchy.
A T10 at the Augusta Masters marked the high point of his Major efforts this season, but he’s the ninth man standing in the Ryder Cup list and needs to get scoring as he’s had the feet up since being an also-ran at the Players Championship.
The highest ranked Fed Ex Cup point scorer in this field (sixth behind Jason Day) thanks to some early-season consistency and canny points raking.
4. Ryan Moore
A bogey-less 46 holes gave Moore his fifth career win last weekend as he led more-or-less from pillar to post at the rain-interrupted JDC – his first Tour win in two years.
Moore trousered the over-size cheque at this track in 2009 – sandwiched between a couple of missed cuts – and returned last season to post a 10th placed spot behind DL III.
Claims his injury woes with his left ankle are behind him and the straight, accurate, Moore should find the track to his liking again as he looks to become the sixth dual winner this wrap-around season.
5. Justin Thomas
Four rounds in the 60s at the Travelers Championship, including a final-day 62, kinda got lost in the noise around Jim Furyk’s 58 the same day.
Thomas’s best performances all season have followed a ‘mare the week before, with his T3’s at the Honda Classic, the Players Championship & the Travelers all following poor shows.
However last year’s win at the CIMB Classic in November did back-up a T3 at the Frys.Com Open a week earlier. Needs a repeat of that this week as his infrequent course form (two visits in seven years) is patchy to say the least.
6. Webb Simpson
Even when things weren’t working out for Simpson the last couple of seasons, he could always cling to the comfort blanket in Greensboro, where a 2011 win has been backed up with finishes of 22-11-5-6.
Has posted four Top 15s since June but fluffed his lines a bit when T34 at the Travelers Championship – despite three rounds in the 60s. Needs big numbers this week and next week at the Barclays or else Davis Love III can expect some late-night texts.
7. Jim Furyk
Who’d have thunk it. Furyk became Golf’s Mr 58 at the Travelers Championship where the final day miracle lifted him to T5 behind Russell Knox. Furyk has been written off from just about the time he picked up a club but can still do the business – if he doesn’t hit the front too soon, like before the 17th.
Tees it up at Sedgefield CC for just the second time since a T9 on debut to Webb Simpson in 2011.
If Davis Love III can win here at 51 last year, then age should be no barrier to the 46-year-old.