Aug 30, 2023

Golfbet Insider: Wyndham Championship

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In case you’ve missed it, the Wyndham Championship no longer is the last stop to determine how the class of 2022-23 scatters after the last day of school before finals. What was the end of the line throughout the wraparound era now has a lifeline.

In mid-April, it was announced that the FedExCup Fall was added as a bridge to employment in 2024 when the PGA TOUR returned to calendar-year scheduling. Seven tournaments that contributed to the fall portion of the wraparound season now will be used as additional opportunities. Each will measure performance using the standard FedExCup points structure, every winner will be credited with an official victory and two-year membership exemption, and the top 125 in the FedExCup standings at its conclusion will secure fully exempt status next year.

Many other motivations will be up for grabs, not the least of which is the qualification for the first two Designated events after the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Field sizes will be familiar and based on daylight hours as usual, and field constructions also will be standard. Every tournament but the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP (Oct. 19-22) will have an open qualifier and traditional spots for sponsor exemptions will be made available.

Non-members also are granted an extension to chase a full-time job. Instead of targeting the non-member top 125 at the conclusion of the Wyndham, the new finish line is The RSM Classic (Nov. 16-19). To monitor the progress of notable non-members, I’ve maintained a thread on Twitter all season. You can view the latest edition here. (Registration on X, formerly known as Twitter now is required.) Despite the addition of seven tournaments, the same caps of starts (12) and sponsor exemptions (7) apply to the totality of 2022-23 for all non-members who haven’t achieved Special Temporary Membership.

The Rookie of the Year race also will continue into the fall. Just this week, Eric Cole rose to No. 1 in my Rookie Ranking, which is another full-season thread on Twitter here. An explanation as to why can be found beside Taylor Montgomery in NOTABLE WDs below.

While real golfers will play on for the rest of the year, fantasy golfers have four stops remaining to determine league champions. PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf will conclude its 2022-23 season with the TOUR Championship on Aug. 24-27.

The Wyndham is the last full-field tournament of the regular season, and it’s the last with a 36-hole cut. Fields will narrow to 70, 50 and 30, respectively, until the finale. Because weather early at Sedgefield Country Club includes a reasonable possibility for a delay due to lightning or even thunderstorms, front-runners may be required to roster a blend of the draws to cover all bases and retain position entering the Playoffs. As a result of the timing, it’s possible that one side of the field will benefit, but with the unpredictability of a delay – or not – pacers who lean into one and guess wrong could be in jeopardy of losing a margin if not the lead.

This gives chasers the control, and what a time for it.

Because rationing starts for just about everybody in the field is not a concern at Sedgefield, you can focus on waiting as long as you can to set a roster, and then stack for one side, however sensibly you see fit. If you guess right, then it could be a gamechanger, and if you guess wrong, quadrupled FedEx bonus points await the next three weeks when you’d need help, anyway.

Webb Simpson (+120 = Top 40) … Although Justin Thomas (in ALSO STARRING below) deserves this label more than anyone right now, it’s more fun to spread it around if for no other reason than to be provocative. It can’t get more provocative than the all-time earnings leader of the tournament. Simpson’s slide began in earnest shortly before he failed to cash at Sedgefield last year. It ended a run of 12 consecutive paydays in the tournament, five of which going for a spot on the podium, including the 2011 title. If you’re new to the PGA TOUR and/or to him, his love affair for the tournament and the course has run so deep that he named his third child after the title sponsor, so I’m willing to default to this prop. He’s not among the Miss-the-Cut options, anyway.

Odds were sourced on Wednesday, Aug. 2, at 6:45 a.m. ET. For live odds, visit BetMGM.

NOTE: These are notables who are not included in my Power Rankings or Sleepers. Connect with me on Twitter if you want analysis, insight and opinion for anyone else.

Sam Burns (+110 = Top 20) … Thought that this bet would be shorter, so I’m all over it for the lanky five-time winner on the short list of top talents who could win a putting contest. His challenge is piling up enough scoring opportunities to give himself looks, but he delivered in his only prior trip in 2020. En route to a T13, he led the field in distance of all drives and ranked T4 in greens in regulation by averaging 15 per round. The putter didn’t disappoint, either, as he connected on all 60 attempts from seven feet and in, 18 of which from outside three feet.

Justin Thomas (+170 = Miss the Cut) … So much for last week’s hope and renewed perspective with everything to gain and nothing to lose, at least in my writing here and “Talk of the TOUR” with John Swantek. JT still missed the cut at the 3M Open. It’s his second consecutive MC, third in the last four and fifth in the last seven. He’s projected to need a solo 18th-place finish at Sedgefield to qualify for the Playoffs, but the line for a top 20 is +138, so reach for a little more bang for your buck on the more frequent result of late, if you’re going to be compelled to reach at all.

NOTE: Not everything needs a setup. For a variety of reasons, these lines are too enticing to ignore.

PARLAY: Cam Davis, Aaron Rai and Alex Smalley (+188 = All to Make the Cut)Zac Blair (+225 = Top 40)Chesson Hadley (+400 = Top 20)Nicolai Højgaard (+120 = Top 40)Zach Johnson (+240 = Top 40)Russell Knox (+300 = Top 40)Alex Noren (+260 = Top Swedish)Richy Werenski (+450 = Top 40)Dylan Wu (+150 = Top 40)Carson Young (+650 = Top 20)

Cameron Champ (+200 = Top 40) … His wife delivered their first child, a boy, on July 24, so his early exit from the 3M Open is excused. At 140th in the FedExCup, it’d be nice for an instant injection of the Nappy Factor, but let’s default into this prop to kick back twice your investment. The good tidings of fielding congrats from his peers will dispel any pressure he might be feeling, and he had just placed T17 at the Barracuda Championship, so he shouldn’t be concerned about form, but the inconsistency over time isn’t worth a higher expectation on a track where he’s 0-for-2 and has never broken par.

Scott Piercy … The 44-year-old has been dealing with and playing through a sore back but an explanation wasn’t released for his withdrawal after one round of the 3M Open. He’s now 0-for-5 with three WDs since the Travelers Championship. Something will give at Sedgefield because he’s perfect in his last eight trips since 2010 but continue to consider investing in the other guys in matchups where available. This week’s playing partners are James Hahn and Andrew Novak.

Nicholas Lindheim (+100 = Top 40) … Had committed to the Barracuda Championship before deciding against it. The Wyndham would be just his third start of the season due to an extended leave to recover from herniated and bulging discs in his back. He exhausted his five rehab starts on the Korn Ferry Tour like a legend by cashing in all and punctuating it with a solo third and a win in the last two. It’s why there’s tremendous respect on the board; that value is not a typo. He’s an automatic in DFS and poised to contribute in salary leagues in 2024; that is, unless he rides the heater into the FedExCup Fall and spoils the bargain.

Lee Hodges … Understandably resting immediately after his dominant breakthrough victory at the 3M Open. He’s 33rd in the FedExCup.

Keith Mitchell … The T5 at the 3M Open lifted him nine slots to 57th in the FedExCup, so he’s no longer in danger of missing out on the Playoffs. He’ll be making his sixth appearance in the series in as many chances as a PGA TOUR member.

Taylor Montgomery … Content with his position at 50th in the FedExCup so as to rest ahead of the Playoffs. Of course, the microanalysis doesn’t match that macro because in his last nine starts on his own ball, he’s missed six cuts and hasn’t recorded a top 40. As a result of his slow bleed, he’s no longer atop my Rookie Ranking on Twitter (linked above).

Luke List … Since citing an injured thumb as the reason for detaching from his commitment to the Barracuda Championship, he’s pulled out early of each of his last three. At 119th in the FedExCup, he will not qualify for the Playoffs, and as the winner of the 2022 Farmers Insurance Open, he’s fully exempt through 2024, so he has no urgency to rush back to action.

Davis Love III … The three-time Wyndham winner made his 25th career appearance in the tournament last year. The 59-year-old has been fully exempt on TOUR as a Life Member.

RECAP – 3M Open

POWER RANKINGSPower Ranking Golfer = Result1 Sepp Straka = MC 2 Emiliano Grillo = T10 3 Tony Finau = T7 4 Lucas Glover = MC 5 Adam Hadwin = MC 6 Mark Hubbard = MC 7 Cameron Young = MC 8 J.T. Poston = T2 9 Tom Hoge = T20 10 Hideki Matsuyama = T30 11 Sungjae Im = MC 12 Patrick Rodgers = T37 13 Ryan Fox = MC 14 Ludvig Åberg = T64 15 Chesson Hadley = T27

* - For the recommendations below, an asterisk represents a bet that won.

SLEEPERSGolfer (recommended bet) = ResultMJ Daffue (+175 = Top 40 and +333 = Top South African) = T43 Austin Eckroat (-110 = Top 40) = MC Brice Garnett (+300 = Top 40) = T53 *Aaron Rai (+200 = Top 20 and +170 = Top Brit and Irish) = T20 Chad Ramey (+188 = Top 40) = T53

GOLFBET INSIDERTeam (recommended bet) = ResultWild Card: Justin Thomas (+225 = Top 10) = MC Also Starring: Cameron Champ (+275 = Top 20) = DNP Also Starring: Sahith Theegala (-150 = Top 40) = MC *Also Starring: Alex Noren (+260 = Top Swedish) = T13 *Also Starring: Cam Davis (+170 = Top 20) = T10 Tap-in: PARLAY: Ryan Fox, Mark Hubbard and Patrick Rodgers (+240 = All to Make the Cut) = MC/MC/T37 Tap-in: Ryan Gerard (+188 = Top 40) = T57 *Tap-in: Doug Ghim (+125 = Top 40) = T27 Tap-in: Adam Hadwin (+165 = Top Canadian) = MC Tap-in: Grayson Murray (+180 = Top 40) = T57 Tap-in: Justin Suh (+100 = Top 40) = T43 Tap-in: Erik van Rooyen (+220 = Top 40) = MC Tap-in: Jimmy Walker (+260 = Top 40) = MC

The PGA TOUR is committed to protecting our fans. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, the National Council on Problem Gambling operates a confidential toll-free hotline that you can reach by phone or text at 1-800-522-4700.

Rob Bolton is a Golfbet columnist for the PGA TOUR. The Chicagoland native has been playing fantasy golf since 1994, so he was just waiting for the Internet to catch up with him. Follow Rob Bolton on Twitter.

POWER RANKINGS WILD CARD(+120 = Top 40)BetMGM.ALSO STARRING(+110 = Top 20)(+170 = Miss the Cut)TAP-INS(+188 = All to Make the Cut)(+225 = Top 40)(+400 = Top 20)(+120 = Top 40)(+240 = Top 40)(+300 = Top 40)(+260 = Top Swedish)(+450 = Top 40)(+150 = Top 40)(+650 = Top 20)RETURNING TO COMPETITION(+200 = Top 40)(+100 = Top 40)NOTABLE WDsRECAP – 3M Open