The conclusion of the 2020-21 PGA Tour regular season is here after nearly a year of action with this week's Wyndham Championship. It's one of the more interesting tournaments to follow all season as players can move inside and out of the top 125 in the FedEx Cup rankings and keep (or lose) their cards by the thinnest of margins. There is plenty of that in play this week at Sedgefield Country Club as the regular season wraps and playoffs start to take shape.
Let's take a closer look at this week's contest with odds provided via Caesars Sportsbook.
Event: Wyndham Championship | Dates: Aug. 12-15
Location: Sedgefield Country Club -- Greensboro, North Carolina
Par: 70 | Purse: $6.4 million
Three things to know
1. The Zalatoris Problem: The No. 29 player in the world is playing the Wyndham Championship this week, and it might be his last tournament of the season. Will Zalatoris does not have full status on the PGA Tour despite a terrific season, and because of the way the current system is set up, he will not be in the FedEx Cup Playoffs next week unless he wins this week and earns his PGA Tour card. This will have little bearing on his status as a future PGA Tour member or what tournaments he plays next season, but it would be a bummer for him to have to forego a chance at the monstrous money at stake over the next month as well as a shot at securing one of the last Ryder Cup spots on the U.S. squad.
2. On the edge: Here is the non-exhaustive list of golfers playing the Wyndham who are also trying to get inside the top 125 (or stay in it) and make the playoffs. Not all of them will lose their cards, but there are some huge names in here who could be on the outside looking in come The Northern Trust next weekend. The most intriguing is probably Rickie Fowler, who has played in every FedEx Cup Playoffs since 2010 (and finished in the top 10 in three of them). He won't lose his PGA Tour card, but he needs a big showing at Sedgefield to have a tee time next week at Liberty National. There are signs that this is possible. He ranks 16th in this field in strokes gained over his last 20 rounds and has made three cuts in a row (and five of six) after a spring full of starts and stops.
3. Webb's opportunity: Webb Simpson has a lot at stake over the next month. Not only is he one of the few currently outside the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings who could actually win the FedEx Cup, he's currently No. 13 in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings. After a summer in which he didn't make much noise, partly due to an injury that kept him out of the Wells Fargo Championship, Simpson has notched a pair of top 20s in a row at the Open Championship and WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. He's always a menace at Sedgefield, and with a little momentum now, I expect him to keep it into the playoffs.
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Grading the field
The Wyndham field is almost always interesting, and it has some nice names this year. Hideki Matsuyama, Webb Simpson, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Adam Scott, Tommy Fleetwood, Matthew Wolff, Justin Rose and Zalatoris will all tee it up this week. And while only a few of them are having really strong years, all will be nice draws for fans in this regular-season finale with a few of them fighting for a berth in the postseason. Grade: B-
2021 Wyndham Championship picks
|Winner (22-1): This was updated after Louis Oosthuizen withdrew with an injury (Oosthuizen was originally the pick here). I'm going with Will Zalatoris instead. He has a ton to play for (see above) and has been among the five best golfers in this field from tee to green over the last six months. He's been fading just slightly, but the talent is immense, and I trust that this finale will jolt him back into where he should be existing, which is among the very best players in this field.|
|Top 10 (14-1 to win): Nobody on the planet is hitting it better than Matsuyama right now. He's gaining over 2.4 strokes per round from tee to green over his last 20 rounds, and nobody else in this field is even over 1.6. The putter will determine whether he contends to win, but it's extremely easy to envision him grabbing a third top 10 in a row.|
|Sleeper (50-1): I love the odds here on Pereira, who is coming in off a really nice showing at the Olympics. It's not just his success there, though, that has me excited. He won twice on the Korn Ferry Tour earlier this year, and has three top 10s in his last four starts worldwide (he fell back a bit at the Barracuda Championship where he finished T39). His game has been excellent all-around for the past few months, and 50-1 is a good number for somebody who could have easily been a bronze medalist in Tokyo.|