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Opinion & Analysis

2022 Wyndham Championship: Outright Betting Picks

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The PGA TOUR makes its final regular season stop this week as we head to Sedgefield Country Club to play the 2022 Wyndham Championship. Located in Greensboro, N.C., the course opened in 1926 and was renovated in 2007.

Sedgefield Country Club is a Par 70 measuring 7,127 yards. Just as we saw last week at Detroit Golf Club, Sedgefield is a Donald Ross design. The course features fast rolling bermudagrass greens.

The Wyndham Championship will play host to 156 golfers this week, many of whom will be looking punch a ticket to the Fed Ex St. Jude Championship, where the top 125 players in the FedEx Cup rankings will earn a spot. With many golfers having their spot locked up for the FedEx Cup playoffs, the field lacks some big names but is fairly solid overall. We will see the likes of Will Zalatoris, Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Corey Conners, Sungjae Im, Billy Horschel, Russell Henley and Davis Riley in Greensboro.

Wyndham Championship Outright Bets

Sungjae Im (+1800)

In his most recent start at the 3m Open, Im had the best ball striking week of his career to date, gaining 5.5 strokes off the tee and 5.2 strokes on approach.

In addition to the immaculate statistics at TPC Twin Cities, the South Korean profiles as a prototypical Wyndham Championship winner. He ranks in the top-15 in his past 24 rounds in both Good Drives Gained and Fairways Gained.

Putting the ball in the fairway will be of extreme importance, as the rough appears to be quite lush at Sedgefield Country Club this year. Sungjae is also a great Bermudagrass putter and has done a lot of his best work on shorter Par 70 tracks throughout his career.

Im also has some encouraging course history at Sedgfield. In his three starts at the course, he has two top ten finishes and has never finished worse than 24th place. The 24-year-old is seeking his first win of 2022, so I believe the Wyndham Championship is the ideal spot for him to get it done.

Si Woo Kim (+2800)

Course History tends to be incredibly important at the Wyndham Championship, and it could be argued that no player in the field has better course history at Sedgefield Country Club than Kim. He won the event in 2016, and has finishes of fifth, third and second in his past three trips to the course.

The 27-year-old had been struggling a bit but has really turned it around in his past two starts. He finished in 15th at The Open Championship and followed it up with a 14th-place finish last week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

With three PGA TOUR wins on his résumé, Kim undoubtedly has a good deal of win equity and has shown when he gets into contention, he has no issue closing it out.

Kim seems to be rounding into form at the perfect time to contend at his self-described favorite course on TOUR.

Russell Henley (+2800)

Both Henley and his backers built some serious scar tissue at last year’s Wyndham Championship. The 33-year-old had a four-shot lead when he made the turn but faltered down the stretch and missed the six-man playoff in heart-breaking fashion.

At the risk of another agonizing defeat, I’m going back to him once again this year. There’s a reason why he built such a big lead last season. Sedgefield Country Club is a perfect fit for Henley’s skill set. He consistently hits the fairway and is one of the best mid to short iron players on TOUR. After struggling for a stretch, he finally found some consistency last week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, where he gained 5.2 strokes on approach.

There are only a handful of courses on TOUR where I believe that Henley can actually win, but this is undoubtedly one of them. If he can shake off what’s happened the last few times, he’s been in contention he has a good shot to avenge his 2021 defeat.

Keith Mitchell (+6600)

Mitchell was in excellent form prior to the Scottish Open and Open Championship, which are events that really don’t fit his skill set. In his three starts prior, the 30-year-old finished 18th at The Memorial; seventh at the RBC Canadian Open; and, sixth at The Travelers Championship.

While Sedgefield Country Club doesn’t seem like an obvious fit at first glance, I believe Mitchell’s talent is superior to most of the players priced in his range on the betting board. He also might be a better fit for the course than it appears.

Mitchell hits the ball a long way, but when he’s played well on TOUR this season, it usually is because of his ability to have a really hot putting week. In his past four measured events, Mitchell is gaining an average of 3.53 strokes putting on the field per event.

There also seems to be a strong connection between golfers who reside in the Sea Island area and have done well at the Wyndham Championship. Davis Love III (three-time winner), Kevin Kisner and J.T. Poston are all golfers who either live or have lived in the area where Mitchell resides. The style of golf course is certainly something golfers from South Carolina and Georgia like.

Mitchell’s only career win thus far has come at a Par 70 course featuring Bermudagrass greens, and he certainly has the talent required to become a two-time PGA TOUR winner.

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  1. Mark Barry

    Aug 4, 2022 at 8:27 pm

    May I ask:

    1. why the PGA tour schedules three tournaments in the south during August? After Detroit wouldn’t it make sense to distribute tournaments in other major northern markets? Why are there no tournaments in Chicago or New York?

    2. Why not add a major to the August schedule? Couldn’t the majors be decompressed a bit for the players that way? Look at how pro cycling spaces out their “majors”….Flanders in early spring, Italy in May, France in late June/July, Spain in September…

    3. Why not do the TPC in August and move it around? Does the TPC have to be played at sawgrass?

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Opinion & Analysis

Why the 2022 AIG Women’s Open is a momentous week for the women’s game

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The 47th Women’s British Open, currently sponsored by AIG, is unquestionably historic.

Not only is the purse a record $7.3 million, but this week’s venue has a darker, less inclusive past than it would like to be remembered for.

Despite holding 16 Open Championships, the Ryder Cup, Walker Cup and a Curtis Cup, in 2016, the membership controversially voted against permitting women to join the club.

Having then courted controversy and after receiving a ban from hosting The Open, they predictably reversed the decision, and three years later allowed their first ever female members.

It’s been a long time coming but, from now on, things are definitely on the up.

Tournament director Zoe Ridgway told Women & Golf that, “Along with our partners at AIG, we have a real ambition to grow the AIG Women’s Open. We are creating a world-class championship for the world’s best players and, as such, we need to provide them with the best golf courses in Great Britain and Ireland to compete on.”

She continued, “Muirfield is certainly one of these and it will be a historic moment when the women tee off on the famed layout for the first time. That is a moment which we hope becomes iconic for golf and encourages more women and girls into the sport.”

2009 winner, Catriona Matthew, hit the historic first tee shot yesterday, the two-time winning Solheim Cup captain symbolically teeing off alongside another home player, 22-year-old Louise Duncan.

From one stalwart and veteran of the tour to the fresh face of Scottish golf, Duncan won the 2021 Women’s Amateur Championship before becoming low amateur at the Women’s British Open at Carnoustie, 12 months ago.

Duncan turned pro recently, missing her first cut at the Women’s Scottish Open last week, but bouncing back in today’s first round, a 4-under 67 leaving her in third place, just two off the lead.

There is something particularly special about links golf, and certainly when it hosts a major, but this week seems to have additional sparkle about it.

Yes, there are the practicalities. For example, this year will mark the first time the players have their own all-in-one facility, available previously to the male competitors.

Ridgway explained, “It will have dining, a gym, physio rooms, locker rooms, showers, and everything that they need to prepare for a major championship.”

This week is momentous in so many ways. It will be tough, windy and cold – links courses are – and there will be a very deserving winner by the end of the 72 holes, but the event is summed up by Visit Scotland CEO Malcolm Roughead:

“It sends the signal that the women’s game is being taken seriously.”

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Club Junkie

Club Junkie: My BIG guys golf trip WITB and building a custom TaylorMade Spider GT putter

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This weekend is my big guys golf trip. We have a great group of 16 guys who play a mini Ryder Cup style tournament for a trophy and major bragging rights. Trying to put together the two full sets I will bring with me. I love custom golf clubs and the My Spider GT program from TaylorMade is awesome! I built a custom Spider GT that matches my custom Stealth Plus+ driver!

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: A putting experiment

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One of the most fun and challenging things about this great game we all play is that there are myriad things to explore and try, keeping those that work for you and discarding those that don’t. While I realize many golfers just go out and play without giving it much thought, my bet is that most all of you who follow GolfWRX, and particularly weekly columns like mine, are always looking for ways to improve. I’m no different. In fact, I probably illustrate the extreme of experimentation because I’ve spent a lifetime in the game and over 40 years in the golf equipment industry.

In follow-up to last week’s post about the “Two putting triangles,” I thought I would share a recent experiment I’ve been conducting on my own putting. If this just gives any of you an idea that can shave a stroke or two, then I’ve earned my keep, so to speak.

I had been struggling on the greens a bit, not getting nearly as much out of my rounds as I thought I should. And one of the main culprits was that I was just not converting enough of my makeable putts. While my lag putting has been very good, leaving me very short second putts most of the time, where I thought I was sub-standard for an experienced low handicap player was in my success rate in making those “money putts” from 8-15 feet, and I felt like I missed more than my fair share of putts from three to eight feet in length.

To be honest, I tend to get a little “yippy” on those short putts sometimes, but it seemed that mostly my failure to make those putts drilled down to the face angle at impact. I might pull one and push the next one, so I decided to try something new a few rounds ago.

You all know I’m quite the follower and analyst of PGA Tour statistics as a benchmark for performance, so I started there to establish my goals. Here’s what I found.

The PGA Tour average from 4 to 8 feet is just under 69 percent. Given that these guys are the best in the world, have perfect greens every week and experienced caddies to give them a second set of eyes (which have also studied the greens extensively), I figured if I could attain a 50 percent sink rate from that range, I would be “golden”.
Moving out to the range of 10-15 feet, the PGA Tour average drops significantly, to just under 30 percent — only three out of every 10 tries from this range do the tour players make their putts. So, I figured given my recreational status, grainy greens and some very puzzling breaks on my golf course, my personal goal from 10 to 15 feet should be somewhere between one to two putts out of every 10.

In an effort to achieve this improved performance on those shorter putts, I began to experiment on my putting track at home with a “left hand low” grip on the putter. I’ve always gravitated to blade style putters, and usually have one of my own design in the bag. Many years ago, I became convinced that a face-balanced design improve my odds of keeping the face square through impact. But a couple of months before this experiment began, I received a putter from an industry friend that exhibited what is called “lie angle balanced,” the premise being that the face angle is essentially “built in” to the path of the putting stroke.
Anyway, I began to practice making putts of 7-9 feet on my putting track at home and explored its effect with a number of different putters that lean against the wall in my office — all while working to determine the right “left hand low” grip for me. What I found was that it was really easy to get in a groove on the putting track, so it was time to take this to the course.

I quickly found that my putting from these crucial distances visibly improved immediately with the left-hand-low grip. I reduced the action to a simple back and through, and both my “yippi-ness” and face control were dramatically impacted.

So, then I began to keep some stats of my own and here’s what happened over the course of the next 10-12 rounds.

My make percentage on putts under eight feet has improved to almost 60 percent, not that far below the PGA Tour average. Wow. And on putts of 8 to 15 feet, my make percentage leaped to 22 percent, even closer to the tour average. As you can imagine, my golf buddies noticed the change and my scoring dropped by as much as 3-4 shots per round.

Where I’m keeping it different is that I putt the longer putts with my comfortable conventional grip, as it engages the fingertips of my master right hand for optimized touch and feel. So, when success is more about speed than line, I go conventional. But inside 15 feet or so, I employ the left-hand-low grip as those putts are more about line than speed.

While I have always been quite the traditionalist in my approach to this game, I like making putts and shooting lower scores as much as any of you. If you are not converting shorter putts as often as you think you should, you might give this two-grip approach a try.

 

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