The Wyndham Championship has a regular spot on the PGA Tour as the final event before the FedEx Cup playoffs begin. As well as being a well-regarded tournament in its own right, the Wyndham Championship’s position in the calendar means that it serves as the last chance for many players to earn their place in the playoffs and therefore retain their PGA Tour card for the following season.
Storylines are never in short supply for the annual trip to Sedgefield Country Club. The players on the bubble of making the playoffs are often strewn throughout the leaderboard over the weekend so golf fans have more than just the battle for the title to watch at a course that always produces some low scores.
2022: Kim Joo-hyung
Young players making their way onto the PGA Tour in recent years have been characterised by a lack of fear. Many of these up and coming stars have become used to intense competition in high level tournaments during their college days but Kim Joo-hyung took a different path en route to becoming the second youngest PGA Tour winner of all time at the 2022 Wyndham Championship.
Kim may only be 20 but he is already used to playing golf all around the world. As a child he moved from his native South Korea to Australia, the Philippines and Thailand due to his father’s career as a professional golfer. It is now the other way around with the family moving to support the younger Kim in what promises to be a very decorated professional career.
A quadruple bogey on his opening hole did not mark Kim out as a potential winner but he got better as the rain-delayed tournament went on. He went out in 27 on Sunday to blow the competition away and then finished strongly on the back nine, eventually winning by five strokes. “I stayed very patient this week,” Kim said afterwards. “Instead of getting angry and depressed I stayed in the moment and I can’t believe I won with a quadruple bogey on the first hole.” Four over for the first, he then completed the following 71 holes in an incredible 24 under!
2021: Kevin Kisner
The Wyndham Championship, the final event of the regular PGA Tour season, is always a little chaotic. Every player in the field is jostling for position in the FedEx Cup rankings with some needing a big performance to retain their PGA Tour card. The chaos went up a level in the 2021 renewal though with six players making it through to a playoff at Sedgefield Country Club.
Fans on site and watching on from home were preparing themselves for a lengthy playoff but it took Kevin Kisner just two holes to prevail. Kisner’s birdie from three feet on the second extra hole saw him pick up the win and strengthen the calls for his inclusion in the USA Ryder Cup team. That remains up in the air but in beating Adam Scott, Si Woo Kim, Roger Sloan, Kevin Na and Branden Grace, Kisner ensured that he plays a part in the PGA Tour playoffs for the eighth year in a row.
Kisner’s win was no surprise to anybody who knew the Wyndham Championship form. He had finished inside the top 10 on his last three starts at Sedgefield Country Club. Capitalising on that form gives Kisner a welcome shot of momentum going into the playoffs. As he put it, “You can’t win it if you’re not there, so let’s go keep moving up.”
2020: Jim Herman
Low scoring has long been the order of the day at Sedgefield Country Club so Jim Herman knew he would have to go low on Sunday to have a chance of winning a third PGA Tour title. The 42 year old wasted no time with a birdie on his first hole which set the tone for an excellent round of 63. He was by no means the only player tearing up the course though and only took the lead thanks to a birdie on the 17th hole before holding that one shot advantage over Billy Horschel to win.
A dramatic final day of the 2020 Wyndham Championship nearly had another twist but Horschel narrowly missed a birdie putt on the final hole which would have taken him into a playoff. It was not to be for Horschel though who could have been forgiven for thinking that the fates were conspiring against him. Certainly it felt as though some extra force was behind Herman after he birdied three of his final holes on Friday just to make the cut before steadily working his way all the way up the leaderboard.
As close as Horschel came to winning, Si Woo Kim was the most disappointed player leaving Greensboro on Sunday. He was superb for the first three rounds but just couldn’t find his best golf when it mattered most with an even par final round relegating him to a share of third place.
2019: J. T. Poston
The Wyndham Championship is always a stressful tournament for many of the competitors. As the final regular season event it is the last chance for many to book their place in the FedEx Cup playoffs and to retain their cards for the following season. It is a much more serene event for those who are playing well though as J. T. Poston proved with this win.
Poston did have to fight his nerves to wrap up his maiden PGA Tour title but that was made all the easier by his game being as sharp ever before. Indeed, Poston was in such control of all facets of his game that he became the first player since Lee Trevino in 1974 to win a four-round stroke play event without dropping a single shot.
Keeping bogeys off the card was vital for Poston on Sunday as he saw off several challengers in Greensboro. Webb Simpson came closest with just one shot between himself and the winner for his second runner up finish in as many years while Byeong-hun An and Viktor Hovland finishing third and fourth respectively. It was his ability to make birdies and the odd eagle that really set Poston apart though. As he put it, “to be able to do four [bogey free rounds] in a row is pretty special, and finish it off with a 62 on Sunday is pretty awesome.”
2018: Brandt Snedeker
Golfers at any level know that sinking feeling of hitting a duff shot on the first tee. All the optimism and hope for the rest of the round evaporates in an instant. It can happen to top level professional golfers just as it happens to weekend hackers but the best players possess a mental fortitude that the rest of us don’t. Just look at Brandt Snedeker at the 2018 Wyndham Championship. His first shot of the tournament was a rank pull hook and yet he very quickly put it to the back of his mind and broke the magic 60 mark with a stunning round of 59.
Snedeker was never going to follow up his opening round with one of the same quality. He could be forgiven for feeling a little disappointed with the rounds of 67 and 68 that followed but that third round was split over two days. The quality of his golf during the 29 holes that he had to play on Sunday following a weather delay on Saturday was good enough for a finishing score of -21, three better than Webb Simpson and C.T. Pan who shared second place.
2017: Henrik Stenson
The PGA Tour welcomes a host of supremely talented young players onto its ranks every year. Ollie Schniederjans is just one of a number of players who have been talked up as having the game to become a superstar in time but Henrik Stenson showed that there is no substitute for experience at the 2017 Wyndham Championship. The 41 year old wasn’t always in total control of his game at Sedgefield Country Club but he dug in where necessary and saw the job out in typically cool fashion with a straightforward par on the 18th after Schniederjans had finished in the group ahead.
This may not have been the head to head battle with Phil Mickelson at Troon from the previous year’s Open but Stenson had to rely on his mental fortitude more than once during the Wyndham Championship. His challenge nearly went off the rails on Saturday when he took double bogey on the par three seventh hole but he regrouped to finish his third round strongly with four birdies in the final six holes giving him the momentum for the final round.
In the end, Schniederjans was the only player to seriously challenge Stenson on the Sunday. Webb Simpson was four shots behind the champion in third place with Ryan Armour, Kevin Na and Rory Sabbatini a further shot behind in fourth place.