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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Rickie and Patrick Came Back for This

Of course, I'm talking about the Wyndham Championship, the PGA Tour event happening this week in Greensboro NC -- which happens to be about 30 minutes from where I live.

Rickie Fowler

The Wyndham is important to most players primarily for one reason. It's the last regular event before the FedExCup Playoffs begin, so it's the last chance to make sure you're in the Top125, which means that your Tour card is locked up for another year and you get to play for roughly $16million bucks over the next month.

But Rickie and Patrick already have their cards and their spots in the Playoffs. For them, this is about getting Ryder Cup points. They don't have enough of those.

For Patrick, this is a homecoming of sorts. He got his first Tour win at Sedgefield Country Club back in 2013, and it launched him on a run up the OWGR and into the last Ryder Cup, where you might say he quieted his critics.

Patrick Reed shushes the Ryder Cup crowd

But for Rickie, Sedgefield is a new challenge that he'll need to learn quickly. He's currently 13th on the Ryder Cup points list... and that's just not good enough, unless you're willing to gamble on a Captain's pick. But with so many friends who have been trying to get him to come for years -- especially Captain Davis Love III -- he should have plenty of help learning the course.

Patrick holds the last qualifying spot at 8th, but he'd like a little more breathing room. And the fact that he can get it in Greensboro is just fine with him. As told it:
This time last year, Patrick Reed was back home in Texas watching Tiger Woods contend and Davis Love III win the Wyndham Championship on TV.
He had decided to skip the tournament that he won in 2013 to be fresh for the upcoming FedExCup Playoffs. Still, even though his reasoning was sound, Reed was torn.
“(It) was just killing me,” he recalled Wednesday.
So this year, despite a lead-up schedule that included The Olympics, making a return trip to Sedgefield was a no-brainer.
“I was like ‘It doesn’t matter,’” Reed recalled. “I’m coming and playing because this is like home to me, going and getting your first win with my wife on the bag.
“Awesome to be back.”
While it will be fun to see how Patrick and Rickie fare after their quick trip back from Rio, the real drama will be those fighting for their cards. Apparently all but four of the players ranked 120-150 in the FedExCup rankings are in Greensboro, ready to battle it out.

And I can tell you, folks, it WILL be a battle. We're having some serious heat -- high 90s and very muggy -- and lots of thunderstorms this week. These boys are looking at a real test of their endurance. Again, to quote Patrick from the article:
“From 2 to about 4:30 [Tuesday], we’re playing nine holes and it was the hottest I’ve ever seen it,” Reed said. “… Halfway through that nine holes, I was just like ‘Kessler [his caddie], what do we have? Kessler, get the yardage. Kessler, do you want to carry me now?"
Yes, it should be a lot of fun. (At least for us spectators.) And GC's coverage isn't scheduled to conflict with the gals at the Olympics, so we can get the best of both worlds.

I love Wyndham week! So does Patrick, and I bet Rickie will too.

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