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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Two Events I'm Watching This Week

Well, I guess everybody will be watching them, but they're the events that have storylines I'm interested in this week.

Defending Indy champ Lexi Thompson

The LPGA will be at the Indy Women in Tech Championship, which is held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (aka "the Brickyard," where the Indy 500 is held every year). Tony Jesselli has a preview of the event here, but there are two things that particularly interest me this week.
  • Lexi Thompson is defending her title, and it's her first event back after her self-imposed exile for personal reasons a few weeks back. I'll be interested to see how she plays.
  • I'm equally interested to see how Emily Tubert plays this week. For those of you who missed it, Emily caught the bug for long drives after attending an event a couple of weeks back. This week she decided to try Monday qualifying for the Tennessee Big Shots tournament... and she not only got in, she won the thing! Then she drove to Indianapolis for the LPGA event, which she was already in. I'm curious to see how she does after her unexpected victory.
On the other hand, the PGA Tour will be in my backyard this week, teeing it up at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro NC. As I'm sure most of you know, this is the last regular season event before the FedExCup Playoffs start, so a number of players are under pressure to secure their Tour cards. But there's more on the line than that.

Henrik Stenson is the defending champ, so his card is secure... but his spot on the European Ryder Cup team isn't. A number of players are in the same boat, jockeying for a spot via the World Rankings point list before the Euro automatic qualifiers are determined. Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell, Rafa Cabrera Bello and Matthew Fitzpatrick are all in the field trying to make it in... or at least begin the "impress the Captain" process.

Ironically, none of the most likely American choices will be at the Wyndham. They have apparently decided to take their chances with the FedExCup events. (I should note that Webb Simpson, who snagged the last qualifying spot, WILL be playing this week. This is a home game for him.) But it's worth noting that some players who are more than a dozen spots down the US list ARE playing this week. These are players who usually play here -- guys like Brandt Snedeker and Ryan Moore -- and some good play at a place where they're comfortable could give them a jump on the other guys if that play continues during the Playoffs.

I have my own thoughts on who might be the US picks but I'll wait a bit closer to the Ryder Cup to post them. And I need to see who the Euro qualifiers are before I even try to guess theirs!

Bear in mind that both events begin on Thursday this year. The LPGA event was only 54 holes last year, but it's a full 72 this time around. The LPGA event begins at noon ET while the PGA Tour event follows it at 3pm ET, both on GC.

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