GREENSBORO — In the middle of a pandemic and immediately preceded by one of golf’s majors, the Wyndham Championship nevertheless won’t be lacking for name recognition as a result of those detractors.
From Brooks Koepka to Jordan Spieth to Sergio Garcia, Webb Simpson, Patrick Reed and Justin Rose, the field for this week’s PGA Tour stop at Sedgefield Country Club has become one of the event’s most formidable in years, tournament director Mark Brazil said.
“I think this is probably our second-best field that we have seen in probably the past 20 years,” he said.
The Wyndham has maintained its place on the Tour’s overhauled schedule as the last regular-season tournament, and thus the final decider for postseason positioning in the FedExCup Playoffs that begin next week.
The first round of play gets underway Thursday at Sedgefield. It’s the 81st edition of Greensboro’s PGA event. Spectators won’t be part of the Wyndham scene due to public health concerns in this time of coronavirus. Since golf made its return in mid-June, the Tour has yet to hold a tournament with fans allowed on site.
“There were five or six tournaments that were canceled altogether,” Brazil said. “I didn’t envy what was going on at the PGA Tour with the schedule shuffling decisions they had to make.
“We’re kind of benefitting a little bit from the limited opportunities to play out there this year. We’re lucky to have our event going on. We’re lucky to have the PGA Tour going on.”
Garcia, Reed and Simpson, the Wake Forest product, are past major champions who also are part of the group of 10 former Wyndham winners entered in this week’s tournament.
Koepka is a four-time major champion and recently ranked as the No. 1 player in the world. He tends to perform best on the biggest stages.
Spieth, a three-time major winner, once was among the brightest stars in golf. Brazil called Spieth “one of the top five guys every tournament director wants in their field.”
Simpson, Koepka, Reed, Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Paul Casey, Abraham Ancer, Sungjae Im and Shane Lowry all are ranked in the top 28 of the world.
Lowry is the reigning British Open champion. Simpson, who’s from Raleigh, has collected two Tour victories this year, and had to hold off Ancer to secure the RBC Heritage title in June.