Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This Week in Golf

Wyndham Championship - The PGA Tour will play what used to be known as the Greater Greensboro Open this week at an old course that hosted the same event decades ago. Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina will be the venue for an extremely important tournament for players near the 125th position in the FedEx Cup rankings. The Wyndham Championship marks the end of the new "PGA Tour season," and only the top 125 players on the FedEx Cup rankings get into the the four week long "playoffs." The available prize money during the playoffs is sizable, and the golfers around the top 125 usually are looking for more opportunities to win money and to get into majors. Surprisingly, some of the guys just inside the top 125 are not in the field this week. Tom Watson (#123) and Andres Romero (#125) could easily lose a spot in the playoffs to David Mathis (#126), Todd Hamilton (#128), Chris Riley (#129), Cliff Kresge (#130), or others. I like Carolina boy and '09 US Open champion, Lucas Glover, for the win at Sedgefield. He has been playing well lately, including a 5th place at the PGA. Chris Riley will be my sleeper pick. His best finishes of the year have come in his last few tournaments, and he needs a strong showing to get into the playoffs. The tournament will be broadcast on CBS.

Solheim Cup - The ladies will be competing for national pride in northern Illinois this week in the Solheim Cup. The host site is Rich Harvest Farms near Aurora. The Solheim Cup is the ladies's version of the Ryder Cup. The match play competition pits the best twelve Americans against the best twelve golfers from Europe every other year. The U.S. won in 2007 in Sweden and in 2005 in Indianapolis. Hopefully, the young team led by Hall of Famer Captain Beth Daniel can keep the streak alive. Friday and Saturday are two session days of foursome and four-ball matches. Then the ever-American dominated singles matches will be played on Sunday. The U.S. must garner 14 points to retain the cup, and Europe must win 14 1/2 points to take possession of it for the first time since 2003. Annika will not be playing for Europe for the first time, and many of the Europeans are unknowns here in the U.S.. However similar to the men's edition, the competition is always strong. Players to watch include U.S. star Paula Creamer and young, Solheim Cup rookie Michelle Wie. They will be in the spotlight for the Americans. Suzann Pettersen, Janice Moodie, and '09 Women's British Open champ Catriona Matthew will anchor the European team with strong records in previous appearances. For nostalgia, I hope the captains are able to rig up a Julie Inkster-Laura Davies singles match for the fans on Sunday. My forecast is a slight U.S. edge with the conclusion of team play on Friday and Saturday. Then a slaughtering by U.S. players during singles to recapture the cup by five points on Sunday. The Golf Channel will cover the Solheim Cup all week.

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