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In My Opinion


Former Wake Forest golfers Simpson, Haas among headliners at PGA Tour event in Greensboro

Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro is the last regular-season event on the 2013 PGA Tour season

By Ron Green Jr.
Ron Green Jr.
Ron Green Jr., a former Observer staff writer, will write golf columns occasionally for the newspaper.
David Cannon - Getty Images
Webb Simpson of the United States hits his tee shot on the ninth hole during the second round of the 95th PGA Championship on August 9, 2013 in Rochester, New York.

Webb Simpson has had his moments this year.

So has Bill Haas.

With the major championship season behind them and the FedEx Cup playoffs a week away, their biggest moments of 2013 may still be ahead of them.

Simpson and Haas, both former Wake Forest golfers, are among the headliners in the Wyndham Championship which begins Thursday at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, the last regular-season event on the PGA Tour season.

After this week, the top 125 in the FedEx Cup points race will begin the four-event playoff while those outside the top 125 on the money list will be pushed to a similar playoff-style format on the tour. There they will try to regain their playing privileges on the PGA Tour, where the new season will begin in October rather than January.

Simpson and Haas are inside the top 20 in points, locking them into the playoffs. Simpson, a Charlotte resident who won the Wyndham two years ago for his first PGA Tour victory, has four top-10 finishes this year but hasn't won. He lost a playoff to Graeme McDowell in the RBC Heritage in April.

Last week, Simpson tied the Oak Hill Country Club course record, shooting 64 in the second round of the PGA Championship. The record was broken later in the day by eventual champion Jason Dufner. Simpson was among the leaders after 36 holes at the PGA before finishing 25th.

“I'm an optimistic person,” he said. “I'd rather be shooting the lows and the highs than not really getting the lows. I know the game is there. We just really need to analyze why I am not putting four rounds together, why I'm not being more consistent.”

Haas, meanwhile, won the AT&T National in July, easing the frustration of some near-misses earlier in the season. He has had a career-high nine top-10 finishes this year.

“That was kind of my goal,” said Haas, who became a father for the first time this spring. “I always said if I could have Matt Kuchar's career I would be doing all right, consistently up there. … I love how Kuchar seems to be there every week. I certainly had some off weeks this year but I've been more consistent than any other year on tour.”

While Simpson and Haas are looking at the playoffs, other familiar names aren't as fortunate and are in danger of losing their tour privileges if they don't jump into the top 125 money winners this week. That group includes former Masters champion Trevor Immelman, No. 154 on the money list, Chad Campbell (131st), Stuart Appleby (137th) and Bud Cauley (140th), who finished 35th in the FedEx Cup race last year.

At Sedgefield, they'll be dealing with firm and extremely fast greens.

“They're so fast now there are certain pin positions they've used in the past that they can't use now,” Simpson said.

“There are so many putts that we will have to be playing defense, in defense of running it by three, six or seven feet. It's easy to do.”

Swing thoughts

• Please let screams of “mashed potatoes” and “get in the hole” and “baba gooey” quickly go the way of “you da man.” That was obnoxious enough but at least it went away. Now there's always a wise guy or two bellowing something silly after a player hits a shot.

Do the guys who yell those things go home and watch the telecast on their DVR so they can hear themselves? Stick a sand wedge in it, guys.

• Greg Norman is reportedly considering the opportunity to replace Johnny Miller on U.S. Open broadcasts when Fox takes over in 2015. Miller is excellent. Norman could be, too. So could Paul Azinger and Brandel Chamblee.

• When the Chiquita Classic is played at River Run Country Club in Davidson next month, accuracy will be at a premium because there's a deep, dense crop of bermuda rough lining every fairway. The event, the second of four in the Tour playoff series, should have a strong field with several familiar PGA Tour players.

Ron Green Jr. is senior writer for Global Golf Post ( and a contributor to the Charlotte Observer. He can be reached at
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