GREENSBORO — For William McGirt, the Wyndham Championship isn’t just another PGA Tour event on the schedule.
“This tournament is another major for me, being so close to home,” McGirt told The Robesonian. “Wyndham is a great sponsor and (tournament director) Mark Brazil and his staff do a fantastic job.”
Coming off a two-week break after earning a tie for 10th at the PGA Championship, the Fairmont native will tee it up for his final “major” on Thursday in the regular-season finale at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro —a roughly two-and-a-half-hour trip from his hometown.
As one of three tournaments held in the Carolinas in the regular rotation of the PGA Tour schedule, the Wyndham, along with the Wells Fargo and RBC Heritage, serves as one of the highlighted events on McGirt’s mental calendar.
McGirt made his Tour debut at the 2007 Wyndham Classic, where his brother, Keith, served as his caddie. Earlier this season, Brazil was one of the first to call the six-season pro after his win at The Memorial in June.
Yes, Greensboro holds a special place in McGirt’s heart.
Serving as the final event before the FedEx Cup playoffs, many players come into the tournament seeking to solidify their status within the top-125 field along with their Tour exemption for next season.
McGirt won’t have that on his mind this week. At 14th in the FedEx Cup standings, he’s a lock for his sixth appearance in the four-tournament championship — starting next week at The Barclays — and is in good position to crack the the top-30 players for the first time in his career ahead of the finale in September at the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
But short term, he remains adamant about making the Ryder Cup team. The top eight players in the standings are guaranteed a spot. McGirt is currently 16th in the standings.
Davis Love III, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain, scored a 17-under par 263 to win the Wyndham last season. He won’t defend his title this week as he continues to recover from surgery, but he’ll be scouting the Hazeltine hopefuls as the deadline nears.
If his recent success in Greensboro is any indication, McGirt will have plenty to show Love III this week. The 42nd-ranked player in the world has earned a pair of top-15 finishes in his last two starts at Sedgefield, including a tie for 14th last season.
He opened the 2015 edition with his career-low round of 62 — after taking a two-week break. He faces the same scenario heading into Thursday’s opening round.
McGirt tees off from No. 10 on Thursday at 12:45 p.m. with Steve Bowditch and two-time major champion Angel Cabrera. The trio will go off from the opening hole on Friday at 7:30 a.m.
A Donald Ross-designed course, the par-70, 7,127-yard track is known for yielding low scores, giving McGirt even more confidence as he sets his sights on earning his second win and a spot on the Ryder Cup team come September.
“I love the course as it is always in great condition,” he said. “It’s a somewhat relaxing week before the playoffs.”
The recent success at Sedgefield, coupled with his consistent play this season, placed him sixth on PGATour.com writer Rob Bolton’s power rankings for this week’s event.
William McGirt tees off on the 2nd hole during the first round of the 2015 Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro. The Fairmont native finished in a tie for 14th last season in the event.
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5182. For updates on McGirt’s hole-by-hole progress in Greensboro, follow Baxley on Twitter @RoddBaxley.