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Your guide to the PGA Tour's Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club

Your guide to the PGA Tour's Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club

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Webb Simpson hits balls on the driving range at Sedgefield Country Club. 

The PGA Tour's Wyndham Championship begins Thursday without spectators at Sedgefield Country Club. The News & Record's Ed Hardin and Jeff Mills and Winston-Salem Journal's John Dell, plus Woody Marshall of the N&R and Walt Unks of the Journal, will provide coverage.

A guide to the week:

Three things to know

What we'll miss most with fans absent

Ed Hardin: I'll miss the kids standing outside the ropes behind the 18th green. I love the look on their faces when they ask for an autograph and end with a golf glove instead.

Jeff Mills: The autograph hunters. The fence outside the scorer’s trailer is the epicenter of the up-close-and-personal fan interaction with the players. It’s easy to get jaded covering sports (especially pro sports), and it’s refreshing to see how cordial and downright friendly the fans and golfers are to one another at that fence.

John Dell: The buzz that is generated throughout the week, peaking on Saturday afternoon. I'll also miss the reaction from the golfers when the fans respond to their great shots.

The best storyline

Ed Hardin: The Brooks Koepka story is lingering in the air, and a lot of people hope he contends and has to answer questions about what he said last week about Dustin Johnson.

Jeff Mills: The golf course. With no fans, that means no luxury boxes, grandstands and hospitality tents lining the fairways. We get to see stately old Sedgefield look like, well, Sedgefield — the only old-school Donald Ross course on the PGA Tour. It’s a novelty for the pros, and a lot of them have much to play for this week.

John Dell: Webb Simpson's chase for player of the year is alive and well, and a victory here would add to his resume. He's won twice this season, and a third one would put him deep into the conversation for player of the year.

Who will win?

Ed Hardin: Every time Webb Simpson walks onto this golf course, I assume he's going to win. His first win came here, and his relationship with tournament goes back further than that.

Jeff Mills: Patrick Reed. He scored his first PGA Tour victory here back in 2013, winning a playoff with Jordan Spieth. Since then, Reed has developed one of the best short games on Tour, which suits this golf course. He ranks No. 1 in putting average this year.

John Dell: Brooks Koepka has something to prove and is very capable of overpowering Sedgefield Country Club. If his putting is above average, he can win against a very good field.

Three others who can win

Jordan Spieth

It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years since Spieth lost in a playoff to Patrick Reed, but if Reed’s drive on the 10th hole goes 3 feet farther to the right out of bounds, then Spieth would have won. Spieth comes into this week ranked 60th in the world and 94th in the points race.

Brandt Snedeker

Once again, not a lot of people are talking about the two-time winner of the Wyndham Championship. That’s just the way he likes it. He won in 2018 with that incredible 59 in the first round. His season hasn’t been quite as successful as he would like, but that can all change this week.

Harold Varner III

There have been 19 first-time PGA Tour winners in the long history of this tournament. Varner, who was born in Ohio but raised in Gastonia, could make it 20. He’s been having a solid season with 11 top-10 finishes, and a victory here by the East Carolina graduate would be very popular.

The marquee groups

Though spectators aren't allowed this week, here are some of the top groups and their tee times Thursday:

7:40 a.m., No. 10: Webb Simpson, Sungjae Im, Brendon Todd

7:50 a.m., No. 10: Brooks Koepka, Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth

12:55 p.m., No. 1: J.T. Poston, Brandt Snedeker, Sergio Garcia

1:05 p.m., No. 1: Patrick Reed, Shane Lowry, Paul Casey

What they're saying

"That was probably the best I've ever hit the golf ball in any tournament in my life. It sounds crazy, but it just felt easy." – defending champion and Hickory native J.T. Poston, on his final-round 62 last year.

"This week I haven't gotten to 10 yet, but in the past, every time I've played hole 10 I've gotten to that tee box, every emotion you can imagine goes through my mind, especially from the playoff from feeling like I let my wife and my team down when right after the first tee shot they signaled out of bounds immediately prematurely, and then getting up there and pulling off a golf shot that I did in order to win the golf tournament. So the highs and lows of just basically trying to get your first win. It's a special place to me, special place to my family as well as my team just to be able to come back and support and be back here playing golf." – Patrick Reed, the 2013 winner.

"It's a wedge-and-putting contest kind of this week. You have to put the ball in the fairway off the tee, which I've been doing a really good job of lately, and it turns into a wedge and putting contest, which historically are my strengths. So I think that's why this golf course is for good for me and I enjoy it so much, I think that's why most of the guys love coming here because it rewards good tee balls and gives you the opportunity to make birdies. Especially after coming off a week last week at the PGA where birdies were hard to come by, it's kind of nice to come to a place and know you can make some birdies and get some good stuff going." – Brandt Snedeker, the 2007 and 2018 champion.

Contact Eddie Wooten at (336) 373-7093, and follow @EddieWootenNR on Twitter.

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