Greensboro offers last chance to make US PGA playoffs
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his tee shot on the 12th hole during the final round of the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on August 10, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky - by Andy Lyons
The tournament at Sedgefield Country Club is the last US PGA Tour event before the FedEx Cup playoffs start with The Barclays in New Jersey, and only the top 125 in the playoff standings will qualify for the elite events.
The tournament is also a chance for Ryder Cup hopefuls from both Europe and the United States to boost their positions for the biennial matchplay showdown which will be held at Gleneagles in Scotland in September.
"Everybody is playing for something this week," said US veteran Davis Love, a two-time Greensboro winner.
"The field might not be as deep as some other weeks around it, but the guys that are here are here for a lot of different, very important reasons."
Scotland's Stephen Gallacher and Italy's Francesco Molinari are on hand trying to boost their Ryder Cup chances.
Gallacher trails Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell for the final automatic European qualifying spot by fewer than 13 points, while Molinari is 30 points behind McDowell, with Europeans having until the end of August to earn points.
Among US players, former Greensboro winner Webb Simpson arrived at Sedgefield with the Ryder Cup on his mind. The nine automatic berths for US players based on points are already decided.
But Simpson is hoping he can play well enough to prompt captain Tom Watson to use one of his three captain's picks on him.
"Hopefully I'll play well the next three weeks to make it hard for him not to pick me," Simpson said.
Simpson will tee off on Thursday along with former Greensboro winner Brandt Snedeker and defending champion Patrick Reed.
- Win jump-started Reed's career -
Reed claimed his first US PGA Tour title here last year and said the victory "really jump-started" his career.
"Playing really well here, and actually being able to cap it off and win, it led me to being able to play very well for almost a full year in a row and hopefully that will continue," said Reed, who has secured a Ryder Cup berth and is headed for the FedEx Cup events.
Those hoping to play well enough to be among the 125 players who make the playoffs include England's Paul Casey -- who goes into the week ranked 125th on the points list.
South Korea's Bae Sang-Moon is right behind him on 126.