GREENSBORO — Brandt Snedeker, a 38-year-old, nine-time winner on the PGA Tour, watched last weekend’s 3M Open and marveled — along with the rest of golf — at the composure of 20-year-old Matthew Wolff.
The climax came at the end of the tournament on Sunday, when Wolff drained a 26-foot eagle putt to win in his third tournament as a professional.
“At 20 years old, I was trying to figure out how to get my clothes down (to) a laundromat, not playing winning golf on the PGA Tour,” Snedeker said Tuesday at Sedgefield Country Club. “It’s fun to watch, and I can’t wait to see them play up close and personal.”
Even before that 26-footer dropped for eagle, Wolff was going to be in the Wyndham Championship, slated for Aug. 1-4 at Sedgefield with Snedeker as the defending champ. Wyndham tournament director Mark Brazil had Wolff lined up to receive a sponsor’s exemption into the field.
Now he’ll come to Greensboro with more clout.
“We all knew it, he won six times (this past) year as a sophomore, won the NCAAs, player of the year,” Brazil said. “Somebody’s going to do all that, you can pretty much write it down, that kid’s coming here. I’m going to give a spot, every year, to that (type of) kid.”
Wolff’s win means he holds exemptions into every PGA event for the rest of this season until the playoffs and for the next two years. His win sent shockwaves through the sport as the youngest winner on the tour since Jordan Spieth won the 2013 John Deere Classic at the age of 19.
And Wolff wasn’t the only up-and-coming star who shined last week bound for Greensboro for the first week in August.
Wolff outdueled 22-year-old Collin Morikawa in the final group Sunday, who also turned pro this season. Morikawa has a guaranteed spot in the Wyndham, too.
“He may get in on his own, but I gave him one at the Travelers on Thursday after his round,” Brazil said of giving Morikawa a sponsor’s exemption.
Wolff and Morikawa, along with Viktor Hovland — Wolff’s former teammate at Oklahoma State who was the low-amateur at the Masters and U.S. Open — represent the next wave of golf’s young stars.
It’s clear that the Wyndham will always have spots reserved for the tour’s rising stars, even with the introduction of the $10 million Wyndham Rewards to attract the top players in the FedEx Cup standings.
“I love those kids,” Brazil said of Wolff and Morikawa. “They both played in my Wyndham Invitational, Collin played a bunch in it, and they also played in my Wyndham Cup with the AJGA. Those are the kids I’m looking for.”