By Phil Casey, PA Golf Correspondent
Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald needs to produce his best result for more than five years to keep his PGA Tour card for next season.
Donald must finish third or better in the Wyndham Championship to climb from 159th in the FedEx Cup standings into the top 125, thereby qualifying for the season-ending play-offs and securing full playing privileges for 2022-23.
It is a tall order for the 44-year-old Englishman, who has produced just one top-20 finish this season – a tie for 16th in the Valspar Championship – while playing on a career money exemption.
“Luke Donald is going to be a great Captain.”
— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) August 2, 2022
The former world number one, who has slipped to 523rd in the rankings, recorded his last top-three finish in April 2017 when he was runner-up to Wesley Bryan in the RBC Heritage.
Two players who will be hoping to qualify for Donald’s European Ryder Cup side in Rome next year are also battling to get into the play-offs, although the situation is considerably brighter for Matt Wallace and Danny Willett.
Wallace arrives at Sedgefield Country Club ranked 124th in the FedEx Cup and in good form, the four-time DP World Tour winner having finished 26th and 10th on his last two starts.
The 32-year-old will be hoping that the recent trend of low numbers playing their way into the top 125 in the final event continues, with just three doing so in each of the last two seasons.
Willett is three places below Wallace in the standings, meaning the former Masters champion needs to finish 44th or better to qualify for the play-offs.
The 34-year-old’s exemption from winning his maiden major title at Augusta National in 2016 runs out this year, but his sole top-10 finish of the season came just a fortnight ago in the 3M Open.
— Shane Lowry (@ShaneLowryGolf) August 3, 2022
Former Open champion Shane Lowry is also among the field in North Carolina and was finally reunited with his clubs on Wednesday after they went missing in transit from Dublin.
Lowry will partner Billy Horschel and Sepp Straka in the first two rounds, while Donald is alongside two prospective members of his Ryder Cup team in fellow Englishmen Justin Rose and Tyrrell Hatton.