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BlogFedEx Preview and Picks

FedEx St. Jude Classic

June 9th – 12th, 2016

TPC at Southwind

Germantown, TN

Par: 70 / Yardage:

Purse: $6.2 million

with $1,116,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Fabian Gomez

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 19 of the top-100 players and 5 of the top-50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with just one player from the top-ten #6 Dustin Johnson. The other top 50 players are #17 Brooks Koepka, #20 Phil Mickelson, #46 Daniel Berger and #50 Harris English.

Last year 9 of the top-50 were in the field

The field includes 4 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2016.  Those players are #13 Dustin Johnson, #19 Graeme McDowell, #22 Phil Mickelson and #24 Charles Howell III.

The field includes 4 players in the top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list. those players are #7 Dustin Johnson, #18 Graeme McDowell, #19 Phil Mickelson and #23 Brooks Koepka.

The field includes eight past champions: Fabian Gomez (2015), Ben Crane (2014), Harris English (2013), Dustin Johnson (2012), Brian Gay (2009), Justin Leonard (2008 & ’05), David Toms (2004, ’03), and Dicky Pride (1994).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the FedEx St. Jude field is our performance chart listed by average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the FedEx St. Jude in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the FedEx St. Jude.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

**NOTE**

One thing to look for is our new GOLFstats IQ.  For those that play in fantasy golf it’s a perfect way to help you pick those players in Draft Kings and Victiv games.  You can customize the list of those in the tournaments, to look back a couple or many years of tournament stats and you can go back a couple or ten weeks prior to the tournament.  On top of that, all the stats are fully sortable to help you pick your six players, we even give you their value for the week to help you chose.

That’s GOLFstats IQ, give it a try and tell us what you think of it

24/7 GOLF is no more.  We have retired the name and the app for a new and better app for golf.  So check out

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So if you own a Iphone or a Ipad we have developed a perfect app called GOLF IQ.

 

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the FedEx St. Jude Classic

Player Memorial Nordea Masters Dean & DeLuca BMW PGA AT&T Nelson Irish Open The Players Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Volvo China Valero Texas Shenzhen RBC Heritage
Colt Knost
(188 pts)
DNP DNP T67
(0)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP T3
(90)
T41
(6)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(12)
Gary Woodland
(177.33 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(38)
DNP T28
(22)
T24
(17.33)
T20
(20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Dustin Johnson
(150 pts)
3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(38)
DNP T28
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jon Curran
(141.67 pts)
2
(100)
DNP T47
(3)
DNP T34
(16)
DNP T39
(11)
DNP 82
(0)
DNP T9
(15)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Kyle Reifers
(136 pts)
T20
(30)
DNP 5
(70)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP T64
(0)
T41
(6)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Ryan Palmer
(133.67 pts)
DNP DNP T3
(90)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T23
(27)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP T71
(0)
Thomas Aiken
(119.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T4
(120)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T15
(23.33)
DNP T42
(2.67)
DNP DNP
Tim Wilkinson
(116 pts)
DNP DNP T47
(3)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP T11
(26)
T64
(0)
DNP T29
(7)
DNP DNP
Brooks Koepka
(111.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(100)
DNP T35
(15)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Harris English
(111.33 pts)
DNP DNP 2
(100)
DNP T49
(1)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T17
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP WD
(-1.67)
David Hearn
(100.33 pts)
T27
(23)
DNP T17
(33)
DNP DNP DNP T28
(22)
CUT
(-6.67)
T20
(20)
DNP T13
(12.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Charles Howell III
(100.33 pts)
T48
(2)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
T11
(26)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(9)
Spencer Levin
(95.33 pts)
T57
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
T15
(23.33)
DNP T29
(7)
DNP T45
(1.67)
Robert Garrigus
(91.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP T28
(14.67)
T72
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Brian Stuard
(90.33 pts)
T69
(0)
DNP T31
(19)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
Win
(88)
DNP T55
(0)
DNP DNP
Chad Campbell
(88 pts)
DNP DNP T10
(40)
DNP T12
(38)
DNP T39
(11)
CUT
(-6.67)
T72
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T23
(9)
Daniel Berger
(87 pts)
67
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T9
(45)
T17
(22)
T20
(20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Bud Cauley
(85.33 pts)
T38
(12)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Graeme McDowell
(76.17 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T27
(34.5)
DNP 65
(0)
T9
(45)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Martin Piller
(76 pts)
DNP DNP T6
(60)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T41
(6)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP DNP
Francesco Molinari
(71.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T55
(0)
DNP DNP T7
(55)
T17
(22)
DNP DNP T42
(2.67)
DNP T45
(1.67)
Luke Donald
(70.17 pts)
68
(0)
DNP DNP T27
(34.5)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T71
(0)
DNP DNP T13
(12.33)
DNP T2
(33.33)
Phil Mickelson
(70 pts)
T20
(30)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T4
(53.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Ken Duke
(66.67 pts)
T69
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T3
(90)
DNP T64
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Harold Varner III
(65.67 pts)
T57
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T57
(0)
T24
(17.33)
T8
(33.33)
DNP T9
(15)
DNP 68
(0)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the FedEx St. Jude Classic

Player Memorial Nordea Masters Dean & DeLuca BMW PGA AT&T Nelson Irish Open The Players Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Volvo China Valero Texas Shenzhen RBC Heritage
Brendon Todd
(-60 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Carl Pettersson
(-46.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP 81
(0)
Carlos Ortiz
(-43.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T65
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Peter Malnati
(-37.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T13
(12.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Brendon De Jonge
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T57
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T55
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Greg Owen
(-33.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T79
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T65
(0)
DNP T76
(0)
D.H. Lee
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 71
(0)
DNP DNP
Jason Gore
(-27.67 pts)
T48
(2)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T41
(6)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T37
(4.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Robert Allenby
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Sam Saunders
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

Sorry but the news is more about the U.S. Open and what is going to happen next week at Oakmont than on what is happening in Memphis for the FedEx St. Jude Classic.  Qualifying for the U.S. Open is over and it’s always intriguing the list of players that make it into the U.S. Open.

One item of importance, a couple of years ago the USGA created a new exemption in which a player gets into the top-60 of the world rankings the week before gets a spot into the U.S. Open.  In a way it’s like the Masters last minute exemption for the player that wins the PGA Tour event the week before the Open.

For those on the bubble in getting an exemption there are a couple of players.  One William McGirt moved up to 44th spot with his win at Memorial and didn’t have to qualify.  Now for those outside of the top-60, we have #62 Ryan Palmer and #65 Gary Woodland.  They will need good weeks in Memphis to get that last minute call up.

It’s an interesting question on what is better of each of the four majors in determining their own fields. The philosophy of Augusta National is trying to get the best players, but in a limited dose.  If you want the best field in golf the PGA Championship always comes close, that’s because they invite the top-100 off the world rankings.  Now the USGA invites the top-60 but the rest they give back to qualifying.

In a way this keeps the tradition of making it open to all players around the country and around the world.  Many say that for the PGA Championship to invite the 51st to 100th it looks great on paper having all of these top players, but the emphasis is lost on those players because it just mirrors any other tournament on the PGA Tour and European Tour in getting the most of their membership in tournaments.

Now the British Open to a degree let’s in folks based on a qualifying system.  But over the years it’s gotten a bit bogged down and only about a dozen spots are open to regular qualifiers before the Open Championship.  But the U.S. Open is still back to the way they use to do qualifying 76 years ago as of the 13 sites that had Open qualifying on Monday, about 75 of those in the field will come out of these qualifying sites.  Of course the bulk of the qualifiers will be made up of players on the PGA Tour and Web.Com Tours, but there are about a dozen players that nobody has ever heard from.  So the question is, which is the best way to run a major championship?  Do we just allow the best players in the world in, if that’s the case we have that in the Players Championship.  Or do we allow any golfer that is really good to possibly play?

I feel that the British Open has it right in keeping their championship open to all but at the same time having the best players in the world also qualifying.  Yes the U.S. Open has qualifying for players in Europe and Japan and 17 got in off of that.  But the Royal and Ancient goes a step further and has a qualifying tournament in Australia, Asia and South Africa also, something that would be nice for the USGA to also offer.  Another group of folks forgotten is those for South America, especially with golf being played in the Olympics next year down in Rio, these folks need to be included.  The bottom line for all these championships, it’s a hard mix to get it right and to also do what they have traditionally done for all these years.

Lastly, in past the FedEx St. Jude has always been a great spot to warm up for the U.S. Open because they have narrow fairways with high rough.  For some odd reason the players aren’t coming to Memphis, a shame considering that fairways are tight at TPC Southwind, good greens you would think players would flock to Memphis.

Tournament information:

  • The St. Jude Classic began in 1958 as the Memphis Open. Started by seven local businessmen, the tournament became their vision while in the grill of the Colonial Country Club in Memphis. With an initial purse of $20,000, winner Billy Maxwell collected $2,800. The modern St. Jude Championship began two years later in 1960. The founders of the Memphis Open donated $600 to entertainer Danny Thomas, who helped found the St. Jude Charity. That year, the tournament was renamed the Memphis Invitational Open.
  • The tournament consistently grew throughout the ’60s. By 1969, Danny Thomas decided to lend his name to the tournament and in 1970, the first Danny Thomas Memphis Classic was played. That same year, the St. Jude Children’s Hospital became the event’s only charity. In 1972, The Danny Thomas Memphis Classic changed courses to the Colonial Country Club South Course in Cordova, Tenn. Lee Trevino won the first tournament at the new course. It was his second straight victory. Trevino would go on to claim the title a third time in 1980.
  • In 1977, the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic welcomed former president Gerald Ford, who was out of office and playing a lot of golf. Ford competed in the Celebrity Pro-Am, and amazingly, scored a hole-in-one on the fifth hole. However, that feat would soon be surpassed by Al Geiberger, who shot a record 59 in the second round of the tournament. Sports Illustrated called it “one of the most significant athletic achievements of the century.”
  • For the 1985 tournament, Danny Thomas and other tournaments officials decided it would be best if the tournament incorporated St. Jude’s more, so the tournament was re-named the St. Jude Memphis Classic. The name didn’t last long because, a year later, FedEx became the official sponsor of the event and re-named it the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
  • In 1989, the FedEx St. Jude Championship underwent its second course change, this time to the TPC at Southwind. The tournament has been held at Southwind every year since. 2007 was the first year of the Stanford St. Jude Classic, but with the problems of the company there was a parting of the ways as the event got FedEx back in 2010 as a sponsor and just resigned last week to be with the event through 2017.  Now with all of the sponsorship problems, for the first time in the Tiger Woods/Tim Finchem era the purse of this event went down as in 2008 the purse was $6 million and in 2009 was just 5.6 million.  But in 2011 FedEx came back into the picture and retook sponsorship of the event.  Now the purse has raised back to $6 million but the good news is that the future of the event is stable for the next couple of years.

Course information:

TPC Southwind

  • Germantown, Tenn.
  • 7,239 yards     Par 35-35–70
  • The TPC at Southwind opened in 1988 and became the home of the FedEx St. Jude Classic in 1989. The course was designed by Ron Prichard, with help from Hubert Green and Fuzzy Zoeller. The course opened as a small, tight course with lots of trees, bunkers and water hazards. Originally, Southwind featured zoysia grass on the fairways and bent grass on the greens. The course stayed this way until after the 2004 FedEx St. Jude Classic. Following the tournament’s conclusion, the course closed for renovation.
  • During the renovation, all of the greens were redone and the grass was switched from bent grass to Champion Bermuda Grass. Many of the fairways were narrowed and re-contoured to make an already tight course, even tighter. Additionally, 15 new bunkers were added, bringing the total number of sand traps to 96, three of the 10 water hazards were enlarged and more than 125 trees were planted on the course. Overall, the course yardage increased by more than 200 yards to its current length of 7,244 yards. After the renovation, the course’s rating went up to a 75.9 with a slope rating of 138.
  • In 2015 TPC Southwind played to an average of 70.93 and was ranked 9th hardest.  In 2014 the course average was 70.718, three quarters of a shot over par and ranked 12th on the PGA Tour.  The previous year, 2013 is was about the same as TPC Southwind played to an average of 70.760 and ranked 14th on the PGA Tour.  If players are looking for a breather during the St. Jude, they will find no solace at Southwind as last year 8 of the 9 holes on the back nine, except for the par 5 16th, played over par. The tight, difficult front 9 seems like a pre-cursor to the hellacious back. The trouble begins immediately, with numbers 10, 11, and 12. The trio provides a degree of difficulty, the par 4 10th played to a 4.050 average last year. The next hole can be tricky, it’s a 157-yard, par 3 that bears a close resemblance to the famed 17th hole island green at TPC Sawgrass.  The only difference is the target on this hole is double the size of the 17th at Sawgrass.  Another tough hole is number 14, a 231-yard par 3 that is annually on the list of “Most Difficult Par 3’s on Tour.”   The difficulty of the back 9 reaches a crescendo with holes 17 and 18.  Both par 4s, the 17th is a 490 yard par 4 that was the 143rd toughest hole on the PGA Tour playing to a 4.182 average.  The 18th played the third hardest hole at Southwind as it played to a 4.187 average, the 137th toughest hole on the PGA Tour in 2015.

Let’s take a look at key stats that are important for those playing at the FedEx St. Jude Classic:

This is based on the most important stats for the TPC Southwind, based on data from last year’s FedEx St. Jude Classic and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2016.
Last week we told you how Muirfield Village has lost it’s reputation as the course to get ready for the U.S. Open. This week we have the course that is a perfect place to get ready for Oakmont, that is the TPC Southwind, which has always been one of the toughest courses on the PGA Tour. Just in the last six years it’s never been higher than 14th on the list of toughest courses of the year, in 2015 the course played almost a shot harder than it’s par and it’s 70.93 average ranked it 9th.

In looking at our four categories, our first for TPC Southwind are strokes gained tee-to green, last year the course ranked 6th while last year’s champion Fabian Gomez ranked 1st. Next important is one putt percentage, TPC Southwind ranked 46th, meaning that players had a lot of one putts. Gomez ranked T-2nd in that stat. .
Our third important stat is scrambling, players will miss greens and have to get it up and down. The course ranked T21st last year while Gomez was 8th. Last is birdie average last year it ranked 11st which means it was hard to make birdies as in the field the average was 3.15 per player. For Gamez he averaged 5.00 and was T-2nd.
*Strokes Gained tee-to-green: Course may have only been 25th hardest on tour, but you need to hit it long and straight along with hitting lot’s of greens. So this is important to find a player that will do this

*One Putt Percentage: The figure that shows how many times a player one putts a green.

*Scrambling: The percent of time a player misses the green in regulation, but still makes par or better.

*Birdie Average: Average number of birdies made over the course of a round

Players from this year’s field with stats from 2016:

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

For the rest of the players, hit this link:

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the FedEx St. Jude:

Key stat for the winner:

Major changes came to TPC Southwind eight years ago making it tougher.  It’s a bit longer than before, but the landing areas in the fairways have always been generous and have stayed the same.   This doesn’t mean the course is a rollover, since it ranked 10th on the PGA Tour in accuracy. There is thick rough to contend with, but again those that hit it accurately will score low this week.  But the course is really hard in hitting greens as last year it was the 7th hardest greens to hit on tour, while in 2014 it was 6th while in 2013 it was the 2nd hardest.   One thing that all past champions have in common — except for Ben Crane, Dicky Pride, Notah Begay, Jeff Maggert and Brian Gay — is the knack for hitting greens.  Most of the champions since 1990 not only did well the week of the FedEx, but also in the year they won as the chart below shows:

  • In 2015 Fabian Gomez hit 49 of 72 greens at St. Jude, ranked T8th, for the year he ranked 157th.
  • In 2014 Ben Crane hit 42 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked T47th, for the year he ranked T130th.
  • In 2013 Harris English  hit 48 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked T9th, for the year he ranked 59th.
  • In 2012 Dustin Johnson hit 50 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked T4th, for the year he ranked 81st.
  • In 2011 Harrison Frazar hit 50 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked T8th, for the year he ranked 164th.
  • In 2010 Lee Westwood hit 47 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked T9th, for the year he ranked 37th.
  • In 2009 Brian Gay hit 49 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked T19th, for the year he ranked 168th.
  • In 2008 Justin Leonard hit 45 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked T11th, for the year he ranked 54th.
  • In 2007 Woody Austin hit 52 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked 2nd, for the year he ranked 67th.
  • In 2006 Jeff Maggert hit 39 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked T47th, for the year he ranked 98th.
  • In 2005 Justin Leonard hit 48 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked T4th, for the year he ranked 94th.
  • In 2004 David Toms hit 51 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked T1st, for the year he ranked T20th.
  • In 2003 David Toms hit 58 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked 1st, for the year he ranked 39th.
  • In 2002 Len Mattiace< hit 53 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked T11th, for the year he ranked 75th.
  • In 2001 Bob Estes hit 50 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked T22nd, for the year he ranked 45th.
  • In 2000 Notah Begay III hit 50 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked T16th, for the year he ranked 104th.
  • In 1999 Ted Tryba hit 58 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked 1st, for the year he ranked 60th.
  • In 1998 Nick Price hit 51 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked T8th, for the year he ranked 89th.
  • In 1997 Greg Norman hit 59 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked 1st, for the year he ranked 10th.
  • In 1996 John Cook hit 61 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked 1st, for the year he ranked 9th.
  • In 1995 Jim Gallagher, Jr. hit 50 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked T26th, for the year he ranked 66th.
  • In 1994 Dicky Pride hit 54 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked T14th, for the year he ranked T152n.
  • In 1993 Nick Price hit 55 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked T12th, for the year he ranked 6th.
  • In 1992 Jay Haas hit 57 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked 1st, for the year he ranked 36th.
  • In 1991 Fred Couples hit 47 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked T29th, for the year he ranked 16th.
  • In 1990 Tom Kite hit 54 of 72 greens at the St. Jude ranked 1st, for the year he ranked 3rd.

Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

In picking a winner, it should be more feel than strategy.  The most important stat to look for is players high up in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green.  It’s no surprise to see that nine of the last 12 winners have been in the top-ten in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green, with five of them leading that stat so look for players that rank high in this stat.

Another trend is the non-marquee name winning.  In the last decade at Memphis, Fabian Gomez joins the list of winners that includes Ben Crane Harrison Farzar, Brian Gay, Woody Austin and Jeff Magger as non-marquee winners.  Look at 2009 winner, Brian Gay and 2011 winner Harrison Frazar along with 2013 winner Harris English that is a perfect example of what I mean.  So don’t look for that marquee name to be on top of the leaderboard on Sunday, especially this year in which the tournament lacks marquee names.

In trying to pick a winner, look at those that seem to be just starting to play well.  Maybe this means those that have had a good finish in the Memorial last week or Colonial two weeks ago will prevail.  Look at how the last couple of winners have played, look for that kind of player to do well.  Also look for a player that has had tournaments ruined by one poor round.

Hitting greens will be at a premium. Just like in a U.S. Open, hitting lots of greens goes a long way in this event.  In the last 18 years, four champions lead the greens hit category and 13 of the 18 were in the top-11 of this category.  Look for the winner to hit globs of greens this week.

Look for a winning score of 268 this week, that’s the average winning total since TPC Southwind was first used in 1989.

Since 1989, only four champions (Dicky Pride in 1994, Notah Begay III in 2000, Dustin Johnson in 2012 and Harris English in 2013) were younger than 30.  Six of them were over 40, the oldest being Woody Austin in 2007 at 43 years, 4 months, Greg Norman in 1997 at 42 years, 4 months and 2006 winner Maggert who was 42 years, 3 months.  Last year’s winner Fabion Gomez was 36 years, 8 months and 18 days old while 2014 champion Ben Crane was 38 years, 3 months and 2 days old.  Another oldie was in 2011 when Harrison Frazar was 40 days short of his 40th birthday while Brian Gay in 2010 was 37 years, one months old.

Before 2008, winning the FedEx St. Jude Classic had been part of big seasons for seven of the nine winners. Each had finished the season ranked in the top 25 on the PGA Tour money list the year that they were victorious at the TPC Southwind (Ben Crane was 67th last year). The players are Notah Begay III (2000, 20th), Bob Estes (2001, 9th), Len Mattiace (2002, 18th), David Toms (2003, 8th; 2004, 22nd), Justin Leonard (2005, 12th) and Woody Austin (2007, 15th).  Maggert broke that streak when he finished 60th on the money list.  In 2008 Justin Leonard was 33rd on the money list while 2009 winner Brian Gay was 13th.   2010 was a return to the winner having a big season, no two ways about it Lee Westwood had a monster season in 2010.  Same with Harrison Frazar who was on the verge of quitting the PGA Tour before being saved with his FedEx win in 2011 while Johnson in 2012 finished 17th on the money list.

Last but not least the weather.  As we have seen in the last month, rain has created first time winners and tournaments like last week have not been fun to watch  Memphis is always questionable with hot, muggy days that sometimes have rough thunderstorms in the afternoon. But guess what, the weather is going to be as perfect as you can get this time of year in Memphis, so maybe it will create an exciting tournament.

 

Who to watch for at the FedEx St. Jude Classic

Best Bets:

Dustin Johnson

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
WD T24 T10 Win

Makes sense for him to win this week. Course is perfect for him, he ranks 5th in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green this year. But he has a knack of winning things that aren’t important, like this week over next week. He could of won at the Memorial but made bad choices so maybe that will be out of his system for this week.

Ryan Palmer

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T22 T32 4 T3 CUT CUT CUT T10

Guy has come close in the last month including a 3rd at Colonial, ranks 28th in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green.

Gary Woodland

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T18 T37 CUT

Course is perfect for his game as he is 14th in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green. What is high on his mind is getting into the top-60 of the world rankings so he can have a trip to the U.S. Open

Best of the rest:

Phil Mickelson

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T3 T11 T2 T59

This course really favors his game, yes he has played terrible in the last month but you never know what Phil will do next. Look for him to snap out of it this week.

Brooks Koepka

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T3 T19

Came close at the Nelson, game is better and he has done well in the past at TPC Southwind.

Harris English

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T45 CUT Win

Past champion who has found a bit of form with a 2nd at Colonial.

Charles Howell III

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
CUT T28 T39 T27 T3 T44 CUT CUT T9

Good record in this event, he could surprise us all.

Solid contenders

Kyle Reifers

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
CUT CUT CUT

Has shown some signs of good play over the last month, never has made a cut here but he could be one of those guys that sneak up and does damage.

Brendan Steele

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
CUT CUT

Not a great record in this event, but has been very steady of late.

Luke Donald

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T29

This is the type of course he would do very well on in his prime.

Colt Knost

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T12 CUT T15 CUT

Can’t forget about him, game is shaping up and he did finish T-12th last year.

Graeme McDowell

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
CUT T24 CUT T7

Has played well in this event, looking to getting his game back on track.

Long shots that could come through:

Daniel Berger

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
First time playing in this event

Never played in this event, but has the game for TPC Southwind.

Jason Bohn

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
                                               T29                        T24                     T18                       Cut                         Cut                                                       T19                                                                                                                     T33

Guy has been showing signs of some good play since the heart attack, good longshot pick

Wil Wilcox

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
First time playing in this event

Plays well at Southwind, game has been inconsistent this year.

Comments

  1. Chris C says:

    Sal, any concern with guys trying to qualify on Monday for the US Open and hustling to Memphis?

  2. No because the folks that get effect by it, they weren’t on a radar scope if you know what I mean. Last year Fabian Gomez tried to qualify for the U.S. Open in Florida, he shot 80 in the first round, packed it in and went to Memphis. History will show that the 80 must not effected his game since he won six days later at the FedEx St. Jude.
    But for some, playing well in U.S. Open qualifying can carry over. You get a lot of confidence in doing well and frankly playing 36 holes in a day to get into the U.S. Open is really hard. So it has to help you in that way of thinking. But sometimes, just like winning a PGA Tour event, you burn a lot of brain cells and that could carry over to Thursday.
    Honestly it’s really hard to determine which players it hurts and helps, so that is why we really don’t think about it in doing our picks. Again perfect example, if I was interested at all of Gomez, once I saw that he shot 80 at U.S. Open qualifying I would of forgotten about him. So you see it’s apples and oranges.

  3. Chris C says:

    Gotcha. Gary Woodland WD’d yesterday from qualifier. Hurt? Not playing well and just packed it in?

  4. Again I don’t think it will hurt him, remember Gomez shot 80 last year and still won. Woodland shot 71 and didn’t play the second round, hear that the weather was terrible and when you see your not going to make it you WD. For some it’s getting out of Columbus, probably easier to catch an afternoon flight for Memphis so that could be the reason.
    Still 71 is not bad, remember he finished T-12th at Nelson and T-4th at Memorial so I wouldn’t worry about him.

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