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BlogFedEx St. Jude Preview and Picks

FedEx St. Jude Classic

June 8th – 11th, 2017

TPC Southwind

Germantown, TN

Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,244

Purse: $6.4 million

with $1,152,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Daniel Berger

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 26 of the top-100 players and 12 of the top-50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with just one player from the top-ten #9 Rickie Fowler. The other top 50 players are #12 Adam Scott, #16 Francesco Molinari, #21 Charl Schwartzel, #22 Brooks Koepka, #23 Phil Mickelson, #26 Kevin Chappell, #30 Rafael Cabrera Bello, #38 Russell Knox, #43 Daniel Berger, #48 Billy Horschel and #49 J.B. Holmes.

Last year 5 of the top-50 were in the field

The field includes 5 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2017.  Those players are #8 Rickie Fowler, #16 Russell Henley, #17 Brooks Koepka, #18 Billy Horschel and #22 Hudson Swafford.

The field includes 4 players in the top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list. those players are #8 Rickie Fowler, #17 Russell Henley,  #18 Billy Horschel and #19 Brooks Koepka.

The field includes seven past champions: David Berger (2016), Fabian Gomez (2015), Ben Crane (2014), Harris English (2013), Brian Gay (2009), Bob Estes (2001) 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.

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 Dean & DeLuca BMW PGA Byron Nelson The Players Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Volvo China Open Valero Texas Shenzhen International RBC Heritage Masters Shell Houston
Francesco Molinari
(248 pts)
DNP DNP 2
(150)
DNP T6
(60)
T24
(17.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T22
(9.33)
T33
(11.33)
DNP
Kevin Tway
(188.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T18
(32)
DNP T20
(30)
DNP T5
(46.67)
3
(60)
DNP T3
(30)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Kyle Stanley
(160.67 pts)
T6
(60)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP T29
(14)
DNP DNP DNP T59
(0)
DNP T8
(16.67)
Brooks Koepka
(160 pts)
T31
(19)
DNP DNP T50
(1)
T16
(34)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP
Danny Lee
(155.33 pts)
T49
(1)
6
(60)
DNP T5
(70)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T39
(3.67)
DNP T20
(10)
Ian Poulter
(151.67 pts)
DNP DNP T40
(15)
T35
(15)
T2
(100)
DNP T32
(12)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T11
(13)
DNP DNP
Rickie Fowler
(149.33 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP T60
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
T3
(30)
Steve Stricker
(120.67 pts)
T40
(10)
T7
(55)
DNP DNP T41
(9)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP
Adam Scott
(115 pts)
T31
(19)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(60)
T36
(9.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T9
(30)
CUT
(-3.33)
Billy Horschel
(114.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T34
(16)
DNP Win
(132)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T55
(0)
Sung Kang
(109.67 pts)
75
(0)
T57
(0)
DNP T20
(30)
T30
(20)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T6
(20)
DNP T11
(13)
DNP 2
(33.33)
Phil Mickelson
(98 pts)
T22
(28)
T29
(21)
DNP DNP T41
(9)
T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T22
(18.67)
T55
(0)
Ryan Palmer
(96 pts)
DNP T70
(0)
DNP T27
(23)
CUT
(-10)
DNP 4
(53.33)
DNP T6
(20)
DNP T11
(13)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Kevin Chappell
(91 pts)
T52
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T35
(15)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP Win
(44)
DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
T44
(2)
Scott Brown
(89.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T12
(38)
DNP T35
(15)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T71
(0)
Smylie Kaufman
(84 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T35
(15)
T12
(38)
T5
(46.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T37
(4.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Peter Uihlein
(82.33 pts)
T25
(25)
DNP T30
(30)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T31
(12.67)
DNP T33
(5.67)
DNP DNP T23
(9)
Russell Henley
(76.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T35
(15)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T26
(8)
T11
(26)
Win
(44)
Ricky Barnes
(75.33 pts)
T22
(28)
T18
(32)
DNP T59
(0)
T65
(0)
T63
(0)
T22
(18.67)
DNP T67
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T71
(0)
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
(74 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(80)
T24
(17.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Stewart Cink
(73.33 pts)
T25
(25)
T10
(40)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T22
(9.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T23
(9)
Jamie Lovemark
(68.67 pts)
T10
(40)
DNP DNP T18
(32)
T75
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T40
(3.33)
DNP DNP DNP T71
(0)
Grayson Murray
(64 pts)
T35
(15)
DNP DNP T27
(23)
T79
(0)
T63
(0)
T11
(26)
DNP DNP DNP T59
(0)
DNP T55
(0)
William McGirt
(63.33 pts)
T67
(0)
T61
(0)
DNP DNP T22
(28)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T3
(30)
T22
(18.67)
DNP
Kelly Kraft
(62 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T18
(32)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP 3
(60)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Memorial Dean & DeLuca BMW PGA Byron Nelson The Players Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Volvo China Open Valero Texas Shenzhen International RBC Heritage Masters Shell Houston
Steven Bowditch
(-53.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Matt Every
(-51.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP WD
(-1.67)
DNP T65
(0)
Hunter Mahan
(-40 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T52
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Roberto Castro
(-40 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T56
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Bryson DeChambeau
(-38 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T44
(2)
Fabian Gomez
(-38 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
75
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T44
(2)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Jim Furyk
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Rory Sabbatini
(-33.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP WD
(-3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Trey Mullinax
(-30 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T70
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Carl Pettersson
(-28.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T16
(11.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
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 Erin Hills 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.

Last year William McGirt used this to his benefit by winning the Memorial and getting into the top-60.  He didn’t have to qualify.  This year two players moved up the rankings, but fell short of getting into the top-60.  First there was Anirban Lahiri, he was runner-up at the Memorial and moved from 90th to 64th, but he wasn’t planning on qualifying and since he wasn’t in the St. Jude won’t get a chance for the U.S. Open.  James Hahn finished T-6th and moved from 73 to 64, but the same for him he isn’t playing in Memphis and won’t have a chance at Erin Hills.  One last player with a good chance was Tony Finau, before Memorial he was 66th but fell back to 69th.  Since he isn’t playing in Memphis the won’t get a chance to play Erin Hills.  The only person, other than a big win at Memphis or Lyoness Open in Austria with a chance to gain a top-60 place is Chris Wood.  He was 68th going into the Nordea Masters and by finishing T-2nd moved up to 60th.  He is playing in Austria and if he makes the cut will probably hold on to the 60th place and get the last minute spot at Erin Hills.

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 they gave out 4 spots in Japan two weeks ago and 15 spots in England last week. Of the 12 sites that had Open qualifying on Monday, about 53 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 19 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 the Olympics being played there last year.  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.  Of the best stories from U.S. Open qualifying it’s probably Steve Stricker getting a spot.  He is from Wisconsin and asked the USGA for a special spot and they said no.  So he went off and was the medalist in the Memphis qualifying and will get to play in his 20th U.S. Open.

Will Phil get to play?

On Saturday Phil Mickelson dropped a bit of a bombshell by saying that since his oldest daughter is graduating on Thursday in San Diego, there was no way for him to be in two places and will attend the graduation.  Now he isn’t officially withdrawn and won’t until a day or two before the first round.  He is hoping that his daughters school could move the ceremony to 6pm, which if he played early in the morning could hope on a play and attend the ceremony and fly back for Fridays round.  If the school doesn’t move the time he will wait and see if some storm could possibly delay the first round, something that almost happened last year.  So the odds on Phil playing aren’t good unless the school first changes the time and then the USGA gives him a early time on Thursday.  So it’s wait and see time.

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.
  • 7,244 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.
  • Last year TPC Southwind played to an average of 70.93 and ranked 10th hardest.  In 2015 TPC Southwind played to the same 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 4.096 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 133rd toughest hole on the PGA Tour playing to a 4.179 average.  The 18th played the fourth hardest hole at Southwind as it played to a 4.201 average, the 115th toughest hole on the PGA Tour in 2016.

Let’s take a look at key stats that are important for those playing at TPC Southwind:

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 2017.
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 Erin Hills, that is the TPC Southwind, which has always been one of the toughest courses on the PGA Tour. Just in the last seven 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. Last year the course played to the same 70.93 average and ranked 10th. So why is that happening? The course is very tight with very difficult bermuda rough. So getting it in the fairway is key and the course has always been demanding in greens hit. As an example TPC Southwind ranked the 7th hardest course on the PGA Tour to hit fairways. In the last five years the highest it’s ever been was 11th in 2014 and it’s been in the top-ten three of the last five years. The same with greens hit, last year 57.34% of the greens were hit as it ranked the 6th hardest on tour. Over the course of the last six years it’s never been higher than 9th. So you can see why more and more players should be playing in this event as a warm-up, but the sad fact is that the good players don’t show up. Example of this, only two top-15 player, Rickie Fowler and Adam Scott are in the field this year. Even worst only 12 of the top-50 are in Memphis. This has been the norm for this event, since 2000 only ten years have seen more than one, top-15 players. In between 2007 and 2010 they got good fields to this event, in 2007 & ’10 six top-15 players were in the field. But including this year the pickings have been slim, only one top-15 player attended the 2015 & ’16 FedEx St. Jude Classic. On the other end of the spectrum, doing well in Memphis hasn’t help the following week in the Open. Last year Daniel Berger won but finished T-37th at Oakmont. In 2015 Fabian Gomez won, in 2014 Ben Crane won and in 2013 Harris English won in Memphis but all three didn’t even make it into the field for the U.S. Open. So maybe playing in Memphis isn’t the way to get ready for the U.S. Open, but the fact is TPC Southwind is very demanding, tough course.

In looking at our four categories, our first for TPC Southwind are strokes gained tee-to green. last year the course ranked T-10th while winner Daniel Berger was 1st. In 2015 the course was 6th while 2015 champion Fabian Gomez ranked 1st. Next important is one putt percentage, TPC Southwind ranked 47th last year and 46th in 2015, meaning that players had a lot of one putts. Berger ranked T-52nd while 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 21st last year and in 2015 while Berger was T-24th and Gomez was 8th. Last is birdie average last year it ranked 14th and in 2015 was 11th which means it was hard to make birdies as in the field the average was thy 3.16 last year and 3.15 in 2015. For Berger he averaged 5.00 and was T-1st while Gamez he averaged 5.00 and was T-2nd in 2015.

*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

The 128 of the 156 players from this year’s field with stats from 2017:

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

Here is the link to all the stats for the other 118 players in this year’s FedEx St. Jude Field.

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 nine 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 7th 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 6th hardest greens to hit on tour, while in 2015 it was the 7th hardest, 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 2016 Daniel Berger hit 54 of 72 greens at St. Jude, ranked T-1st, for the year he ranked 46th.
  • 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 1999 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 13 winners have been in the top-ten in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green, with six of them leading that stat including last year’s winner Daniel Berger so look for players that rank high in this stat.
  • Another trend is the non-marquee name winning.  Now Daniel Berger was not a non-marquee winner last year but in the last decade at Memphis, the list of non-marquee winners includes Fabian Gomez, 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, five champions lead the greens hit category and 14 of the 19 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 five champions (Dicky Pride in 1994, Notah Begay III in 2000, Dustin Johnson in 2012, Harris English in 2013 and Daniel Berger in 2016) 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 Daniel Berger was 23 years, 2 months and 5 days old making him the tied for the youngest winner in Memphis.  Bob Lunn in 1968 was also 23 years, 2 months and 5 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 havoc for the last couple of tournaments, last week Memorial just finished as rains caused two delays on Sunday.  But things are looking up, this week the weather will be close to perfect each day, temperatures in the mid 80s, no rain and very little wind.  Memphis is always questionable with hot, muggy days that sometimes have rough thunderstorms in the afternoon but that’s not going to happen this week.

 

 

 

 

Who to watch for at the FedEx St. Jude Classic

Best Bets:

Rickie Fowler

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T13

Almost won last week at the Memorial, played well the only time he played at TPC Southwind (T-13th, 2014) and has all the key stats.

Phil Mickelson

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T2 T3 T11 T2 T59

Great record at TPC Southwind, of course by winning this event will become the main storyline if he skips out of playing in the U.S. Open.

Brooks Koepka

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T2 T3 T19

Another with a great record at TPC Southwind, he has the stats and playing well enough to have a high finish.

Best of the rest:

Adam Scott

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
7

Has not had a great year but it hasn’t been terrible, he could pounce at any time, could be this week.

Francesco Molinari

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T34

Time to take this guy seriously, he is a very good player that is on a roll plus he has the stats to do well at TPC Southwind.

Russell Henley

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T7 CUT T27

Showed a liking to TPC Southwind with a T-7th last year, he could be a contender.

Daniel Berger

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
Win

Showed last year that the course was good for him, he again can do it again and win.

Ian Poulter

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T6 T51 CUT

This is the perfect event for him to pounce and win. His game has been good and he is ready, last time he played at Southwind did finish T-6th (in 2014).

Solid contenders

Kevin Tway

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT

Has all of the key stats to do well this week, was playing good till missing the cut at Memorial last week I can see him restarting his good play this week.

Ryan Palmer

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T68 T22 T32 4 T3 CUT CUT CUT T10

Has been knocking on the door of victory this year, has done well on this course so you never know.

Graeme McDowell

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT CUT T24 CUT T7

Has had a very consistent year, did finish T-7th at Southwind in 2009 plus has all the stats to do well.

Camilo Villegas

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T58 T18 T11 T10 CUT T3 T8 T29 T18 T46 T16

Always finds a way to play well when you least expect it, this could be the case this week for Camilo.

Kyle Stanley

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT T62 CUT T49

His game has come around and he has all of the stats including being 5th in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green.

Long shots that could come through:

Steve Stricker

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T2 T28 T44

His game is hot right now and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a good finish from him.

Jamie Lovemark

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT CUT CUT

His game seems to be heating up right now, has the stats the only problem is that he is three for three in missing cuts at Southwind.

J.T. Poston

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
First time playing in this event

Has had a very consistent year, playing event for first time with a game that should do well at TPC Southwind.

Comments

  1. Brian L says:

    Hey Sal, can you fix your link above for the “Here is the link to all the stats for the other 118 players in this year’s FedEx St. Jude Field.?”

  2. Working now, sorry

  3. Brian L says:

    No problem, thank you!

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