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BlogFedEx St. Jude Classic Preview and Picks

FedEx St. Jude Classic

June 7th – 10th, 2018

TPC Southwind

Germantown, TN

Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,244

Purse: $6.6 million

with $1,188,000 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 22 of the top-100 players and 12 of the top-50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with just two players from the top-ten #2 Dustin Johnson and #9 Brooks Koepka. The other top 50 players are #15 Henrik Stenson, #20 Phil Mickelson, #37 Tony Finau, #41 Daniel Berger, #44 Charl Schwartzel and #48 Peter Uihlein.

Last year 12 of the top-50 were in the field

The field includes 6 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2018.  Those players are #5 Phil Mickelson, #7 Patton Kizzire, #8 Dustin Johnson, #12 Tony Finau, #17 Luke List and #25 Chez Reavie.

The field includes eight past champions: David Berger (2017 & ’16), Fabian Gomez (2015), Ben Crane (2014), Harris English (2013), Dustin Johnson (2012), 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 the 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 Italian Open Fort Worth BMW PGA Byron Nelson The Players Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Valero Texas RBC Heritage Masters Houston Open WGC – Dell Match Play
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
(201 pts)
T13
(37)
DNP DNP T5
(105)
DNP T30
(20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T44
(4)
DNP T5
(35)
Byeong Hun An
(184.17 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP T15
(52.5)
DNP T30
(20)
T63
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP T52
(0)
DNP
Charl Schwartzel
(177 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(100)
T9
(30)
3
(60)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T36
(7)
Henrik Stenson
(151.33 pts)
T13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T23
(27)
DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
T6
(20)
DNP
Billy Horschel
(149.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T21
(29)
T37
(13)
DNP Win
(88)
T11
(13)
T5
(23.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Peter Uihlein
(148.83 pts)
5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP T21
(29)
DNP T5
(46.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T17
(16.5)
Tony Finau
(148.17 pts)
T13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T57
(0)
T21
(19.33)
6
(40)
DNP DNP T10
(26.67)
T24
(8.67)
T17
(16.5)
Brooks Koepka
(137.67 pts)
DNP DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP T11
(39)
T42
(5.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Charles Howell III
(130.5 pts)
T65
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T9
(45)
T17
(33)
T21
(19.33)
DNP DNP T55
(0)
DNP T18
(10.67)
T9
(22.5)
Dustin Johnson
(121 pts)
T8
(50)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(33)
DNP DNP DNP T16
(11.33)
T10
(26.67)
DNP T59
(0)
Kevin Tway
(116.33 pts)
T65
(0)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP T9
(45)
T46
(4)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T36
(4.67)
T67
(0)
DNP T32
(6)
DNP
Keith Mitchell
(112 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T3
(90)
T77
(0)
T34
(10.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T26
(8)
T55
(0)
DNP T6
(20)
DNP
Phil Mickelson
(108.17 pts)
T13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T5
(46.67)
DNP DNP DNP T36
(9.33)
T24
(8.67)
T17
(16.5)
Joaquin Niemann
(106.67 pts)
T6
(60)
DNP T8
(50)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 6
(20)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Joel Dahmen
(103.33 pts)
DNP DNP T20
(30)
DNP T16
(34)
DNP T16
(22.67)
T25
(16.67)
T75
(0)
DNP DNP T76
(0)
DNP
Scott Piercy
(102.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T32
(18)
CUT
(-10)
DNP Win
(88)
CUT
(-3.33)
T16
(11.33)
DNP T24
(8.67)
DNP
Shane Lowry
(93.83 pts)
T52
(0)
DNP DNP T15
(52.5)
DNP T46
(4)
T34
(10.67)
T28
(14.67)
DNP DNP DNP T14
(12)
DNP
Andrew Putnam
(84 pts)
DNP DNP T20
(30)
DNP T42
(8)
DNP T82
(0)
T15
(23.33)
T8
(16.67)
DNP DNP T32
(6)
DNP
Ben Crane
(78 pts)
DNP DNP T8
(50)
DNP T53
(0)
DNP DNP T31
(12.67)
T11
(13)
DNP DNP T43
(2.33)
DNP
Luke List
(68.33 pts)
T37
(13)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T9
(30)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T3
(30)
DNP T24
(8.67)
T59
(0)
Tom Hoge
(68.33 pts)
T13
(37)
DNP T42
(8)
DNP DNP T72
(0)
T76
(0)
T10
(26.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
T55
(0)
DNP T60
(0)
DNP
Danny Lee
(67.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T14
(36)
DNP DNP T7
(55)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T51
(0)
T55
(0)
DNP T64
(0)
DNP
Nicholas Lindheim
(62.67 pts)
DNP DNP T32
(18)
DNP T32
(18)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T25
(16.67)
T36
(4.67)
DNP DNP T14
(12)
DNP
Tyrone Van Aswegen
(58.33 pts)
DNP DNP T14
(36)
DNP CUT
(-10)
66
(0)
T82
(0)
T19
(20.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
T23
(9)
DNP T32
(6)
DNP
Tyler Duncan
(57.33 pts)
DNP DNP T71
(0)
DNP T26
(24)
DNP T84
(0)
T7
(36.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T52
(0)
DNP
Matt Jones
(54.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T13
(37)
DNP DNP T19
(20.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T52
(0)
DNP
Brice Garnett
(51.67 pts)
T62
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T41
(9)
75
(0)
T4
(53.33)
80
(0)
T42
(2.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Corey Conners
(50 pts)
DNP DNP T8
(50)
DNP T53
(0)
DNP T42
(5.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
T26
(8)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Chris Kirk
(49.67 pts)
T52
(0)
DNP T11
(39)
DNP DNP T46
(4)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T8
(16.67)
T55
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
C.T. Pan
(47.67 pts)
DNP DNP T20
(30)
DNP T32
(18)
T46
(4)
T76
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
T23
(9)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
J.T. Poston
(47.33 pts)
DNP DNP T20
(30)
DNP T26
(24)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T30
(6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Johnson Wagner
(46 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T32
(18)
DNP T13
(24.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T20
(10)
DNP DNP T52
(0)
DNP
Nate Lashley
(42 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T32
(18)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T15
(23.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T18
(10.67)
DNP
Troy Merritt
(39 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T53
(0)
DNP T42
(5.33)
T10
(26.67)
T36
(4.67)
DNP DNP T43
(2.33)
DNP
Ethan Tracy
(37 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP 72
(0)
DNP DNP 75
(0)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Memorial Italian Open Fort Worth BMW PGA Byron Nelson The Players Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Valero Texas RBC Heritage Masters Houston Open WGC – Dell Match Play
Smylie Kaufman
(-36.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Blayne Barber
(-33.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
T67
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Zhang Xin-jun
(-33.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T70
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Scott Stallings
(-33.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T55
(0)
DNP T80
(0)
DNP
Kelly Kraft
(-31.67 pts)
T35
(15)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T80
(0)
DNP
Stephan Jaeger
(-30 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
D.A. Points
(-30 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
James Hahn
(-27 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T32
(6)
T36
(7)
Kyle Thompson
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Lanto Griffin
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T58
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP

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.

Going into this week with an outside chance of getting into the top-60 is #63 Kevin Na,  #65 Patton Kizzire, and #66 Ryan Moore.  One person on the bubble was #64 Adam Scott who has played in every major since the 2001 Masters. However, with rounds of 66-72 in the sectional qualifying in Ohio, he secured the last spot.  Then he withdrew so it’s not even a issue.

This brings up 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 of 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 lets in folks based on a qualifying system.  However, 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 3 spots in Japan two weeks ago and 14 spots in England on Monday. Of the 11 sites that had Open qualifying on Monday, about 71 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 again.  So the question is, which is the best way to run a major championship?  Do we allow the best players in the world in, if that’s the case we have that in the Players Championship?  Alternatively, do we allow any golfer that is 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 qualified for players in Europe and Japan and 17 got in off of that.  However, the Royal and Ancient goes a step further and has a qualifying tournament in Australia, Asia, Japan and South Africa also, something that would be nice for the USGA also to offer.  Another group of folks forgotten is those for South America, especially with the Olympics being played there 2 years ago.  The bottom line for all these championships, it’s a hard mix to get it right and also to do what they have traditionally done for all these years.

Lastly, in the 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 particular spot last year, and they didn’t give it to him.  So he went out and qualified.  Guess what, he went out again and qualified again and will get to play in his 21st U.S. Open.

Last time for the FedEx St. Jude Classic, but the PGA Tour will stay in Memphis

This event has been a part of the PGA Tour since 1958.  However, this will be the last FedEx St. Jude Classic, but it doesn’t mean it’s the last time that a professional event will be in Memphis.  That’s because FedEx will take over sponsorship of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational that has been played at Firestone in Ohio.  However, next year The WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational replaces the FedEx St. Jude Classic as the event moves from Ohio to Memphis.  Right now the date hasn’t been announced, but it looks like it will keep it’s spot at the start of August the week before the PGA Championship.  The good news for the Memphis area, they will get an event in which every top player will show up and play.

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.  However, in 2011 FedEx came back into the picture and retook sponsorship of the event.  Now the purse has raised back, and for this year it’s $6.6 million, but the good news is that the future of golf in Memphis 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 70.63 and ranked 15th hardest.  The year before the scoring average was 70.93 and ranked 10th hardest on the PGA TOur.  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 7 of the 9 holes on the back nine, played over par. The tight, difficult front 9 seems like a precursor 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 4.161 average last year. The next hole can be tricky; it’s a 162-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 239-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 81st toughest hole on the PGA Tour playing to a 4.214 average.  The 18th played the sixth hardest hole at Southwind as it played to a 4.137 average, the 205th toughest hole on the PGA Tour in 2017.

Let’s take a look at vital 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 2018.
Last week we told you how Muirfield Village had lost its reputation as the course to get ready for the U.S. Open. With wet conditions, the course was not what the Tour or Memorial officials wanted as the course played to a 71.396 average and was the 21st hardest of 35 courses in 2018. With the advent of wet conditions in Columbus 3 of the last 4 years, we can’t say that Muirfield Village was a good test to get ready for next week’s U.S. Open. However, this week we have a course that is a perfect place to get ready for Shinnecock Hills, that is the TPC Southwind, which has always been one of the toughest courses on the PGA Tour. Just in the last eight years, it’s never been higher than 15th on the list of toughest courses of the year, in 2015 the course played almost a shot harder than it’s par of 70 and it’s 70.93 average ranked it 9th. In 2016 the course played to the same 70.93 average and ranked 10th. Last year it again was over par at a touch over a half a shot a round with a 70.63 average making it the 15th hardest course of the year. So why is that happening? The course is very tight with very difficult Bermuda rough. Also weather, it’s usually been dry which makes the course run more, thus getting players in more trouble with drives rolling into rough and tough greens to hit. This year the weather will continue to be dry as each day will be hot and dry, except for Sunday which could see scattered Thunderstorms
So getting it in the fairway is critical and the course has always been demanding in greens hit. As an example, TPC Southwind ranked the 11th hardest course on the PGA Tour to hit fairways. In the last six years the highest it’s ever been was 11th last year and in 2014, and it’s been in the top-ten three of the last six years. The same with greens hit, last year 55.68% of the greens were hit as it ranked the 6th hardest on tour. Over the course of the last seven 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, last year only two top-15 players, Rickie Fowler and Adam Scott were in the field. This year there are three top-15 players, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Henrik Stenson. Even worst only 8 of the top-50 are in Memphis.
This has been the norm for this event since 2000 only eleven 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. However, including this year the pickings have been slim, only one top-15 player attended the 2015 & ’16 FedEx St. Jude Classic. Here is a fantastic stat, since 2000 only three U.S. Open champions played the week before in Memphis. Last year Brooks Koepka finished T-37th the week before he won at Erin Hills, in 2016 Dustin Johnson finished 5th in Memphis before winning at Oakmont, and in 2011 Rory McIlroy was T-29th the week before he won at Congressional.
On the other end of the spectrum, doing well in Memphis hasn’t helped the following week in the Open. Last year Daniel Berger won but missed the cut at Erin Hills, the year before Berger also 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 a 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 3th while winner Daniel Berger was 1st (He also was 1st in 2016). In 2015 the course was 6th while 2015 champion Fabian Gomez ranked 1st. Next significant is one putt percentage, TPC Southwind ranked 45th last year and 47th in 2016, meaning that players had many one-putts. Berger ranked T-55th last year while in 2016 he was T-52nd while Gomez ranked T-2nd in that stat in 2015.
Our third important stat is scrambling; players will miss greens and have to get it up and down. The course ranked 32nd last year, Berger was 38th last year, T-24th in 2016 and Gomez was 8th in 2015. Our last category is birdie average last year it ranked T-10th, it was 14th in 2016, and 2015 was 11th which means it was hard to make birdies as in the field the average was 3.11 last year, 3.16 in 2016 and 3.15 in 2015. For Berger he averaged 4.75 last year which ranked T-5th, in 2016 was 5.00 and was T-1st while Gamez averaged 5.00 and was T-2nd in 2015.
So yes TPC Southwind can be considered a shotmaker type of course, and we will probably get a shotmaker winner.

*Strokes Gained tee-to-green: Course may have only been the 15th hardest course on tour, but you need to hit it long and straight along with hitting lot’s of greens as it ranked 3rd in this category last year. 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 the 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 123 of the 156 players from this year’s field with stats from 2018:

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

Here is the link to the other 113 players with stats for 2018.

DraftKings tips

Of the 156 in the field, 122 have played at least once at TPC Southwind in The FedEx St. Jude Classic since 2010:

  • Phil Mickelson is 41 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Dustin Johnson is 26 under in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Daniel Berger is 23 under in 8 rounds playing 2 years
  • Brooks Koepka is 23 under in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Ben Crane is 21 under in 27 rounds playing 7 years
  • Harris English is 19 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Fabian Gomez is 16 under in 16 rounds playing 5 years
  • Retief Goosen is 16 under in 22 rounds playing 6 years
  • Billy Horschel is 13 under in 22 rounds playing 6 years
  • Kevin Chappell is 12 under in 8 rounds playing 2 years
  • Chez Reavie is 12 under in 14 rounds playing 4 years
  • Steve Stricker is 10 under in 4 rounds playing 1 years

*Here are the ones with the best under par totals averaging it per years played (2 or more starts)

  • Daniel Berger is 23 under playing 2 years (-2.88)
  • Phil Mickelson is 41 under playing 5 years (-2.05)
  • Dustin Johnson is 26 under playing 4 years (-1.63)
  • Kevin Chappell is 12 under playing 2 years (-1.50)
  • Brooks Koepka is 23 under playing 4 years (-1.44)
  • Austin Cook is 9 under playing 2 years (-1.13)
  • Harris English is 19 under playing 5 years (-1.06)
  • Fabian Gomez is 16 under playing 5 years (-1.00)
  • Chez Reavie is 12 under playing 4 years (-0.86)
  • James Hahn is 5 under playing 2 years (-0.83)
  • Ben Crane is 21 under playing 7 years (-0.78)

Historical ParBreakers

Here is a look at those playing this week and who has made the most eagles and birdies:

So it makes sense that the top players on this list are guys that will deliver lot’s of points this week

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:

  • Dustin Johnson – $11,700
  • Brooks Koepka – $11,100
  • Phil Mickelson – $10,600
  • Henrik Stenson – $10,400
  • Daniel Berger – $10,000
  • Billy Horschel – $9,700
  • Charl Schwartzel – $9,400
  • Tony Finau – $9,300
  • Byeong-Hun An – $9,200
  • Keegan Bradley – $9,000

Since the field is so weak, you will see many players that have ridiculously high prices. We usually don’t bat an eye with the high figures of Dustin Johnson, who this week is $11,700 but come on how can you spend that amount of money on a guy that hasn’t been in contention down the stretch since Pebble Beach.  Last week he was T-8th, but before that was T-17th at the Players and T-16th at the RBC Heritage.  One thing going for Johnson is that he has won this event and in his last start in 2016 was 5th.  Yes the course is right for him, and he does lead our four categories of those in the field,  But the price is way too high.  The same for Brooks Koepka at $11,100.  Phil Mickelson at $10,600 is too high, and we have seen him struggle of late, yes he finished T-13th at the Memorial last week and has been good at Southwind, but did miss the cut at the Players.  Now I can see you taking Henrik Stenson at $10,400 just because he has been ok of late, but his last start was in 2012 when he finished T-13th.  Many will take Daniel Berger at $10,000 just because he won the last two.  Sorry just doesn’t make sense at $10,000 to take Berger.  As for Billy Horschel at $9,700, he hasn’t played that great since his T-5th at the Heritage, but he is a good pick because he does very well at TPC Southwind.   For some reason think that Charl Schwartzel at $9,400 is ok. Also, this is the type, of course, he plays well, he was runner-up last year, so he is not only a good pick but the best of those in this price range.  Tony Finau at $9,300 could also be a pick, not as good as Schwartzel but he has been consistent of late.  As of Byeong-Hun An at $9,200 and Keegan Bradley at $9,000 I don’t like.  Yes An was runner-up at Memorial and along with Bradley consistent for the year, but I hate the high price, you can do better with other cheaper alternatives

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,800 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

This is the range that you’re going to have to pick from, right off the bat there are a lot of good picks.  Can’t go wrong with Joaquin Niemann at $8,900, he just earned a PGA Tour card for the rest of the year, and I think he will do good.  Also, love Steve Stricker at $8,800, he may be 51, but he is playing like a guy in his 30s.  Last time he played at TPC Southwind was runner-up, so pick him.  Russell Know is OK at $8,700, but frankly, there are better so I would pass on him.  Don’t pass on Peter Uihlein at $8,500, he has played well of late and will make you some valuable points.  I also like Kiradech Aphibarnrat at $8,400, he has never played in Memphis, but his game has been on the mark. Another good pick is Luke List at $8,300, he has the game to overpower TPC Southwind, and I think he will do great.  Chris Kirk is also right at $8,000, he does make cuts and finds a way to make many birdies.

Some of the “bargains” this week at the FedEx St. Jude

Past champion Brian Gay is $7,500 and worth the money, has been consistent the last month. Have to like Ben Crane at $7,400 mostly because he plays well at TPC Southwind.

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 ten years ago making it more stringent.  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.  However, the course is hard in hitting greens as last year, and in 2016 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 the chart below shows:

  • In 2017 Daniel Berger hit 49 of 72 greens at St. Jude, ranked T-10th, for the year he ranked T-64th.
  • 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 ten of the last 14 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 or the year before, 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 Maggert 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 20 years, five champions lead the greens hit category and 15 of the 20 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 six champions (Dicky Pride in 1994, Notah Begay III in 2000, Dustin Johnson in 2012, Harris English in 2013 and Daniel Berger in 2016 & ’17) 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 month 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 for 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 thanks to them moving up the tee times on Sunday.  However, things are looking up, this week the weather will be close to perfect each day, temperatures in the high 80s, no rain, and very little wind.  Sunday there is a chance of thunderstorms.  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:

Joaquin Niemann

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

Has never played in this event but think it’s his time to win.

Steve Stricker

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T2 T28

Gosh he still has the game to play on the PGA Tour, so good I think he can win this week.

Daniel Berger

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
Win Win

Guy seems to own this course, is 23 under for 8 rounds, the highest being a 70. Can he pull the hat-trick? Anything is possible in golf.

Best of the rest:

Dustin Johnson

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
5 WD T24 T10 Win

Why do I think he is a volcano ready to explode? The year has been good, but nothing up to his standards but he can change it all this week.

Phil Mickelson

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
9 T2 T3 T11 T2 T59

Another guy that plays well on this course but you just don’t know what his game is like right now.

Brooks Koepka

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T37 T2 T3 T19

Looking to show that his injuries are better and he is ready to contend again.

Henrik Stenson

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T13 CUT

These are the tournaments that he tends to do well in and win.

Byeong Hun An

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

Playing in this event for the first time, think he will like it.

Solid contenders

Charl Schwartzel

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T2 CUT

Played well last year and looking to do better this week.

Luke List

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T18 T50 WD

Has the game to do well, the course should be good for him.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

Has played well of late.

Tony Finau

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

With his long game if he hits it straight he will have a great week.

Long shots that could come through:

Beau Hossler

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

I just wonder how much longer it will be before he wins, this course is a lot like Houston which he did well on.

Chris Kirk

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T72 CUT

Looking to get back into the winner’s circle could be a good place for that.

Ben Crane

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T10 T41 T37 Win T18 T73 T12 T14

This is one of his favorite events, always plays well.

Braden Thornberry

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T4

Looking to improve upon his T-4th from last year.

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