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BlogWGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational Preview and Picks

WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational

July 30th – August 2nd, 2020

TPC Southwind

Memphis, TN

Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,277

Purse: $10.5 million

with $1,787,560 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Brooks Koepka

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field of 72 players includes 56 of the top 100 players and 44 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings.  The only top-50 players not in the field are #9 Adam Scott, #15 Tiger Woods, #17 Justin Rose, #33 Francesco Molinari, #36 Lee Westwood, and #50 Shugo Imahira.

Last year 46 of the top-50 were in the field

The field includes 22 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2020, those not in the field are #10 Lanto Griffin, #14 Sebastian Munoz, and #20 Adam Long.

The field includes just 7 past champions: Brooks Koepka (2019), Justin Thomas (2018), Hideki Matsuyama (2017), Dustin Johnson (2016), Shane Lowry (2015), Rory McIlroy (2014) and Keegan Bradley(2012).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the WGC-FedEx St. Jude field is our performance chart listed by the average finish.  Since the course has switched to a new course last year, TPC Southwind which held a PGA Tour tournament on, we also offer a performance chart for TPC Southwind which will be more helpful than the Firestone results.  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 WGC-FedEx St. Jude field in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude field.

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 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational

Player 3M Open Memorial Tournament Workday Charity Open Rocket Mortgage Classic Travelers Championship RBC Heritage Charles Schwab Challenge
Bryson DeChambeau
(181.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP Win
(88)
T6
(40)
T8
(33.33)
T3
(30)
Justin Thomas
(172 pts)
DNP T18
(32)
2
(100)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T8
(33.33)
T10
(13.33)
Jon Rahm
(171.67 pts)
DNP Win
(132)
T27
(23)
DNP T37
(8.67)
T33
(11.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Viktor Hovland
(171.67 pts)
DNP T48
(2)
3
(90)
T12
(25.33)
T11
(26)
T21
(19.33)
T23
(9)
Collin Morikawa
(160.67 pts)
DNP T48
(2)
Win
(132)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T64
(0)
2
(33.33)
Michael Thompson
(158 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T64
(0)
T46
(2.67)
T8
(33.33)
DNP
Tony Finau
(153.67 pts)
T3
(90)
8
(50)
DNP T53
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
T33
(11.33)
T23
(9)
Matthew Fitzpatrick
(136.33 pts)
DNP 3
(90)
T27
(23)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T14
(24)
T32
(6)
Xander Schauffele
(123 pts)
DNP T13
(37)
T14
(36)
DNP T20
(20)
T64
(0)
T3
(30)
Jason Day
(121 pts)
DNP T4
(80)
T7
(55)
CUT
(-6.67)
T46
(2.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Mackenzie Hughes
(118.67 pts)
DNP T6
(60)
T48
(2)
DNP T3
(60)
T70
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
Tyrrell Hatton
(113.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP
Ryan Palmer
(113.33 pts)
DNP 2
(100)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T8
(33.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Kevin Streelman
(111.67 pts)
DNP T54
(0)
T7
(55)
DNP 2
(66.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Matthew Wolff
(109.33 pts)
T12
(38)
T22
(28)
CUT
(-10)
2
(66.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
54
(0)
Webb Simpson
(108 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP Win
(88)
CUT
(-3.33)
Matt Wallace
(106.33 pts)
DNP T4
(80)
T39
(11)
T12
(25.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
T64
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
Gary Woodland
(106.33 pts)
DNP T22
(28)
T5
(70)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T62
(0)
9
(15)
Abraham Ancer
(104.67 pts)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP DNP T11
(26)
2
(66.67)
T14
(12)
Patrick Cantlay
(99 pts)
DNP T32
(18)
T7
(55)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP DNP
Daniel Berger
(94 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T3
(60)
Win
(44)
Dustin Johnson
(91.67 pts)
WD
(-5)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP Win
(88)
T17
(22)
CUT
(-3.33)
Ian Poulter
(91 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T5
(70)
DNP 64
(0)
T14
(24)
T29
(7)
Kevin Na
(85 pts)
DNP 9
(45)
DNP WD
(-3.33)
5
(46.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Billy Horschel
(82.67 pts)
DNP T13
(37)
T7
(55)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T38
(4)
Adam Hadwin
(76.67 pts)
DNP T54
(0)
T35
(15)
T4
(53.33)
DNP T41
(6)
T43
(2.33)
Patrick Reed
(73.33 pts)
DNP T10
(40)
T39
(11)
CUT
(-6.67)
T24
(17.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
T7
(18.33)
Sergio Garcia
(73.33 pts)
DNP T32
(18)
DNP DNP T32
(12)
T5
(46.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Max Homa
(66 pts)
T3
(90)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T41
(6)
CUT
(-3.33)
Corey Conners
(62 pts)
DNP T22
(28)
T39
(11)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T21
(19.33)
T19
(10.33)
Joaquin Niemann
(61.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T31
(19)
DNP 63
(0)
T5
(46.67)
T32
(6)
Chez Reavie
(60.33 pts)
DNP T22
(28)
T17
(33)
DNP T46
(2.67)
T74
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
Rory McIlroy
(56 pts)
DNP T32
(18)
DNP DNP T11
(26)
T41
(6)
T32
(6)
Danny Willett
(54.67 pts)
DNP T32
(18)
DNP T4
(53.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Brendon Todd
(44 pts)
DNP T22
(28)
DNP T57
(0)
T11
(26)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Kevin Kisner
(43.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP 3
(60)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T29
(7)
Jordan Spieth
(40.33 pts)
DNP T13
(37)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T54
(0)
T68
(0)
T10
(13.33)
Tom Lewis
(40 pts)
T32
(18)
DNP DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Rickie Fowler
(33.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T22
(28)
T12
(25.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
(32.67 pts)
DNP T22
(28)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T28
(14.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Matt Kuchar
(31.67 pts)
DNP T32
(18)
T39
(11)
DNP DNP T41
(6)
CUT
(-3.33)
Tyler Duncan
(30.67 pts)
DNP T68
(0)
DNP T53
(0)
T32
(12)
T28
(14.67)
T38
(4)
Hideki Matsuyama
(30.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T22
(28)
T21
(19.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Erik Van Rooyen
(27.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T22
(28)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T21
(19.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Cameron Champ
(27.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
67
(0)
T12
(25.33)
DNP DNP T14
(12)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational

Player 3M Open Memorial Tournament Workday Charity Open Rocket Mortgage Classic Travelers Championship RBC Heritage Charles Schwab Challenge
Byeong Hun An
(-24 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T46
(2.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T60
(0)
Jazz Janewattananond
(-20 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Victor Perez
(-20 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Brandt Snedeker
(-17.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
T41
(6)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Sung Kang
(-17.33 pts)
DNP 73
(0)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T46
(2.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Cameron Smith
(-16.67 pts)
DNP T68
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Haotong Li
(-10 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tommy Fleetwood
(-10 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Shane Lowry
(-9 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T39
(11)
DNP T60
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
C.T. Pan
(-8.67 pts)
DNP T44
(6)
T48
(2)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T52
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

So a lot of news coming across, first have to say it’s looking very good that we are going to see our first major next week in San Francisco.  I was afraid the PGA Championship would never happen with California being in such bad shape, but many folks reminded me most of the problem is in Southern California.  The San Francisco Bay area was one of the first areas of the country to suit down in early March and practice social distancing guidelines along with wearing masks and that’s why that area has a low outbreak of COVID-19.

I was a bit surprised that the United States government (maybe not the way the White House has run things) lifted their 14-day quarantine ban for players, caddies, and other essential personnel to enter the United States to play on the PGA Tour.  The move was thought to help make it easier for those outside to come over and play, the only problem to return back those players would have to quarantine for 14 days.  Unfortunately right off the bat both Lee Westwood and Eddie Peperell said the won’t play, both saying they didn’t feel safe coming to America.

We also have mentioned that Brooks Koepka is 155th in the FedEx Cup standings and with three events left is in danger of not making the playoffs.  He isn’t the only marquee name in danger.  How about former U.S. Open champion Justin Rose who is currently 127th and has missed his last three cuts.  Then you have Serio Garcia who is 130th, yes he was T-5th at the RBC Heritage but that’s his only top-25 of the year.  Former British Open champion Stewart Cink has made a lot of cuts, but only one top-ten, a T-9th almost ten months ago in the Houston Open as he is 133rd in the standings.  Former Masters champion Danny Willett finished T-4th just a few weeks back at the Rocket Mortgage but the rest of his year has been terrible on the PGA Tour as he stands 136th in the FedExCup race.  Current British Open champion Shane Lowry may still be celebrating that win since the win a year later he has only two top-25 finishes on the PGA Tour and the best is a T-13th at the Zozo Championship nine months ago. He languishes in 149th place.  Then you have former PGA champion Jimmy Walker at 171, former British Open champion Francesco Molinari at 189 and another British Open champion Henrik Stenson at 211 with very little chance of making the playoffs.

A bit disappointed to see the postponement of the Australia Open.  Originally set to be played in November they have moved it back to sometime in January, February or March.  In a way it’s understandable, Australia has been very good in controlling COVID-19 and the heads-up action now will help them.  It also could be good and possibly tie them up with the European Tour, which would help what was once a great championship and is now on deaths doorstep.

Tournament information:

The WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational is the third and last of the World Golf Championships for 2020.  The first couple of years of this event it was a limited field affair open to members of previous Ryder Cup and President’s Cup team members, but it changed to reflect the way the WGC-Mexico Championship picks its players.

The qualification has changed over the years. For a player to qualify, he must meet at least one of the required stipulations: Have been a playing member in the 2019 Presidents Cup teams or be ranked in the Top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings one or two weeks prior to the event.  To fill out the field to 78, they would take players higher than the top-50;

or win a worldwide event with an Official World Golf Ranking field strength of 115 points or more in the last calendar year.

Course information:
  • TPC Southwind
  • Germantown, Tenn.
  • 7,277 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 bentgrass 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 75.9 with a slope rating of 138.
  • Last year TPC Southwind played to an average of 69.50 and ranked 25th hardest on the PGA Tour.  It was the first time since they kept course stats that TPC Southwind played under par.  The reason, in past the fields were 156 but when it moved to become a World Golf Championship event, the fields reduce, in 2019 only 63 played.  With the reduced field the reason for the lower scores.  Still, the holes are tough as last year nine of the nine holes played over par. Four of the holes were in the toughest 150 holes on the PGA Tour in 2019.
  • The big change to the course for 2020 saw all of the bunkers completely overhauled with several eliminated while a couple added. But overall the course will be about the same as last year with the exception of the 3rd hole which was slightly altered.  The fairways are zoysia which for the pros is a treat to hit off of because they can get more spin-off their irons.  For most of the field, the course is delightful to play.

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 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2020.
So last year change came as the WGC-Bridgestone, which had been played since it’s inception in 1999 at Firestone South, was forced to move. With the advent of Bridgestone not wanting to be a part of golf, that meant the PGA Tour had to look elsewhere. And the PGA Tour found a reliable friend in FedEx to take it over. The only problem, FedEx would only take over the sponsorship if it meant that their tour stop in Memphis would take over the WGC event. For years the TPC Southwind was the home of the FedEx St. Jude Classic, which was a successful event the week before the U.S. Open. The only problem, the tournament didn’t attract a lot of marquee names. So when Bridgestone didn’t want to sponsor their WGC event, FedEx was willing to step up and take over the sponsorship if it would move to Memphis. So they had a deal with the tour who killed the St. Jude Classic and replaced it with the old WGC-Bridgestone. The only sad thing was the Akron area lost the PGA Tour after hosting a PGA Tour event just about every year (except 2002) since the 50s.
Firestone South was a special course that even held the 1960 and 1975 PGA Championship on. It was considered very tough in its day and had some brutal par 4s.
Over the years, Firestone got more manageable and when the move was made, many thought that TPC Southwind would be a tougher layout. In the last year, it held the FedEx St. Jude Classic in 2018 TPC Southwind played to a 70.52 average, the 11th toughest course on the PGA Tour in 2018. In the history of TPC Southwind, the course never played below its par until last year when the scoring average was 69.50, and it was the 25th hardest course on tour. Many wondered why the change and it was easy. Last year as a WGC event, the field was only 78 players, while as a regular tour event, the field was 156 players, the added players added to the scoring average. Still, if you look, the winning score is about the same, so it’s no big deal.
Memphis has been pretty dry of late, only getting less than an inch of rain for the last month when it usually gets three and a half inches. So the rough hasn’t been able to grown has thick as in past years. Still, it’s supposed to rain during tournament week so that it will soften up things.
Over the last ten years, while the FedEx St. Jude Classic was played on it, the fairways and greens were always hard to hit. But that changed last year, again probably because only half the players are now in the field. Still, it’s tough enough to make TPC Southwind a very challenging course.

In looking at our four categories, our first for TPC Southwind are strokes gained tee-to-green. Last year the course ranked 19th in driving accuracy and 12th in greens in regulation while winner Brooks Koepka was 6th. Over the years, this has been an essential stat for the champions. In 2018 Dustin Johnson won and was 1st in this stat. The same with the winner Daniel Berger in 2017 and 2016, he was first in both years. In 2015, champion Fabian Gomez ranked 1st, so that is pretty consistent, and the reason that strokes gained tee-to-green is essential. Next significant is one-putt percentage, TPC Southwind ranked 47th last year and 45 in 2018 and 47 in 2017 while it was 47th in 2016, meaning that players had many one-putts. Koepka was T-1st in the previous year as he had 42 one-putts. In 2018 Johnson ranked T-30th 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 37th last year and 31st in 2018. Koepka was 1st in this stat last year while Johnson was 4th in 2018, T-24th in 2016, and Gomez was 8th in 2015. Our final category is birdie average last year it ranked T-24th while in 2018 it ranked 10th, in 2017 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 3.73 last year, 3.27 in 2018, 3.11 in 2017, 3.16 in 2016 and 3.15 in 2015. For Koepka, he averaged 5.25 birdies per round last year and was 3rd, Johnson also averaged 5.25 in 2018 and ranked 1st, 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 25th hardest course on tour, but you need to hit it long and straight along with hitting lots of greens as it ranked 12th in this category last year. So this is important to find a player that will do this

*One-Putt Percentage: The figure 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 69 of the 78 players from this year’s FedEx St. Jude field with stats from 2020:

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

For the stats of the other 59 players of the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational

DraftKings tips

Of the 78 in the field, 62 have played at least once at TPC Southwind in both the WGC-FedEx St.Jude Invitational (2019) and the St. Jude Classic (2015-2018):

  • Brooks Koepka is 38 under, in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Dustin Johnson is 33 under, in 12 rounds playing 4 years
  • Chez Reavie is 24 under, in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Phil Mickelson is 23 under, in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Daniel Berger is 22 under, in 10 rounds playing 3 years
  • Billy Horschel is 22 under, in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Rafael Cabrera-Bello is 14 under, in 8 rounds playing 2 years
  • Matt Jones is 14 under, in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Marc Leishman is 12 under, in 4 rounds playing 1 year
  • Matthew Fitzpatrick is 11 under, in 4 rounds playing 1 year
  • Rory McIlroy is 11 under, in 4 rounds playing 1 year
  • Tommy Fleetwood is 11 under, in 4 rounds playing 1 year
  • Ian Poulter is 11 under, in 8 rounds playing 2 years
  • Jon Rahm is 10 under, in 4 rounds playing 1 year
  • Brandt Snedeker is 10 under, in 8 rounds playing 2 years
  • Webb Simpson is 9 under, in 6 rounds playing 2 years
  • Bubba Watson is 8 under, in 4 rounds playing 1 year
  • Henrik Stenson is 7 under, in 8 rounds playing 2 years
  • Jordan Spieth is 6 under, in 4 rounds playing 1 year
  • Justin Thomas is 6 under, in 4 rounds playing 1 year
  • Patrick Cantlay is 6 under, in 4 rounds playing 1 year
  • Patrick Reed is 6 under, in 4 rounds playing 1 year

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

  • Dustin Johnson is 33 under playing 4 years (-8.3)
  • Brooks Koepka is 38 under playing 5 years (-7.6)
  • Daniel Berger is 22 under playing 3 years (-7.3)
  • Rafael Cabrera-Bello is 14 under playing 2 years (-7.0)
  • Chez Reavie is 24 under playing 4 years (-6.0)
  • Billy Horschel is 22 under playing 4 years (-5.5)
  • Ian Poulter is 11 under playing 2 years (-5.5)
  • Brandt Snedeker is 10 under playing 2 years (-5.0)
  • Phil Mickelson is 23 under playing 5 years (-4.6)
  • Webb Simpson is 9 under playing 2 years (-4.5)
  • Matt Jones is 14 under playing 4 years (-3.5)
  • Henrik Stenson is 7 under playing 2 years (-3.5)
  • C.T. Pan is 4 under playing 2 years (-2.0)
  • Abraham Ancer is 2 under playing 2 years (-1.0)
  • Joel Dahmen is 2 under playing 2 years (-1.0)
  • Tony Finau is 2 under playing 2 years (-1.0)
  • Xander Schauffele is 2 under playing 2 years (-1.0)
  • J.T. Poston is 0 under playing 2 years (0.0)
  • Michael Thompson is 1 under playing 3 years (0.3)
  • Bryson DeChambeau is 3 under playing 3 years (1.0)
  • Ryan Palmer is 9 under playing 4 years (2.3)
  • Cameron Smith is 7 under playing 2 years (3.5)
  • Corey Conners is 11 under playing 3 years (3.7)
  • Graeme McDowell is 12 under playing 3 years (4.0)
  • Gary Woodland is 9 under playing 2 years (4.5)
  • Sung Kang is 27 under playing 4 years (6.8)
  • Max Homa is 24 under playing 3 years (8.0)

 

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 make lot’s of points this week

 

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:
  • Jon Rahm – $11,400
  • Rory McIlroy – $11,200
  • Bryce DeChambeau – $10,000
  • Justin Thomas – $10,700
  • Patrick Cantlay – $10,100
  • Webb Simpson – $9,900
  • Xander Schauffele – $9,800
  • Tyrrell Hatton – $9,700
  • Daniel Berger – $9,600
  • Collin Morikawa – $9,500
  • Viktor Hovland – $9,400
  • Dustin Johnson – $9,300
  • Brooks Koepka – $9,200
  • Tony Finau – $9,100
  • Matthew Fitzpatrick – $9,000

Time to have another little talk about what games to play in DraftKings.  First of all very disappointed that DraftKings not only eliminated the million-dollar game but raised the price from $20 to $25 for this game.  Major warning, this game is very hard to win anything in it, it’s more like a lottery than a game of skill.  Another thing, as we talk about the hardest thing in playing Draftkings is all six of your picks have to make the cut.  This is a tall order to do.  This week there is no cut so what Draftkings does to make it even harder, more of the players are priced at $9,000 and over.  Last week in the 3M game they had ten players, this week there are 15 players so it makes it even harder for you to pick two favorites.

Another thing that DraftKings doesn’t have this week its tier games, now that help ease the tension of budgeting players because they give you a choice of players for each of the six tiers and you don’t have to worry about a salary cap.  I loved those games because it was like a competition in which for the higher tier players you had three choices and for the sixth tier players you had a choice of eight different players.  Still, the key was to be sure to make the cut.

One last thing about picking games, it’s always best to look for lower payouts that have better odds.  I like the ten-dollar games that have five players and pay off the winner $30 and the runner-up $15.  Feel that in a field of five, I can beat three out of the five players.  So good picking this week and hopefully the tier games will be back next week.

Have to say there is a good reason that Jon Rahm is at $11,400.  #1 player in the world, won his last start, was 7th at TPC Southwind last year after opening up with a 62.  Have to say myself he is a very good pick, lot’s of money but you know he will be around on Sunday.  Rory McIlroy at $11,200 is a bit of a gamble, has not played well since the break.  But not that golf is back to normal again other than no fans, I can see some good play coming out out Rory and he comes to a course that he was T-6th on last year and T-7th on in 2012.  The big question if you have to pick between Rory and Jon, I would pick Rory.  Next is Bryce DeChambeau at $10,000 and I would say for the hottest player in the game say no.  His game seems to come off the rails at the Memorial and hasn’t played well at TPC Southwind, was T-48th last year, missed the cut in 2017, and T-45th in 2015.  So pass on him.  Justin Thomas at $10,700 is a good buy, has played solidly, and was T-12th in his only TPC Southwind start last year.  Patrick Cantlay at $10,100 is a good choice, he was T-12th in his only TPC Southwind start and his season has been ok. Webb Simpson, I like a lot at $9,900, he was 2nd last year and T-3rd in 2014.  He has his game in shape, yes he missed the cut at the Memorial but Simpson plays is best in the South and this is South. Xander Schauffele at $9,800 is always a tough choice.  His record at TPC Southwind is borderline, T-27th last year, T-52nd in 2017.  But his record since the break has been good, was T-3rd at Colonial and T-14th at Workday and T-13th at Memorial.  The problem with Schauffele, he is priced in the range of guys that have produced wins and Schauffele hasn’t won in a bit so that’s why he can’t be recommended at his price.  On the other hand, Tyrell Hatton at $9,700 can be recommended, since the break he was T-3rd at Heritage and T-4th at Rocket Mortgage.  His record at TPC Southwind is spotty, was T-43rd last year still like what he can do.  Daniel Berger is a big yes at $9,600.  He has won twice at TPC Southwind in 2017 & ’16 and won at Colonial.  Like Simpson, Berger missed the cut at Memorial but Daniel does his best work down south.  Collin Morikawa at $9,500 will take some soul searching.  Has never played at TPC Southwind and after his win at Workday fell back into a T-48th.  Think there is too many other better people price around him to choose from.  One of them is Viktor Hovland at $9,400 he has not played at TPC Southwind but has been rock solid since the break making six straight cuts before taking last week off.  Dustin Johnson at $9,300 is another to think hard on.  Yes has a great record at TPC Southwind including two victories but he has been awful his last two starts in the last two weeks and we just don’t know about his back.  At the same time, he could easily bounce back and make us all look like fools, it’s a hard choice.  If that is a hard choice another hard one is the defending champion Brooks Koepka at $9,100.  His game has been terrible and there is talk that his left knee could be a problem.  Lot’s of mystery with him and I don’t see how he puts it together this week, even on a course he likes.  Tony Finau at $9,100 is probably too rich for my blood.  Yes, he was T-3rd last week and 8th at Memorial and yes he has a 69.07 first-round scoring average and yes he has a 69.00 2nd round scoring average and yes he has a 68.42 3rd round scoring average but he still has a 71.33 final round scoring average one of the worst on tour.  So best to take a pass on him.  Matthew Fitzpatrick at $9,000 is also another of those players worthy but lost in the shuffle.  He was T-4th last year at TPC Southwind and was 3rd in his last start at Memorial so we can go in either direction on him

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,900 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

Have to say this, with a field of 78 you have taken the cream of the crop with the top-15.  It’s hard to find some players in this price range and you have to look very carefully.  Patrick Reed at $8,800 he was T-12th last year at TPC Southwind and also 5th in 2013 so he can play the course.  In his last start at Memorial was T-10th so yes Reed is one to watch.  Tommy Fleetwood at $8,700 is also good on paper, he was T-4th last year at TPC Southwind.  But in his only start since the break missed the cut at 3M and you may want to take a pass on him.  Now a big pick is Billy Horschel at $8,500, he T-13th at Memorial and T-7th at Workday.  But the good news, at WGC-FedEx last year he was T-9th and at TPC Southwind was T-51st in 2018, T-4th in 2017, T-8th in 2015, T-6th in 2014 and T-10th in 2013.  Very good numbers that make him my tough choice.  Then I like Matthew Wolff at $7,900 because of the way he has played of late.  Was T-12th at 3M and 2nd at Rocket Mortgage, he has the game to bust it loose at TPC Southwind, he was T-24th there last year.  Now Marc Leishman at $7,700 is worth the gamble.  He isn’t playing great of late but was 3rd last year so maybe he can remember how he played.

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

Now the pickings in the below $7,500 pile are terrible.  You not going to find any winners here, and the odds of finding any top-ten are slim.  But let’s face it, we have to find two from these players that will come as close to a top-ten as possible and give us maximum points.  So here goes.first up Ian Poulter at $7,400.  He was 8th last year at TPC Southwind and T-6th in 2014.  He did miss the cut at Memorial but was T-5th the week before at Workday, so like his chances.  Scottie Scheffler at $7,300 has never played at TPC Southwind but like that he was T-22nd at Memorial.  Then the big surprise will come from Chez Reavie at $6,700.  Since the break, he has played four events making four cuts.  He was T-17th at Workday and T-22nd at Memorial shooting 79 in the final round.  What I like the most is Reavie’s record at TPC Southwind.  Last year he was T-27th, in 2018 he was T-6th, in 2017 was T-4th and in 2015 he was T-12th, and in all 12 rounds, he is 24 under par.  And if that wasn’t a big enough surprise how about dusty off one Phil Mickelson who you can get at just $6,600.  I know that 2020 hasn’t been the greatest but he has made his last three cuts and was T-54th at Memorial.  We all know that Phil does make a lot of birdies so he will get you points but the best part of Phil is his record at TPC Southwind.  Last year he was 57th at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude which isn’t great.  But in the old FedEx St. Jude he was T-12th in 2018, 9th in 2017, T-2nd in 2016, T-3rd in 2015, T-11th in 2014, and T-2nd in 2013 so have to say at $6,600 he is the bargain of the month.

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

The key stat for the winner:

Major changes came to TPC Southwind 12 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 19th last year 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, it was 12th, in 2018 it was 5th and in 2018 and 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 2019 Brooks Koepka hit 50 of 72 greens at St. Jude, ranked T-8th, for the year he ranked 11th.
  • In 2018 Dustin Johnson hit 49 of 72 greens at St. Jude, ranked T-10th, for the year he ranked 9th.
  • 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 eleven of the last 16 winners have been in the top-ten in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green, with seven of them leading that stat including 2018 winner Dustin Johnson and 2017 champion Daniel Berger.  Last year’s winner Brooks Koepka was 6th so look for players that rank high in this stat.
  • 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 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 22 years, six champions led the greens hit category, and 17 of the 22 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.  Last year Brooks Koepka won with a 264 total.
  • Since 1989, only seven champions (Dicky Pride in 1994, Notah Begay III in 2000, Dustin Johnson in 2012, Harris English in 2013, Daniel Berger in 2016 & ’17 and Brooks Koepka in 2019) 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 Brooks Koepka was 29 years, 2 months, 25 days while in 2016 (also won in 2017) 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.
Last but not least the weather.  

Who to watch for at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational (2019 TPC Southwind, 2008-18 Firestone)

Best Bets:

Rory McIlroy

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T4 T6 T5 Win T27 T5 T6 T9 T68

You can’t hold a good man back, think that the tour is now back into its proper groove and Rory will be back and ready to go. The course is perfect for his driving game and he does hit a lot of greens, was T-4th last year at TPC Southwind.

Jon Rahm

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
7 T17 T28

One thing we know about Jon, when he gets rolling he goes for a bit. Look for him to continue to play well as he is a very streaky player, won at Memorial and was T-7th last year at WGC-FedEx St. Jude.

Webb Simpson

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
2 T24 25 T31 T14

Another player on a role, he is best when playing in the south, last year was runner-up in this event and was T-3rd at Southwind in 2014.

Best of the rest:

Justin Thomas

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T12 Win T28 T33

He can’t be overlooked, his game has been sharp since the break. Is 1st in Strokes Gained Tee to Green, 3rd in Strokes Gained Approach the Green and 4th in Par Breakers, was T-12th last year at TPC Southwind.

Billy Horschel

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T9 T74 33 T44

Watch out for him, a bit of a dark horse that was T-13th at Memorial and T-7th at Workday. But the secret on him is his play at Southwind, was T-9th last year, in the FedEx St. Jude was T-4th in 2017, T-8th in 2015, T-6th in 2014 and T-10th in 2013 all pretty solid numbers.

Daniel Berger

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T48 T17 WD

He too has been impressive at TPC Southwind, won it in back-to-back years in 2017 & ’16. Won at the Charles Schwab and was T-3rd at the Heritage, he is best in the South.

Patrick Cantlay

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T12 T6

He is the little engine that can and watch him do well on this course. Was T-12th last year, solid yearly stats and was T-11th at the Travelers, T-7th at Workday, and T-32nd at Memorial.

Viktor Hovland

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
First time playing in this event

Has never played at TPC Southwind but the course sets up for his game. Has played six times since the break and made the cut all six times including a 3rd at Workday.

Players to watch, they have potential but anything is possible:

Dustin Johnson

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T20 T3 T17 Win 53 T33 T19 T48 15 T22

Great record at TPC Southwind, won in 2018 and 2012, was 5th in 2016, T-20th last year. Complicated and messy year, yes he won last month at Travelers but since missed cut at Memorial and withdrew at 3M, he is 23 over in his last three rounds.

Tommy Fleetwood

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T4 T14 T28

Was T-4th last year so he likes the course. Missed the cut in his first event back last week, has not played well since he won the Honda.

Phil Mickelson

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
57 T24 T39 T27 63 T15 T21 T43 T48 T46 T58 T4

At TPC Southwind was 57th last year but was runner-up in 2016 and 2013, T-3rd in 2015 and 9th in 2017, T-12th in 2013 so has a good record. Has made cuts, was T-54th at Memorial, T=58th at Workday and T-24th at Travelers. Just have to remember the old Phil motto “you never know what he will do next.”

Tony Finau

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T27 T10

T-27th at year at Southwind. His game has been hot of late, was 8th at Memorial, T-3rd at 3M Open he has been 50 under since the break.

Long shots that could come through:

Ian Poulter

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
8 T10 17 T52 T19 T29 T68 T65 T15 T16

Was 8th last year at Southwind and T-6th in 2014. Was T-5th at Workday, but missed the cut the next week at Memorial. He has a way of popping up a leaderboard when you least expect to see him.

Scottie Scheffler

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
First time playing in this event

Has never played at TPC Southwind but like that he was T-22nd at Memorial.

Chez Reavie

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T27 T52

Since the break, he has played four events making four cuts. He was T-17th at Workday and T-22nd at Memorial shooting 79 in the final round. What I like the most is Reavie’s record at TPC Southwind. Last year he was T-27th, in 2018 he was T-6th, in 2017 was T-4th and in 2015 he was T-12th, and in all 12 rounds, he is 24 under par.

Don’t like these two at all:

Bryson DeChambeau

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T48 30 T60

Yes, he was the hottest player in golf until he hit it out of bounds twice at the 15th at Muirfield. TPC Southwind just doesn’t seem to suit his game, yes it’s a bombers course but the rough is severe even for short shots in. At Southwind was T-48th last year, missed the cut in 2017, T-45th in 2015.

Brooks Koepka

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
Win 5 T17 WD 6

He won it last year and was T-2nd in 2016, T-3rd in 2015 so the course is perfect for him. Was 7th at Heritage but has struggled since missing the cut at Workday and 3M. Possibility that his leg could be hurting. We just don’t know how he really is physically and it’s probably best to just hold off.

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