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BlogWGC-FedEx St. Jude Preview and Picks

WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational

August 5th – 8th, 2021

TPC Southwind

Memphis, TN

Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,233

Purse: $10.5 million

with $1,890,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Justin Thomas

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field of 66 players includes 58 of the top 100 players and 48 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings.  The only top-50 players not in the field are #1 Jon Rahm and #44 Christiaan Bezuidenhout.

Last year 44 of the top-50 were in the field

The field includes 24 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2021, those not in the field are #1 Jon Rahm.

The field includes just 8 past champions: Justin Thomas (2020 & ’18), Brooks Koepka (2019), Hideki Matsuyama (2017), Dustin Johnson (2016), Shane Lowry (2015), Rory McIlroy (2014), Adam Scott (2011) and Stewart Cink (2004).

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, 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-Bridgestone field in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the WGC-Bridgestone 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 Olympics 3M Open British Open Barbasol Champ. John Deere Scottish Open Rocket Mortgage Irish Open Travelers Champ. BMW Intern. U.S. Open Palmetto Memorial Tourn.
Collin Morikawa
(430.67 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP Win
(264)
DNP DNP T71
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP 2
(33.33)
Louis Oosthuizen
(362.67 pts)
DNP T2
(100)
T3
(180)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T42
(5.33)
2
(66.67)
DNP T18
(10.67)
Xander Schauffele
(256.33 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP T26
(48)
DNP DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP T11
(13)
Jordan Spieth
(231.33 pts)
DNP DNP 2
(200)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP T18
(10.67)
Brooks Koepka
(216.67 pts)
DNP DNP T6
(120)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T4
(53.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Viktor Hovland
(197.67 pts)
T14
(36)
DNP T12
(76)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
WD
(-3.33)
DNP T47
(1)
Paul Casey
(196 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP T15
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T36
(9.33)
DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP
Scottie Scheffler
(194 pts)
DNP DNP T8
(100)
DNP DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP DNP T47
(2)
DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP 3
(30)
Harris English
(168 pts)
DNP DNP T46
(8)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP 3
(60)
T14
(12)
DNP
Daniel Berger
(147.33 pts)
DNP DNP T8
(100)
DNP T34
(10.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP
Cameron Champ
(143 pts)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP WD
(-1.67)
Lucas Herbert
(142.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP Win
(88)
T19
(20.67)
DNP DNP DNP T18
(10.67)
Shane Lowry
(142 pts)
T22
(28)
DNP T12
(76)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T23
(18)
DNP DNP T65
(0)
DNP T6
(20)
Dustin Johnson
(140.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T8
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T25
(16.67)
DNP T19
(20.67)
T10
(13.33)
DNP
Sergio Garcia
(129.67 pts)
DNP T25
(25)
T19
(62)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(22)
T19
(20.67)
DNP DNP
Rory McIlroy
(128.67 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP T46
(8)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T59
(0)
DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP T18
(10.67)
Ian Poulter
(125.67 pts)
DNP DNP T26
(48)
DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP DNP T36
(9.33)
DNP T40
(6.67)
T25
(8.33)
DNP
Joaquin Niemann
(125.33 pts)
T10
(40)
DNP T59
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP T36
(9.33)
DNP T31
(12.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Matt Fitzpatrick
(124.67 pts)
DNP DNP T26
(48)
DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T55
(0)
T10
(13.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Brian Harman
(122.67 pts)
DNP DNP T19
(62)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP DNP
Robert MacIntyre
(121.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T8
(100)
DNP DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T35
(10)
DNP DNP
Tommy Fleetwood
(111.67 pts)
T16
(34)
DNP T33
(34)
DNP DNP T26
(16)
DNP T17
(22)
DNP DNP T50
(0.67)
T35
(5)
DNP
Cam Davis
(106.67 pts)
DNP T28
(22)
DNP DNP T55
(0)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Justin Thomas
(104.67 pts)
T22
(28)
DNP T40
(20)
DNP DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP T42
(2.67)
Aaron Rai
(97.33 pts)
DNP DNP T19
(62)
DNP DNP T35
(10)
DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Patrick Reed
(96.67 pts)
T22
(28)
T34
(16)
CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP T32
(12)
DNP T25
(16.67)
DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP 5
(23.33)
Min Woo Lee
(95.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T17
(22)
DNP T42
(5.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Corey Conners
(93.67 pts)
13
(37)
DNP T15
(70)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T53
(0)
Hideki Matsuyama
(92.67 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP T26
(16)
DNP T62
(0)
Tony Finau
(84.67 pts)
DNP T28
(22)
T15
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T32
(6)
Abraham Ancer
(82.67 pts)
T14
(36)
DNP T59
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 4
(53.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Cameron Smith
(77.33 pts)
T10
(40)
DNP T33
(34)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T30
(13.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Kevin Kisner
(76.67 pts)
DNP DNP 73
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T55
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Sungjae Im
(75 pts)
T22
(28)
DNP DNP DNP T47
(2)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP T35
(10)
T35
(5)
CUT
(-3.33)
Lucas Glover
(75 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP T41
(6)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T37
(4.33)
Bryson DeChambeau
(74.67 pts)
DNP DNP T33
(34)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP T26
(16)
DNP T18
(10.67)
Patrick Cantlay
(72 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP Win
(44)
Jim Herman
(69.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T20
(30)
T28
(14.67)
DNP DNP DNP T25
(16.67)
DNP DNP DNP T26
(8)
Jason Kokrak
(66.67 pts)
DNP DNP T26
(48)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Kevin Na
(62 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP T47
(2)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Olympics 3M Open British Open Barbasol Champ. John Deere Scottish Open Rocket Mortgage Irish Open Travelers Champ. BMW Intern. U.S. Open Palmetto Memorial Tourn.
Victor Perez
(-30 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP T59
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Brad Kennedy
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Phil Mickelson
(-20 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP T74
(0)
DNP T61
(0)
DNP T62
(0)
DNP DNP
Stewart Cink
(-15.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T30
(13.33)
DNP T57
(0)
DNP T47
(1)
Matt Jones
(-14 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP T52
(0)
DNP T36
(9.33)
DNP T65
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Billy Horschel
(-6.67 pts)
DNP DNP T53
(0)
DNP DNP T54
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 67
(0)
Carlos Ortiz
(-5.33 pts)
T42
(8)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T47
(2)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T16
(11.33)
Martin Laird
(-2 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T28
(14.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
T53
(0)
Will Zalatoris
(-0.67 pts)
DNP DNP WD
(-10)
DNP DNP T26
(16)
77
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Ryosuke Kinoshita
(0 pts)
DNP DNP T59
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Robert Streb
(8.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T38
(8)
DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Garrick Higgo
(10 pts)
T53
(0)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T41
(6)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Win
(44)
DNP
Justin Rose
(10.67 pts)
DNP DNP T46
(8)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T36
(9.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Lee Westwood
(12.67 pts)
DNP DNP T59
(0)
DNP DNP T35
(10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T46
(2.67)
DNP DNP
Wilco Nienaber
(17.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T31
(19)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T68
(0)
T14
(12)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

The bevy of significant events continues as the PGA Tour plays in Memphis this week for the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational. Despite the British Open held just three weeks ago and the FedEx Cup playoffs starting in two weeks, the PGA Tour has crammed a WGC event and the Olympics in between.  The field is only 66, but for 19 of them, they will have to travel from Japan and the Olympics.  The big question will be who will suffer the most from the travel and time change.  In a span of three weeks, many of the 19 traveled from America to England, back to America, and to Japan and back. Typically for average folks like you and me, this is a challenging agenda which we will suffer some severe jet lag.  But for these 19, most of them will travel on a special charter that the PGA Tour set up going non-stop from Tokyo to Memphis.  Still, the 12 hour time change will be a jolt on anybody.  So come Thursday morning, expect to see some yawning and players slightly disorientated.  The good news, most of them are young and so physically fit, and since they will snuggle in their “beds” in the comfortable sleeper seats on the 15 plus hour journey from Japan, they will be ready to go come Thursday morning.  Still, for Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Louis Oosthuizen, and Jordan Spieth, who didn’t play in Japan, they will have the advantage of not having to worry about jet lag plus the rigors of playing in a four-day event.

The season only has four events after that.  The big question on many minds, who is going to be the Player of the Year.  Frankly, nobody has really dominated this year, these 6 players won multiple of events this year: Callin Morikawa (British Open & WGC-Workday), Harris English (Travelers & Sentry TofC), Patrick Cantlay (Memorial & Zozo Championship), Jason Kokrak (Charles Schwab & The CJ Cup), Bryson DeChambeau (Arnold Palmer & 2020 U.S. Open) and Stewart Cink (RBGC Heritage & Safeway).  About the only player that sticks out is Collin Morikawa, on top of winning twice, he lost the playoff at Memorial.  Others may say Jon Rahm, winner of the U.S. Open and probably the most consistent player on tour with 13 top-tens, plus he would have won the Memorial if not for the positive Covid test.  Still, the last five events of the year will probably shine the light on who has played the best in 2021.

Big news on the 2022 PGA Tour schedule, which came out on Tuesday, is making some significant changes.  The first news is that this year will be the last for this tournament.  It looks like the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational will disappear, but the folks of Memphis have no fear they are getting something better.  Starting next year, the Northern Trust, which is the first FedEx Cup playoff event, is moving to Memphis next year and will be played at TPC Southwind.  This is big news because the Northern Trust was always been a New York based tournament since it started at Westchester Country Club in 1967.  Last year, it moved to TPC Boston and was supposed to be on the rota of courses holding the Northern Trust.  But with Northern Trust dropping out, the event will switch to Memphis and be called the FedEx St. Jude Championship.  As for the World Golf Championship, that event, which started in 1999, is being dropped.  Another World Golf Championship, played this year at Concession Golf Club in Florida, is being dropped.  In 2017 the event switched to Mexico and was called the World Golf Championship -Mexico Championship.  It was a big success, and played for four years in Mexico, but had to change to Florida this year due to COVID logistics.  But in the new schedule, a new event called The Mexico Championship will be played in the last week in April.  That event will have a field of 132 players and, in its first year, will expand to bring in additional Mexican golfers in the field.  Another tournament added will be the Scottish Open. That event has been a mainstay on the European Tour since the early 70s.  Played the week before the British Open, the Scottish Open gets a new sponsor with Genesis.  They also will sponsor the Genesis Invitational played in Las Angeles in February.  All of these changes are good and probably the start of a real world tour.  I can see other events being co-sponsored by both the PGA and European Tour in the future.  The Irish Open played the week before the Scottish Open is probably next and could appear on both schedules in 2023.  Also, see the flagship event of the European Tour, the BMW Championship, which is played in September at Wentworth Golf Club outside of London.  The advent of a lot of money in Saudi Arabia with that group starting a world tour has scared both the PGA and European Tour, and we can see this as a start of more events getting together.  Don’t be surprised if you see other events like the Australian Open, the French Open, and the South African Open co-sponsored by the PGA and European Tour.

Good to see that the Hero World Challenge is back after taking a year off due to Covid.  The event is expanding to 20 players, will be played in the Bahamas, and will be between December 2nd – 5th.

Tournament information:

The WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational is the fourth and last of the World Golf Championships for 2021, and in 2019 moved to Memphis and the TPC Southwind.  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 2018 Ryder Cup teams or be ranked in the Top 50 in the official World Golf Rankings one or two weeks prior to the event;

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

Lastly the winner of the following tournaments from each of the following Tours:

Japan Golf Tour Championship (2021) and Bridgestone Open (2021). They are also giving spots to the order of merit on both the Asian Tour and Australian Open.

The event has been played at Firestone every year from 1999 to 2018 except for in 2002 when it was held at Sahalee C.C. just outside of Seattle, Washington.  This will be the last WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, but the course TPC Southwind will be the site of the first event of the FedEx Cup playoffs starting in 2022.

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 69.55 and ranked 14th hardest on the PGA Tour.  It was the second time since they kept course stats that TPC Southwind played under par.  In 2019 it played under par for the first year at 69.50.  The reason for this change, in past the fields were 156 but when it moved to become a World Golf Championship event, the fields reduce, in 2021 only 66 will play.  With the reduced field is the reason for the lower scores.  Still, the holes are tough as last year seven of the holes played over par. six of the holes were in the toughest 150 holes on the PGA Tour in 2020 with the par 4 fifth hole being the 50th hardest with a 4.247 average.

The big change to the course for last year 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.  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 2021.
So we now have two WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitationals in the book, and despite Firestone South is a unique course, I think that players now are ok with TPC Southwind.
The one surprising aspect of TPC Southwind was that many felt it would be a tougher test. The last year the FedEx St. Jude Classic was played at TPC Southwind in 2018, the course played to a 70.52 scoring average and was ranked 11th on the PGA Tour. Since course stats were kept in 2003, the oddity of TPC Southwind was that it always played over par. So when the course played to a 69.50 average many wondered what had happened to the course. The course played again under par with a 69.55 average and was ranked 14th hardest even last year. The only exclamation of this was the fact that the old FedEx St. Jude had fields of 156 while the field for the World Golf Championship is under 80 players.

Memphis has been pretty dry of late. It had about an inch over its average in June, but most of the rain fell in earlier June. In July rainfall was down, so the rough will not be the way they like it. It doesn’t look like they will have any precipitation this week as the temperature each day will be in the low 90s with very little wind. Over the last eleven years, while the FedEx St. Jude Classic was played on it, the fairways and greens were always hard to hit. But that changed in 2019, probably when the event went from a June start to an August start. Still, TPC Southwind will be tough enough to make for a challenging week of golf.

In looking at our four categories, our first for TPC Southwind are strokes gained tee-to-green. Last year the course ranked 22nd in driving accuracy and 9th in greens in regulation while winner Justin Thomas was T-12th in driving accuracy and T-7th in greens in regulation, so he was 1st in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green. Over the years, this has been an essential stat for the champions. In 2019 Brooks Koepka won and was 6th. 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. The next significant stat is one-putt percentage, TPC Southwind ranked 36th last year, 47th in 2020, and 45th in 2018. This means that many players had many one-putts, probably since the greens at TPC Southwind are petite at 4,300 Square feet. Last year’s winner Justin Thomas didn’t do well in this stat, he ranked T-51st with only 29 one-putts. The previous year Brooks Koepka was T-1st 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. Still, the norm is for the best players to have a lot of one-putt greens.
Our third important stat is scrambling; players will miss greens and get it up and down. The course ranked 31st last year, 37th in 2019, and 31st in 2018. Last year’s winner Justin Thomas was 6th while in the previous year Koepka was 1st while Johnson was 4th in 2018, T-24th in 2016, and Gomez was 8th in 2015. Our final category was birdie average last year, it ranked 16th, while in 2019, it ranked T-24th. 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 average was 3.70 last year, 3.73 in 2019, 3.27 in 2018, 3.11 in 2017, 3.16 in 2016 and 3.15 in 2015. For Thomas, he averaged 4.75 birdies per round which ranked T-8th, while in 2019, Koepka averaged 5.25 birdies per round 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 14th hardest course on tour, but you need to hit it long and straight along with hitting lots of greens as it ranked T-3rd in this category last year. So this is important to find a player that will do well in this stat.

*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 56 of the 66 players from this year’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude field with stats from 2021:

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

Here is a link to the stats for all 66 players

DraftKings tips

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

  • Collin Morikawa – $11,000
  • Xander Schauffele – $10,800
  • Brooks Koepka – $10,600
  • Jordan Spieth – $10,400
  • Dustin Johnson – $10,200
  • Rory McIlroy – $10,000
  • Justin Thomas – $9,900
  • Viktor Hovland – $9,700
  • Louis Oosthuizen – $9,600
  • Bryce DeChambeau – $9,500
  • Hideki Matsuyama – $9,400
  • Patrick Cantlay – $9,300
  • Daniel Berger – $9,200
  • Scottie Scheffler – $9,100
  • Paul Casey – $9,000

Have to say there is a good reason that Collin Morikawa is at $11,000.  First world #1 Jon Rahm isn’t playing this week and Morikawa is the British Open champion.  But let’s be frank, it’s probably best not to take Morikawa this week.  First, he is coming from Japan where he came close to winning a bronze medal and I think Jet Lag will be a problem for him.  I also wonder if he will have the “after winning a major blues” for the next few weeks.  Last year when Morikawa won the PGA Championship, he didn’t play that great until the Sentry Tournament of Champions.  If you think about it, kind of makes senses because of all the requests a player gets after winning a major.  So I can see why Morikawa will have problems, he has no real track record at TPC Southwind, playing it once last year, and finished T-20th.  I think that Morikawa will start playing better during the FedEx Cup playoff, but for this week the price for him is too dear.  As for Xander Schauffele at $10,800, I think that a combination of winning in a country where his mother was raised, plus the jet lag will bring Schauffele down this week and the price is too high for all of the baggage he will have this week.  Now Brooks Koepka at $10,600 is worth it and I can see Koepka winning this week.  He is well-rested and comes to a course that he has had great success.  Last year he was T-2nd and won the event in 2019.  When he played in the old FedEx St. Jude Classic he was T-2nd in 2016 and T-3rd in 2015 so he is a player to jump all over.  I have mixed emotions about Jordan Spieth at $10,400.  Think he is playing well after his runner-up finish at the British Open, but he has mixed results on TPC Southwind.  Last year he was T-30th and in 2019 was T-12th.  Still, he is a different player this year so it’s a toss-up on picking him this week.  I also have mixed feelings over Dustin Johnson at $10,200.  Despite the fact that he won at TPC Southwind in 2012 and 2018, he was T-20th in 2019 and T-12th last year.  So it comes down to his game, he is not the same person that won the Masters last November, and it’s best to pass on Johnson for this year.  Rory McIlroy at $10,000 is another problem for me, his game is close, but that doesn’t mean he will win this week.  Yes, he won the Wells Fargo, but he had a poor first round.  That is Rory’s main problem, lack of consistency and playing great for 72 holes.  The course should be perfect for Rory, but he was T-47th last year and T-4th in 2019.  I would pass on him since he is flying from the Olympics and could have some jet lag.  Talking about jet lag, Justin Thomas has had it the last four months and at $9,900 he is a big no.  Viktor Hovland at $9,700 is mixed, he was T-59th last year and despite having a good year and probably will be in the top-ten this week, the price is too high.  Louis Oosthuizen at $9,600 is a good bet, first he is playing well, he is well-rested not going to the Olympics and was T-6th last year in this event.  Look for a good week for Oosthuizen.  On the other end of the spectrum, Bryce DeChambeau at $9,500 is way too high.  Matter of fact even if he was $7,500 I wouldn’t pick him.  His game is in a terrible funk right now and he has played terrible at TPC Southwind, finishing T-30th last year, T-48th in 2019, and missing the cut in 2017.  So he is a big no.  Hideki Matsuyama at $9,400 is also a no, more for the fact that he was terribly disappointed not getting a medal in his home country of Japan.  That with the travel and jet lag will be a problem for him this week.  Patrick Cantlay at $9,300 has no track record at TPC Southwind finishing T-35th last year and T-12th in 2019.  His game is in question after missing the cut at the British Open so I say no to him.  But I have a big yes on Daniel Berger at $9,200.  He is really, really good at TPC Southwind.  Last year was T-2nd and won the FedEx St. Jude Classic in 2016 and ’17.  He was T-7th at the U.S. Open and T-8th at the British Open so he is an easy choice.  Scottie Scheffler at $9,100 has some appeal, he was T-15th in his only TPC Southwind appearance last year.  As for his game, he was T-8th at the British Open and has had a lot of time off and should be ready to go.  Paul Casey at $9,000 is a no for me, his record is not good at TPC Southwind finishing T-67th last year and T-27th in 2019.  He was T-4th in the Olympics losing the bronze medal in a playoff.  On top of that, he has to come from Japan, yes he is a no for me.

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

Have to like Matt Fitzpatrick at $8,800.  He has had a good year, lost a playoff at the Scottish Open, and was T-26th at the British Open.  Have to like his TPC Southwind record, was T-6th last year and T-4th the previous year so he is a big yes for me.  Shane Lowry at $8,600 is also a person to look at.  Since the Masters, he has played well making all his cuts.  He was T-4th at the PGA Championship, T-6th at Memorial, and T-12th at the British Open. But I like that he was T-6th last year at Southwind. Just a bit of a worry that he is coming from Japan.  Also, feel that Webb Simpson at $8,500 is a great price for a player that has played well at Southwind.  He was T-3rd in 2014, 2nd in 2019, and T-12th last year.  He was T-19th at the British Open, feel he will be a great pick.  Now the pick of the week is Harris English at $7,600.  Maybe because he hasn’t played at Southwind in the WGC event, but he does have a record at Southwind winning in 2013.  Hasn’t played much since winning the Travelers, was T-46th at the British Open, he should be well-rested.

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

Now the pickings in the below $7,500 pile are mixed.  There are no real gems so we have to look for the players that could give us the most points.  First is Adam Scott at $7,200, he always makes a lot of points and we can hope that he has the week of the year.  Ian Poulter at $7,000 is also a good pick, he was 8th in 2019 but will be playing hard since he is on the bubble for the Ryder Cup.  Want to take a chance, how about Matthew Wolff at $6,800.  He does make a lot of birdies and could score some good size points.  But there is one really good gem on this list, Phil Mickelson is $6,600 and that is great for us.  He was T-2nd last year, but in the old FedEx St. Jude he was 2nd in 2013 & ’16 along with a T-3rd in 2015, so he likes the course.  Last is Stewart Cink at $6,500, he was T-4th at Southwind in 2018, T-10th in 2017, and T-5th in 2004.

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

The key stat for the winner:

Major changes came to TPC Southwind 13 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 22nd 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 9th, in 2020 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 2020 Justin Thomas hit 51 of 72 greens at St. Jude, ranked T-7th.  For the year he ranked 31st.
  • 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 12 of the last 17 winners have been in the top-ten in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green, with eight of them leading that stat including 2020 winner Justin Thomas, 2018 winner Dustin Johnson, and 2017 champion Daniel Berger.  So for this week, Collin Morikawa is 1st on this year’s list, followed by #3 Brooks Koepka, #4 Patrick Cantlay, #6 Justin Thomas, and #7 Paul Casey.
  • 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 British Open and 3M Open.  Also, look for a player that has had tournaments ruined by one poor round like Rory McIlroy.
  • 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 18 of the 23 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 266 this week, that’s the average winning total since TPC Southwind was first used in 1989.  Last year Justin Thomas won with a 267 total.
  • Since 1989, only eight champions (Dicky Pride in 1994, Notah Begay III in 2000, Dustin Johnson in 2012, Harris English in 2013, Daniel Berger in 2016 & ’17, Brooks Koepka in 2019, and Justin Thomas last year) 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 Justin Thomas was 27 years, 3 months, 4 days old.  In 2019 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 is the weather.

It’s Memphis and it’s August so of course, it’s going to be hot, muggy, and stormy.  Each day will be in the low-90s, but it will feel more with very high humidity.  No real rain is in the forecast, but this time of year Memphis gets afternoon thunderstorms.  Making it hotter, there is very little wind in the forecast, which will make the scores lower.

Who to watch for at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational

Best Bets:

(The results in 2020 & ’19 is for TPC Southwind, 2018 and below is Firestone)

Brooks Koepka

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T2 Win 5 T17 WD 6

Was 2nd last year and won it in 2019. In the FedEx St. Jude was T-2nd in 2016, T-3rd in 2015 so the course is perfect for him. He is not 100% but getting close, was T-2nd a the PGA Championship, T-4th at the U.S. Open, T-5th at the Travelers, and T-6th at the British Open. He is due for a “W” real soon.

Rory McIlroy

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T47 T4 T6 T5 Win T27 T5 T6 T9 T68

T-4th in 2019, T-7th in 2012 and T-29th in 2010 so he likes the course despite finishing T-47th last year. Has gotten to show more consistency of late, lost in a playoff for the bronze medal. He could do the same thing here as he did at Wells Fargo by winning again.

Daniel Berger

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T2 T48 T17 WD

A good pick due to his great record at TPC Southwind won in 2017 and ’16. Last year in the WGC was T-2nd, know he will be in the running on Sunday. Won at the AT&T, since then only missed one cut and been in the top-ten four times, last start T-8th at the British Open.

Best of the rest:

Harris English

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T27 T31 T14

People tend to forget that Harris won the FedEx St. Jude in 2013. Since then his results are spotty, but his play this year has to make him someone to think about.

Webb Simpson

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T12 2 T24 25 T31 T14

Was T-12th last year, runner-up in 2019, in the FedEx St. Jude was T-3rd at Southwind in 2014. Has struggled most of the summer, was T-19th in his last start at British Open. He is in an event that he has done well that will help him.

Dustin Johnson

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T12 T20 T3 T17 Win 53 T33 T19 T48 15 T22

Very good record at TPC Southwind won in 2018 and 2012, was 5th in 2016, T-12th last year. Another complicated and messy year, yes he missed the cut in his last start at 3M Open, but this course will bring out the best of him

Matt Fitzpatrick

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T6 T4 T48 T50

Was T-6th last year and T-3th in 2019, his only two starts at Southwind. T-2nd at the Scottish Open, this is a guy nobody will think of who can surprise a lot this week.

Jordan Spieth

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T30 T12 T60 T13 T3 10 49

T-30th last year and T-12th at TPC Southwind. Was runner-up at the British Open, feel he is ready to carry over that momentum and win this week.

Players who have played well of late and could shine this week in Memphis:

Collin Morikawa

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T20

T-20th last year in his only start at Southwind. His game has been hot of late, 2nd at the Memorial, T-4th at the U.S. Open, win at British and T-4th, losing the bronze medal in the seven-player playoff.

Louis Oosthuizen

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T6 T20 T24 T50 T21 42 61 4 T37 T9

Only played twice at TPC Southwind, was T-6th last year, and T-20th in 2019. In his last eight starts was 2nd four times, The Zurich Classic, PGA Championship, U.S. Open, and 3M Open. Was T-3rd at the British Open

Phil Mickelson

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T2 57 T24 T39 T27 63 T15 T21 T43 T48 T46 T58

Don’t laugh. He was T-2nd 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 at TPC Southwind. Has not played well since winning the PGA Championship in May, still think the course will help Phil play this week.

Patrick Cantlay

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T35 T12 T6

His record isn’t great T-35th last year and T-12th in 2019. Since his Memorial win was T-15th at the U.S. Open, T-13th at Travelers, and missed the cut at the British. Think it’s best to forget all this because the course really suits his game.

Viktor Hovland

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T59

Only played once at TPC Southwind finishing T-59th last year. Still, the course sets up for his game. His game has been steady all year, in his last 17 starts has nine top-15 finishes. Of late won the BMW International, T-12th at the British, and a disappointing T-14th at the Olympics.

Olympic Jet-lag could strike them down this week:

Xander Schauffele

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T6 T27 68 T13

Was T-6th last year at Southwind, T-27th in 2019. Been knocking on the door of victory all year and fully got that win at the Olympics in an emotional win. Sorry but I think between the win and plane ride to Memphis he will be fried and not capable of playing at his best.

Justin Thomas

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
Win T12 Win T28 T33

Was the winner at Southwind last year, T-12th in 2019. Has struggled with his putter since his Player Championship win, was T-40th at the British and T-22nd at the Olympics. Sorry, but his game is not ready for this week plus the jet lag for the Japan trip.

Hideki Matsuyama

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T20 T43 T39 Win T42 37 T12 T21

Was T-20th last year and T-43rd in 2019 in his only Southwind starts. He may have won the Masters but losing the playoff for the Bronze medal and not being on the winner’s podium was a hard blow for Hideki in his home country.

Sorry but a player whose game is in free fall right now

Bryson DeChambeau

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T30 T48 30 T60

On a course he should dominate on he was T-30th last year and T-48th in 2019, plus missing the cut in the 2017 FedEx St. Jude Classic. Nothing has gone right since he won the Arnold Palmer and finished T-3rd at the Players. His game has seen way too many bogeys and doubles, he wasn’t even able to go to the Olympics due to COVID-19.

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