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St. Jude Golf Preview
by Matt Fargo - 06/04/2013
The final tuneup before the U.S. Open takes place this week as the PGA Tour heads to Memphis and the TPC at Southwind for the FedEx St. Jude Classic. This stop has been a mainstay on the PGA Tour schedule for years and although it has gone through some tough times in trying to gain sponsors, FedEx jumped in recently and is here through 2016. This is where the first ever 59 was carded as Al Geiberger achieved the feat back in 1959 at the then named Danny Thomas Memphis Classic.
TPC at Southwind was opened in March 1988 and has played host to the St. Jude Classic since 1989. The course has 10 water hazards making accuracy in the fairway and greens in regulation extremely important. Five years ago, Southwind played the toughest of all non-majors on the schedule but it was a lot easier in 2009 as it ranked 20th out of 51 courses in difficulty. The last three years though, it returned to difficult status capping with it being ranked as the hardest par 70 of the 13 non-majors last year.
Because of the U.S. Open being played next week, a lot of players are taking the week off and it is a watered-down field this week. The field includes only five players ranked in the top ten of the FedEx Cup Standings and the only top ten player in the OWGR teeing it up is Brandt Snedeker. The field includes nine winners of major championships as well as seven past St. Jude Classic champions. With the field being light, it makes for a very wide open tournament as proven by some of the recent past champions.
Brandt Snedeker (+$1,000) is a co-favorite with Phil Mickelson but he is clearly the better of the two favorites at this point. He missed the cut last week at the Memorial which is a tournament he should stop playing as he has missed the cut in all six starts. In his other 10 starts, he has six top tens and four tops threes including a win. He has made the cut here is four of five trips with a T5 being his best finish.
Ryan Palmer (+2,500) has not missed a cut in his last six starts while finishing worse than T33 only once. His best finish during this stretch is a T5 at THE PLAYERS Championship and his latest start resulted in a T14 at Colonial. He is 10th on tour in driving distance, a big plus here which has been shown in his success at TPC Southwind including a T3 last year.
It is hard to look past Robert Karlsson (+3,000) in this event. He has missed the cut in half of his 10 starts this year but he is coming off a solid T34 last week despite a Saturday 76. He did miss the cut at TPC Southwind last year but prior to that, he was on the cusp of winning as he lost in 2011 and 2010 in a playoff, both going three or more holes. He is certainly due for his first ever PGA Tour win.
Billy Horschel (+3,000) was one of the hottest golfers in March and April as he posted three consecutive finishes of T2, T3 and T9 before winning his first ever tournament at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. He has not played well in his only two starts since that victory but the talent is there to bounce back. He has not finished higher than T72 in three previous trips here but he is a different player now.
Gary Woodland (+5,000) will be the longshot take this week. He has missed only three cuts this year and is coming off a T16 at the Memorial. His last start here was in 2010 and he finished a solid T37 and one advantage he has is his length. He is fifth on tour in driving distance and this is a course that distance can matter. One look at the past three champions will tell you that.
Recommended Tournament Win Five Pack at the FedEx St. Jude Classic (all for One Unit)
Brandt Snedeker (+$1,000)
Ryan Palmer (+2,500)
Robert Karlsson (+3,000)
Billy Horschel (+3,000)
Gary Woodland (+5,000)
2012 Record to date after 36 events: +51.6 Units
2013 Record to date after 21 events: -9.4 Units
Hyundai Tournament of Champions -5 Units
Sony Open in Hawaii -5 Units
Humana Challenge - 5 Units
Farmer Insurance Open +3.5 Units
Waste Management Phoenix Open +19 Units
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am -5 Units
Northern Trust Open -5 Units
WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship +25.66 units
The Honda Classic -5 Units
WGC-Cadillac Championship -5 Units
Tampa Bay Championship -5 Units
Arnold Palmer Invitational -1.5 Units
Shell Houston Open -5 Units
The Masters -8 Units
RBC Heritage +27 Units
Zurich Classic of New Orleans -5 Units
The Wells Fargo Championship -5 Units
THE PLAYERS Championship -5 Units
HP Byron Nelson Championship -5 Units
Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial -5 Units
Memorial Tournament -5 Units