Draws and Fades: FedEx St. Jude Championship
9 Min Read
If you play PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf and you don’t feel like this week is a big deal, then you’re doing it wrong.
FedExCup points collected by the golfers in the first two tournaments of the Playoffs are quadrupled – a win is worth 2,000, a solo second is worth 1,200, and so on – so the FedEx bonus points you earn for your starters in the final rounds will reflect it. Instead of 50 points for a win, you’ll receive 200 (or 10 percent of the actual). A fourth-place finish will yield 54 points, or four more than a win at, say, last week’s Wyndham Championship.
For just about all intents and purposes, Segment 4 is the only phase in which you want to save all starts for the haymakers; otherwise, you’ll have needed them to connect for victories in the interim. They often do, of course, but not always the chalk you’ve played, so the default is to end-load to give yourself the strongest chance at a league championship.
If you’re new to PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf – though a reminder is handy for returning gamers, too – note this in Rules“Although no FedExCup points are distributed at the end of TOUR Championship, PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf awards FedExCup Bonus points at the end of TOUR Championship based on final leaderboard finish. TOUR Championship FedExCup Bonuses adheres to the same structure as the other 2 playoff events.”
Additionally, because final leaderboard finish at the TOUR Championship is influenced by Starting Strokes at East Lake, you are going to want to leverage the highest seeds to be your starters no matter your league position. So, and I mean this literally, write down prospective rosters for the finale and determine how many starts you have remaining for every golfer on your short list. If you have at least two starts to burn, then lock one in for the TOUR Championship.
Now that your conclusion has structure, return to the FedEx St. Jude Championship.
Even if you’re pacing, this is a better time to lean into the chalk because so much of it has considerable history at TPC Southwind. This won’t be the case at Wilmington County Club’s South Course in Delaware, host of next week’s BMW Championship and where ball-striking projects to matter more than any other skill set. (More on that then.)
So, if you have as many as two starts for your short-listers, approach the St. Jude as you would any other non-Playoffs event. Rely on current form, course history and the other variables that influence our weekly decisions.
These instructions, while rooted in experience and success over time – this includes PGA TOUR Experts league championships; wink, wink – don’t guarantee anything, but they put you in the smartest position to pounce and for the longest period of time. What’s more, if properly pressured heretofore, the target of your affliction cannot cover all of the bases in any one round or week. ‘Tis the season to be chasing!
POWER RANKINGS WILD CARD
Shane Lowry (+150 for a Top 20) … He gets the benefit of the doubt of one off-week in a non-major even when he made the cut (T83, Wyndham). He’s 28th in the FedExCup on the shoulders of a litany of strong performances throughout 2022. There’s been zero letup in earnest, so it’d be an upset if he isn’t piercing the turf at East Lake in two weeks. Also, and this isn’t insignificant, in the last two WGCs at TPC Southwind, he finished T6 (2020) and T23 (2021) with a scoring average of 68.125.
Joaquin Niemann (+170 for a Top 20) … With as much as he’s accomplished, it can be easy to forget that he’s only 23 and completing already his fourth season with a PGA TOUR card. So many learning curves, but with so much success. The gist is to simply respect the challenge and continue to utilize as complementary in the strongest way possible. He’s this close to being a cornerstone.
Scott Stallings (+275 for a Top 20) … It’s been the summer of Stallings. The spring harbinger was a T4 at Colonial in late May, but he’s since ripped off a T8-T4-T10-T13 since the Travelers. To wonder if he still has anything left in the tank would be to defy his physical fitness, not to mention that he injected a three-week break in the middle of the run, so don’t sweat that, literally and figuratively. The Tennessee Tech product made eight consecutive starts at TPC Southwind when it hosted the open through 2018, so experience also is an asset. At 41st in the FedExCup, he’s poised for his deepest run ever in the Playoffs.
Odds sourced on Tuesday, August 9th at 7 p.m. ET. For live odds visit betmgm
Viktor Hovland … Courses with small greens can expose his struggles around them. Unless he leads the field in greens in regulation, it’s going to be toughest for him to put four rounds together. So, retreat into observation only at TPC Southwind (where he didn’t crack the top 35 in either WGC in which he competed) and reconsider at Wilmington CC. He’s 19th in the FedExCup, so he’ll be there.
Keegan Bradley … Even if he was surging upon arrival, his skill set should make more sense next week over now. While mildly harsh to reference it as evidence, it still doesn’t help that he didn’t finish inside the top 50 of the limited-field WGC in either try.
Webb Simpson … Opted not to finish his second round of the Wyndham Championship after a weather delay, but he had only one hole to play and he wasn’t going to make the cut, anyway. Regardless, it was a disappointing result that fell into line with many others since he’s returned from the neck injury that sidelined him for two months early this year. He’s seeded 122nd, so it would require his best performance in recent memory to survive.
RETURNING TO COMPETITION
Hideki Matsuyama … The 30-year-old completed golf’s Scrabble board with his mid-tournament WD at the 3M Open (due to an injured left wrist). It chased an MC at the Genesis Scottish Open and a DQ at Memorial. Thanks to a pair of top fives – also within his last seven starts – and two early victories, he enters slotted 11th in the FedExCup. That’s strong enough not to force the issue at TPC Southwind where he was one of two playoff victims last year, so consider using this week as a lab to monitor his health and execution before employing his tee-to-green talent on the unknown of next week’s test where it should play up, assuming he’s healthy.
Si Woo Kim … While unfortunate and unfair to associate with his pattern, his mid-round WD – and 13th career – due to an illness during the finale of the Wyndham Championship was the latest evidence of why it can be painful to invest in him on the weekly. He’s 48th in the FedExCup.
Danny Lee … This is his fifth attempt to play since a hip injury forced him out during the Travelers in late June. However, now 89th in the FedExCup, while he was guaranteed to qualify for the Playoffs, there are no more lifelines to advance.
Hayden Buckley … The rookie splashes at 95th in the FedExCup. He made the cut at the Wyndham but withdrew due to a sore wrist. He’s battled an injured left wrist in the past, but it was not specified which wrist forced last week’s decision.
Jason Day … He was so close to his first full season without a mid-tournament WD since 2017-18, but an illness got the better of him last week, so he called it quits after opening with 67 at Sedgefield. He’s 113th in the FedExCup, so it’d require a vintage performance to advance. He finished T6 with four sub-70s in his last trip to TPC Southwind in 2020, but that’s a long time ago.
Daniel Berger … Hasn’t played since the U.S. Open, effectively shutting down his season with ongoing discomfort in his back. The 29-year-old closed out the regular season at 78th in the FedExCup.
Tommy Fleetwood … With T4s in both of the tournaments in Scotland in July, he punctuated a successful season despite navigating it with conditional status. That’s what a lofty Official World Golf Ranking consistently inside the top 50 can make possible, but he went out and executed. He’s 47th in the FedExCup, but he announced on Sunday that he would be devoting time to his family right now. It was just three weeks ago when his mom died. Despite sitting this week out, the Englishman should advance in the Playoffs, so he has time to change his mind for a run at the BMW Championship and beyond, but it seems unlikely.
Nate Lashley … An injured toe will end his season. He’s been battling it for a while. At 98th in points, he cannot advance. Overall, it was a solid contract season for the 39-year-old who missed the Playoffs in the super season of 2020-21. However, he still misses almost one of every two cuts, so his long-term value is best left to the deepest of fantasy formats.
Lanto Griffin … He announced that, on July 25, recovery from microdiscectomy surgery likely will keep him sidelined for the remainder of the year. He landed in the Playoffs as the 69-seed, so he would not advance unless almost all of the guys who make the cut at TPC Southwind are positioned higher upon arrival. There should be a prop for that!
RECAP – Wyndham Championship
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Billy Horschel T27
2 Sungjae Im T2
3 Russell Henley T5
4 Si Woo Kim WD
5 Kevin Kisner WD
6 Shane Lowry T83
7 Denny McCarthy MC
8 Will Zalatoris T21
9 Tom Kim Win
10 Brian Harman T71
11 Kevin Streelman MC
12 Webb Simpson WD
13 Taylor Pendrith T13
14 Tyrrell Hatton T8
15 Cameron Champ MC
Wild Card Adam Scott T76
Golfer (Bet, if applicable) Result
Nick Hardy (+350 for a Top 20) MC
Charley Hoffman (+500 for a Top 20) T68
Michael Gligic T61
Max McGreevy T5
Danny Willett MC
Bet: Mark Hubbard (Top 20) – +290
BIRTHDAYS AMONG ACTIVE MEMBERS OF THE PGA TOUR
August 9 … none
August 10 … none
August 11 … Morgan Hoffmann (33)
August 12 … Chase Seiffert (31)
August 13 … Tommy Gainey (47)
August 14 … none
August 15 … Ted Purdy (49); Harold Varner III (32)