Horses for Courses: FedEx St. Jude Championship
August 09, 2022
By Mike Glasscott , PGATOUR.COM
All-time best drives at TPC Southwind
Welcome to the 2022 FedExCup Playoffs! A field of 121 of 125 eligible players is gathered at TPC Southwind in the Memphis suburbs for the FedEx St Jude Championship and the first of three Playoffs events.
TPC Southwind has hosted a PGATOUR event since 1989 under many forms including most recently as a World Golf Championship before being elevated to the Playoffs this year.
The course has Champion Bermuda putting surfaces, two Par-5s and Par-70 on the scorecard. Ron Prichard's design features tight Zoysia fairways which turn, bob and weave throughout the 7,243 yards with 75 bunkers, 11 water penalty areas on 11 holes plus 2.5 inches of 419 Bermuda catching any errant shots. The 4,300 square foot greens (on average) are the fourth smallest on TOUR.
The course defending champion is Abraham Ancer who is not eligible this week. The event defending champion, previously known as THE NORTHERN TRUST in 2021, is Tony Finau as he began last year's edition of the Playoffs with a victory over Cameron Smith at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, NJ.
Read Rob Bolton's Power Rankings for more on the course and Adam Stanley's The First Look for more on the field and history of the event. As always, Statistically Speaking, will provide an insight on the critical stats for this week.
Horses for Courses: High Five
- Players listed only if they are in the field for 2022 edition -
Justin Thomas (Win: +1800, Top 5: +375, Top 10: +175, Top 20: -125, Top 40: -300)
Joins Harris English as the only previous winners on this track in the field this week. The 2020 champion posted 13-under to win by three and his total was the highest in the past four seasons. A previous winner of this event at Firestone South, Thomas cashed T12 on his first visit in 2019 and defended last year with T26. He's an aggregate 24-under in those 12 rounds and 10 of those have gone for 70 or better.
Matt Fitzpatrick (Win: +2200, Top 5: +350, Top 10: +170, Top 20: -125, Top 40: -300)
Made his debut in 2019 where he held the 36-hole lead by two after a 64 in the second round. Sat just two off of Rory McIlroy's 54-hole lead but a final round 69 saw him drop to T4. The 2022 U.S. Open champ posted another second round 64 in 2020 on his way to T6. Last season earned a T57, breaking par just once (67, Rd 3). He's the only person in the field with a pair of top 10 finishes in the three WGC events on the property.
Webb Simpson (Win: +12500, Top 5: +1800, Top 10: +750, Top 20: +300, Top 40: +100)
Sits 29-under in the last three seasons with paychecks cashing for T15-T12-T2 but that's hardly surprising as this event was a precursor to the Wyndham Championship over that time frame. Of his 12 rounds five are 66 or better including 64 to close two of the three years including last year’s T15. Added solo third here in 2014. Only player in the event with three T15 or better finishes.
Billy Horschel (Win: +4000, Top 5: +750, Top 10: +333, Top 20: +150, Top 40: -165)
Was known in circles for years in fantasy formats for his accomplishments at TPC Southwind. From four events here stretching from 2013-2017 he never left the top 10. Returning for the WGC he almost picked up where he left off despite the much deeper fields. Solo ninth in 2019 made it five from six events and he's followed that up with T17 and T25 the last two years.
Rory McIlroy (Win: +1000, Top 5: +190, Top 10: -110, Top 20: -225, Top 40: -500)
Went close here in the inaugural WGC event in 2019 as he held the 54 hole lead by one over Brooks Koepka and two over Matt Fitzpatrick after a spectacular 62 in the third round. Was the odd man out that Sunday as Koepka blitzed him 65 to 71 in the final pairing to comfortably win by three. T47 followed in 2020 before the light FINALLY went back on last year with T12. An opening round 72 was followed by a trio of 66s. Also cashed solo seventh in 2012 and 29th as a pup in 2010.
Odds sourced on Tuesday, August 9th. For live odds visit betmgm.
Pipped at the Post
Hideki Matsuyama has slowly but surely figured it out here. Opening with 280 on debut (T43) turned into 274 in 2020 (T23) and closing with 64-63 last year set his new mark of 264 where he lost in a playoff.
Sam Burns racked up 22 birdies (T2) and an eagle on his debut last year. Round of 64 Sunday, his second of the week, rocketed him up the board and into the playoff before falling to Ancer.
Cameron Smith posted rounds of 62-65 last year to sit two off the lead of English. His double at the last hole knocked him out of the three-man playoff and into a T5 finish. The scar tissue from last year goes with T59 in 2020 and T12 in 2019.
Will Zalatoris cashed T8 on debut including four rounds in the 60s and 20 birdies as he continued to turn heads last summer.
Shane Lowry arrived in 2018 taking 30th before the U.S. Open at Shinnecock. His two WGC events saw him claim solo sixth in 2020 and solo 23rd last year. After his opening round of 72 on debut he's posted 20-under over the next 11 rounds with nothing above 70.
Scottie Scheffler arrived as an amateur in 2014 (MC) before his 2018 appearance as a professional (43rd). Like his career arc he's getting better with age. In 2020 he posted four rounds in the 60s for 273 and 15th. Last year he sat 13-under thru 54 holes before he blew a tire for 74 and 14th place on Sunday.
Jon Rahm posted 62 in his first round here in 2019 (7th) and followed with T52 but didn't show up last year.
Xander Schauffele will play this track on TOUR for the fifth time (no MC) but only has one top 25, T6 in 2020.
Jordan Spieth enters this week with 12th-30th-12th on his resume. Every round is 71 or better.