Power Rankings: FedEx St. Jude Classic

June 06, 2011
Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Columnist

The company for which the season-long FedExCup is named announced in December that it would return as title sponsor of this week's FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis. Then, just a few weeks ago, the shipping giant headquartered locally announced that it was extending its agreement through 2014. It's familiar territory for the corporation, which has been a longtime supporter of the event. This includes a 21-year run as title sponsor from 1986 through 2006.

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While FedEx customers save money, the objective of the 156 golfers in the field is to save par. TPC Southwind is no pushover. It checked in with the third-highest scoring average (+0.815) among the 14 par-70s used in 2010. It hasn't averaged under par since 2003.

Challenging green complexes explain why average scores live north of 70. The host track ranked third overall in greens in regulation a year ago at 56.83 percent, the fourth time in the last six years that it's been inside the top five. But pars are out there as the course was 34th in scrambling last year; it's finished inside the top 20 just once in the last six. Therefore, the premium is on GIR, with bogey avoidance as a secondary initiative.

Yet another steam bath is forecast this year. High temperatures will have no problem reaching the mid-to-upper 90s throughout. A risk of inclement weather is possible during any round. Winds will be negligible.

Power Rankings: FedEx St. Jude Classic
Rank Player   Comment
Trending exceptionally well, with top-12 finishes in his last three starts including a solo fourth at Colonial. He's also posted top 12s in each of his two appearances here. Ranks fourth on TOUR in strokes gained-putting and 15th in bogey avoidance.
Could the stars be aligned yet again this week? Rested since winning at Colonial, which chased a playoff loss at THE PLAYERS. Two wins and seven top 10s overall in last nine starts here. Currently second on TOUR in both greens hit and bogey avoidance.
While his Sunday 73 at Muirfield Village was disappointing, he still finished tied for seventh for his fourth top 10 of the year. Sits 18th on the PGA TOUR in greens in regulation, 20th in the all-around and 11th in bogey avoidance.
The 2009 champ has three top 15s here in the last four years. He's made 10 consecutive cuts entering the week, with top 15s in two of his last three starts. Leads the TOUR in fairways hit, scrambling and sand saves; also fifth in bogey avoidance.
Beneficiary of Robert Garrigus' meltdown in regulation, Westwood stole victory here last year in a three-man playoff. Since the Masters, the Englishman has five top-11 finishes, including a playoff loss at the BMW PGA Championship.
He's 7-for-7 on the PGA TOUR this year, with five top 25s, including his last three starts. Ranks T27 in greens hit and T19 in bogey avoidance; also sixth in adjusted scoring average and first in actual scoring average before the cut. T4 here in 2008.
His share of seventh place at the Memorial is a season-best in nine top 25s. Ranks 10th on TOUR in greens in regulation and 42nd in bogey avoidance. Two top 10s here in last four starts. Most importantly, his putting is arguably the best it's ever been.
Only one week removed from a share of third place at the Byron Nelson, where he led the field in greens in regulation. Has made the cut in each of three appearances here, all of which have resulted in a top-30 finish. Ranks 35th on TOUR in scrambling.
Coming off a share of sixth place at the Byron Nelson, his first top 10 of the year. Leads the TOUR in total driving and sits 25th in greens in regulation. Finished T15 here last year after a four-year hiatus from the tournament.
With five top 10s in 14 starts this season, he's a threat to contend every time he competes. Sits second on TOUR in putting, 20th in the all-around and T39 in bogey avoidance. Rested since sharing 16th place at Colonial. Finished T5 here in 2007.

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