The First Look: World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational
August 01, 2021
By Adam Stanley , PGATOUR.COM
PGA TOUR – The CUT
Justin Thomas wins 2020 WGC – FedEx St. Jude
After a week off for the men’s Olympic competition, the PGA TOUR schedule resumes with the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
Olympian Justin Thomas will look to defend his title from 2020 while 2019 winner, Brooks Koepka, is coming into the week with four top-6 finishes in his last five TOUR events.
FIELD NOTES: World No. 1 Jon Rahm will not be in the field after testing positive for COVID-19 and withdrawing from the Olympic competition… FedExCup leader and recent Open Championship winner Collin Morikawa will look to add another WGC to his trophy case. He won the WGC-Workday Championship earlier this year to become the only player other than Tiger Woods to win a major and WGC before turning 25… There will be 66 players competing in Memphis, including 48 of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking… There are two spots open for a golfer who wins the gold medal at the Olympics (if not already in the field) and if they move inside the top 50 in the OWGR when the next edition of the ranking is released on Aug. 2… Fifteen countries will be represented… The only other golfer inside the top 50 in the world who is not teeing it up in Memphis is Christiaan Bezuidenhout.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 550 FedExCup points
COURSE: TPC Southwind, par 70, 7,233 yards. The long-time PGA TOUR host club was elevated to WGC status for 2019. Designed by Ron Prichard (with TOUR players Fuzzy Zoeller and Hubert Green as consultants) the most recent update came in 2004 under the eye of TOUR winner Loren Roberts. The course is a solid test with nearly 100 bunkers and 10 water hazards and undulating zoysia fairways.
STORYLINES: With some of golf’s top names, including the defending champion Justin Thomas, competing in the Olympics, one thing to keep an eye on will be the fatigue factor of those who played in Tokyo and then traveled back to the United States… This is the final WGC event of the season. The previous winners included Collin Morikawa (WGC-Workday) and Billy Horschel (WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play)… Previous success at TPC Southwind has already been an indicator of comfort at the WGC contested at the same course. Daniel Berger, a two-time winner of the FedEx St. Jude Classic, finished T2 last year, while Dustin Johnson (a two-time FedEx St. Jude Classic winner and six-time WGC winner) finished T12… Nine of the top 10 golfers in the FedExCup standings are teeing it up in Memphis, with the notable exception being Rahm. Bryson DeChambeau, who also tested positive for COVID-19 and withdrew from the Olympic competition, is back in action.
72-HOLE RECORD: 264, Brooks Koepka (2019)
18-HOLE RECORD: 61, Tom Lewis (third round, 2020)
LAST TIME: Justin Thomas won by three shots – the same margin of victory as Brooks Koepka the year prior – over Koepka, Daniel Berger, Tom Lewis, and Phil Mickelson. Thomas fired a final-round 65 that included two birdies in his final four holes en route to winning his third PGA TOUR title of the season. This marked Thomas’ 13th career TOUR title and he became the third-youngest to ever reach that mark – the others being Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Lewis’ T2 was his best-career TOUR result and came thanks to shooting a 9-under 61 on Saturday, which matched the course record at TPC Southwind.
HOW TO FOLLOW (All times ET)
TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 12 p.m.-5 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday 12 p.m.-2 p.m. (Golf Channel), 2 p.m.-6 p.m. (CBS).
PGA TOUR LIVE*: Thursday-Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Featured Groups). Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. (Featured Groups), 2 p.m.-6 p.m. (Featured Holes).