Fedex St Jude Classic
Dates: August 10, 2023 to August 13, 2023
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Course: TPC Southwind
Course Par: 70
Course Length: 7244
Prize Purse: $20000000
The season is nearing its climax as we head into the first of the three FedEx Cup playoffs, starting with the FedEx St Jude, held at TPC Southwind. Seventy players take their place in the field, with points quadrupled and only the top 50 heading forward to next week.
TPC Southwind plays host for the FedEx St Jude as the top 70 in the season-long points list take aim at the huge windfall on offer for whoever goes on to succeed in a couple of weeks’ time at East Lake. Measuring 7243 yards and playing to a par of 70, much of the challenge comes from the many water hazards on site, although the fairways are relatively generous. Will Zalatoris was last year’s champion, beating Sepp Straka in a dramatic playoff, although he misses his defence as he continues his recovery from injury. Other previous winners on this course include Abraham Ancer, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Daniel Berger – there doesn’t appear to be any particular angle on specific strokes gained metrics, so it’s likely that the winner will need to have all parts of their game in decent order. With the greens being small and tricky to find, we’ll be putting a premium on approach accuracy.
We’re keen to have one of the big guns on our side this week, but picking between the big three is far from easy. Incredibly, Scheffler leads the entire field across each of the driving, approach and scrambling metrics in the last three months, but his well-documented issues with the putter see him in 66th place of 70. That alone is enough to put us off him. It then becomes a toss-up between Rahm and McIlroy, and Rory’s slightly stronger recent stats make him the pick to close the gap on the top two in the FedEx standings.
|Player||Points||Type||UK Odds||Places||Outright US Odds|
|Rory McIroy||5||Each Way||8/1||8||+900|
|Viktor Hovland||3||Each Way||18/1||8||+2000|
|Wyndham Clark||3||Each Way||33/1||7||+3500|
|Sepp Straka||2||Each Way||55/1||7||+5500|
|Brendon Todd||1||Each Way||125/1||7||+11000|
Based on all the previously mentioned factors our first selection is last year’s FedEx champion Rory McIlroy (5pts each way, 8/1, 8 places).
Viktor Hovland (3pts each way, 18/1, 8 places) is the other player from the top of the market who looks to be close to his best form and is available at a price that makes him very interesting. Inside the top 30 in each of his last five starts, including a win at the Memorial and top 20s in the final two majors of the year. His short game seems a little less fragile now than used to be the case (top 30 in this field for strokes gained around the green) and he ranks as one of the likeliest winners outside the big three.
We’ve written before that Wyndham Clark (3pts each way, 33/1, 7 places) continues to be under-valued in the market and this still seems to be the case. In the last three months he ranks 16th or better in this field in all four strokes gained metrics and third in the field overall. A genuine top 10 player now, how he sits alongside Fleetwood, Fitzpatrick and Finau in the market on current form is anyone’s guess and he simply has to be included in the staking plan.
Looking a little further down the list, Sepp Straka (2pts each way, 55/1, 7 places) has bounded back to his very best form lately with a win in the John Deere closely followed by an exceptional tie for second in the Open. Those performances look set to all but seal his place in the European Ryder Cup side. A missed cut after the long trip back to the US wouldn’t be a concern and his very best form is more than good enough to compete with the best in the world, albeit his overall stats are dragged down slightly by his inconsistency. Another player who still seems to be undervalued, is full of confidence, and while he is we should continue to be interested in him.
Finally we’ll have a small play on Brendon Todd (1pt each way, 125/1, 7 places), who sits some way down the pecking order in terms of total strokes gained, but has definitely been on an improving trend recently with two top tens bagged in his last three outings and a respectable enough top 50 in The Open sandwiched in between. He looks like one of the more likely longshots to put in another decent performance.
Also given close consideration were JT Poston, whose run of four top tens in five stands out, and Stephan Jaeger, who has also been knocking out a string of high finishes. We were hoping for slightly bigger prices about both though, so they are reluctantly left out. Last week’s winner Lucas Glover looks to be a new man having changed his putter with such success, while Eric Cole continues to impress, but again the price wasn’t quite enough to tempt us in a field of this quality.