Steve Bamford

Steve Bamford's FedEx St Jude Championship Tips

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Congratulations if you were on-board Wyndham Championship winner Joohyung Kim at a Monday best price of 40/1 with Unibet. A stellar performance from a prodigious talent who has now forced himself into the FedEx Cup Playoffs as a result. Up to 21st in the Official World Golf Rankings, he has to be a shoe-in for Trevor Immelman’s International Presidents Cup team at Quail Hollow.

On the PGA Tour we now move into the FedEx Cup Playoffs. The FedEx Cup has grown massively in popularity since its inception in 2007 – the spectacle of watching The Tour’s best golfers fight it out has become a real highlight of the golfing calendar, and that spectacle is now packed into just 3 events across consecutive weeks. The top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings are eligible to play this week’s new-host tournament, the FedEx St Jude Championship in Memphis. The top 70 then move onto the BMW Championship, hosted for the first time at Wilmington Country Club (Delaware), and then the top 30 qualify for the Tour Championship at East Lake. We will know who the 2022 FedEx Cup champion is on the 28th August.

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Before we go into the detail surrounding the FedEx St Jude Championship, we always have new visitors to Golf Betting System. Welcome and let me point you in the direction of our weekly Golf Betting System podcast (published every Tuesday of the golfing calendar), the Steve Bamford Golf Channel on YouTube and our hugely popular, +6,100 strong, private Group on Facebook – you can Join Here.

Course Guide: We have an advantage at the FedEx Cup Playoffs in 2022 as the first leg takes place at TPC Southwind – a course we have seen every year on the PGA Tour, going back to 1989. The FedEx St Jude Classic was played here up to 2018, with the WGC St Jude Invitational taking place here across 2019 (Champion: Brooks Koepka), 2020 (Champion: Justin Thomas) and 2021 (Champion: Abraham Ancer) . A mid-score kind of course, due to its par of 70, its length and small green complexes, it’s not only the course that’s difficult as sweltering temperatures in Memphis, allied to high humidity, traditionally turns this tournament into a bit of a grind.

Bermuda rough at 2.5″ doesn’t help the scoring and Southwind also features 8 par-4s of over 450 yards, plus of course only 2 par-5s to take advantage of. 11 of the 18 holes also feature significant water hazards. Green complexes are small compared to course length and feature Champion Bermudagrass which aren’t to every player’s taste. You can also say the same about the Zoysiagrass fairways which many say promote flyers.

TPC Southwind, Germantown, Memphis, Tennessee: Designer Ron Pritchard 1987 with PGA Tour re-design 2004; Course Type: Course Type: Mid-Score; Par: 70; Length: 7,243 yards; Number of Holes with Water In-play: 11; Fairways: Meyer with Zeon Zoysiagrass; Rough: 419 Bermudagrass 2.5″; Greens: 4,300 sq.ft average featuring Champion Bermudagrass; Course Scoring Average: 2012: 71.24 (+1.24), Difficulty Rank 10 of 49 courses. 2013: 70.76 (+0.76), Difficulty Rank 14 of 43 courses. 2014: 70.72 (+0.72), Rank 12 of 48 courses. 2015: 70.93 (+0.93), Difficulty Rank 9 of 52 courses. 2016: 70.93 (+0.93), Rank 10 of 50 courses. 2017: 70.63 (+0.63), Rank 15 of 50 courses. 2018: 70.52 (+0.52), Rank of 11 of 51 courses. WGC St Jude Invitational: 2019: 69.50 (-0.50), Difficulty Rank 24 of 49 courses; 2020: 69.56 (-0.44), Rank 14 of 41 courses; 2021: 69.05 (-0.95), Rank 32 of 51 courses.

Widths (yards): Below are the fairway widths for TPC Southwind and how they compare to recent courses on Tour:

  • TPC Southwind: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:29; 300:28; 325:31; 350:25.
  • Sedgefield: 250 yards from tee: 29 yards wide; 275:28; 300:26 325:23; 350:22.
  • Detroit Golf Club: 250 yards from tee: 34 yards wide; 275:34; 300:35 325:34; 350:33.
  • TPC Twin Cities: 250 yards from the tee: 38 yards wide; 275:38; 300:31; 325:30; 350:36.
  • TPC Deere Run: 250 yards from tee: 41 yards wide; 275:40; 300:36 325:33; 350:30.
  • TPC River Highlands: 250 yards from the tee: 38 yards wide; 275:36; 300:29; 325:29; 350:28.
  • Muirfield Village: 250 yards from the tee: 34 yards wide; 275:32; 300:28; 325:24; 350:27.
  • Colonial: 250 yards from tee: 27 yards wide; 275:26; 300:27; 325:26; 350:23.
  • Champions Course – Southern Hills: Average 40 yards wide.
  • TPC Potomac: 250 yards from the tee: 32 yards wide; 275:30; 300:27; 325:23; 350:27.
  • Harbour Town: 250 yards from tee: 29 yards wide; 275:26; 300:22; 325:26; 350:22.
  • Oaks Course: 250 yards from tee: 33 yards wide; 275:34; 300:29; 325:27; 350:26.
  • Copperhead: 250 yards from the tee: 24 yards wide; 275:20; 300:21; 325:23 350:19.
  • TPC Sawgrass: 250 yards from the tee: 31 yards wide; 275:32; 300:30; 325:28 350:20.
  • Bay Hill: 250 yards from the tee: 32 yards wide; 275:33; 300:33; 325:39 350:29.
  • PGA National: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:27; 300:25; 325:27 350:25.
  • Riviera: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:27; 300:26; 325:26 350:28.
  • TPC Scottsdale: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:30; 300:28; 325:27; 350:27.
  • Pebble Beach: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:33; 300:29; 325:30 350:26.
  • Torrey Pines South: 250 yards from the tee: 26 yards wide; 275:27; 300:25; 325:24; 350:23.
  • TPC Stadium: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:27; 300:26; 325:26; 350:24.
  • Waialae: 250 yards from the tee: 34 yards wide; 275:32; 300:34; 325:37; 350:34.
  • Plantation Course: 250 yards from the tee: 59 yards wide; 275:61; 300:65; 325:60; 350:62.

Course Overview: TPC Southwind tends to play as a mid-score golf course with winning totals in the low- to mid-teens. Hitting the tight Zoysiagrass fairways on the right side is the real challenge of this set-up. And with the average winner’s rank for driving accuracy over the past 5 years being 20th (across the FedEx St Jude Classic + WGC St Jude Invitational), flagrant missing of fairways here is not tolerated if you are looking for the ultimate winner. With fairway widths averaging 28 yards wide at 300 yards carry, driving targets are fairly tight – especially at the 419 Bermudagrass rough is here is a gnarly 2.5” in length.

On the PGA Tour, Zoysiagrass fairways also feature at East Lake (Tour Championship), plus AT&T Byron Nelson venues TPC Craig Ranch (current) plus with previous host venue Trinity Forest, which was planted from tee to green with Zoysiagrass. These fairways also featured at the 2011 PGA Championship hosted at Atlanta Athletic Club and at Bellerive Country Club which hosted the 2018 PGA Championship. Zoysia isn’t the most popular of fairway grasses with many players who claim the quirky grass promotes flyers.

The key to unlocking Southwind is a mixture of patience, aggression on the right holes and mastering of the Champion Bermudagrass putting surfaces which aren’t for the faint hearted. At 4,300 sq.ft. on average they are also some of the smallest on Tour. So any Greens in Regulation percentage better than 70% tends to be at the top of the charts. It’s all about being aggressive at the right times as purely grinding pars is not enough. Course length at 7,243 yards makes TPC Southwind the second longest regular Par 70 on the PGA Tour, after East Lake.

The small green complexes feature Champion Bermudagrass. On the current PGA schedule the only courses where Champion Bermudagrass greens feature are Sedgefield Country Club, Quail Hollow (since the 2017 PGA Championship) and the Country Club of Jackson. Previous PGA Tour courses with Champion Bermudagrass greens include Trinity Forest (formerly host course of the Byron Nelson Championship) and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail (formerly host course of the Barbasol Championship). The 2011 PGA Championship hosted at Atlanta Athletic Cub and won by Keegan Bradley also featured Champion Bermudagrass putting surfaces.

fedex st jude championship tips

FedEx Cup Event 1 Winners: 2021: Tony Finau (-20); 2020: Dustin Johnson (-30); 2019: Patrick Reed (-16); 2018: Bryson DeChambeau (-18); 2017: Dustin Johnson (-13); 2016: Patrick Reed (-9); 2015: Jason Day (-19); 2014: Hunter Mahan (-14); 2013: Adam Scott (-11); 2012: Nick Watney (-10); 2011: Dustin Johnson (-19); 2010: Matt Kuchar (-12).

OWGR of FedEx Cup Event 1 Winners: 2021: Finau 22; 2020: D Johnson 5; 2019: Reed 24; 2018: DeChambeau 21; 2017: D Johnson 1.

TPC Southwind Lead Score Progression:

  • 2021: Round 1 -8; Round 2 -13; Round 3 -18; Round 4 -16.
  • 2020: Round 1 -8; Round 2 -11; Round 3 -12; Round 4 -13.
  • 2019: Round 1 -8; Round 2 -9; Round 3 -12; Round 4 -16.
  • 2018: Round 1 -5; Round 2 -10; Round 3 -15; Round 4 -21.

Tournament Stats: We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s event that are well worth a look. Naturally they’ll help to shape a view on players who could go well this week: Current Form | Tournament Form | First Round Leader | Combined Stats | SG Stats.

Published Predictor Model: Our published predictor is available here. You can build your own model using the variables listed on the left hand side. Top 10 of my published predictor are Will Zalatoris, Rory McIlroy, Tony Finau, Shane Lowry, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas, Taylor Pendrith, Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm and Russell Henley.

FedEx Cup PlayOff Event 1 Winning Prices: 2021: Finau 60/1; 2020: Dustin Johnson 20/1; 2019: Patrick Reed 55/1; 2018: Bryson DeChambeau 100/1; 2017: Dustin Johnson 14/1; 2016: Reed 50/1; 2015: Day 10/1; 2014: Mahan 50/1; 2013: Scott 16/1; 2012: Watney 70/1; 2011: D Johnson 35/1; 2010: Kuchar 40/1. Past 8 Renewals Average: 45/1; Overall Average: 43/1.

Historical TPC Southwind Weather:

  • 2021: Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high of 89. Wind NW 4-8 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy. High of 89. Wind S 4-8 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy. High of 91. Wind SW 4-8 mph. Sunday: Partly cloudy. High of 93. Wind SW 10-15 mph.
  • 2020: Thurs: Partly sunny with intermittent showers. High of 91. Wind SW 12-16 mph, with gusts to 20 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy. High of 88. Wind SW 12-17 mph, with gusts to 23 mph. Due to expected inclement weather, tee times were moved to 7-9 a.m. CT. Saturday: Cloudy with early morning showers. High of 79. Wind W/NW 10-15 mph. Due to expected inclement weather, tee times were moved to threesomes off of both tees from 10 a.m. – noon CT. Sunday: Partly cloudy. High of 86. Wind WSW 5-10 mph.
  • 2019: Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high of 84. Wind NE 6-12 mph. Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high of 87. Wind SSW 4-8 mph. Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high of 89. Wind SSW 5-10 mph. Sunday: Partly cloudy, with a high of 90. Wind S 5-10 mph.
  • 2018: Thursday: Sunny. High of 91. Wind SE 4-8 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy. High of 93. Wind S 5-10 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy. High of 93. Wind SW 6-12 mph. Sunday: Partly cloudy. High of 93. Wind SW 8-15 mph.
  • 2017: Weather: Thursday: Clear skies in the morning, partly cloudy in the afternoon with a high of 80. Wind NNE 5-10 mph. Friday: Mostly sunny with a high of 84. Wind SSW 3-7 mph. Saturday: Mostly sunny with a high of 88. Wind SSW 8-12 mph with gusts of 15 mph. Sunday: Partly cloudy with a high of 89. Wind S 8-12 with gusts of 15 mph.

Forecast: The latest weather forecast for Germantown, Tennessee, is here.

The FedEx St Jude is always one of the hottest tournaments of the year and 2022 will be no exception. With temperatures between 34 and 35 degrees Celsius across the tournament, expect watered greens – but a firm and fast test from tee-to green. 13mm (0.5 inch) of rain has fallen in August to date, with most of that falling last Monday. There is a 60% chance of rain on Wednesday, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a course with some cut in the fairways on Thursday. Across the tournament forecast wind is sub-10mph, so ultimately expect the standard mid-score winning total again in 2022.

Player Strokes Gained Rankings: These top 25 in the field rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the U.S. Open, which includes both PGA Tour and DP World Tour events. Player rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Top 25 SG Off The Tee: 1) Taylor Pendrith / Scottie Scheffler; 3) Jon Rahm; 4) Matt Fitzpatrick; 5) Rory McIlroy; 6) Brendan Steele; 7) Wyndham Clark; 8) Taylor Moore; 9) Hayden Buckley / Max Homa; 11) Cam Davis; 12) Sungjae Im; 13) Stewart Cink; 14) Corey Conners / Aaron Wise; 16) Xander Schauffele; 17) Brandon Wu; 18) Cameron Young; 19) Anirban Lahiri / Gary Woodland; 21) Joaquin Niemann; 22) Patrick Cantlay / Luke List / Matthew NeSmith; 25) Alex Smalley.
  • Top 25 SG Approach: 1) Xander Schauffele; 2) Tony Finau; 3) Scott Stallings 4) Rory McIlroy; 5) Brendan Steele; 6) Mark Hubbard / Will Zalatoris; 8) Alex Noren / Scott Stallings; 10) Chez Reavie; 11) Cam Davis / Shane Lowry; 13) Emiliano Grillo; 14) Russell Knox / Martin Laird; 16) Taylor Pendrith / J.T. Poston; 18) Kevin Streelman; 19) Collin Morikawa / Harold Varner III; 21) Stephan Jaeger / Joohyung Kim; 23) Russell Henley / Matthias Schwab / Jordan Spieth.
  • Top 25 SG Around The Green: 1) Matt Fitzpatrick; 2) Andrew Putnam; 3) Tommy Fleetwood / Ryan Palmer; 5) Kevin Streelman; 6) Patrick Cantlay; 7) Kevin Kisner; 8) Tony Finau / Aaron Wise; 10) Wyndham Clark; 11) Adam Scott; 12) Max Homa; 13) Martin Laird; 14) Kurt Kitayama / Scott Stallings / Robert Streb; 17) Joohyung Kim / Scott Piercy; 19) Adam Hadwin / Tyrrell Hatton / Shane Lowry; 22) Russell Henley / Sahith Theegala; 24) Stephan Jaeger / Si Woo Kim / Taylor Pendrith.
  • Top 25 SG Tee to Green: 1) Taylor Pendrith; 2) Xander Schauffele; 3) Matt Fitzpatrick; 4) Brendan Steele; 5) Scott Stallings; 6) Scottie Scheffler; 7) Rory McIlroy; 8) Will Zalatoris; 9) Cam Davis / Tony Finau; 11) Patrick Cantlay; 12) Kevin Streelman; 13) Joohyung Kim ; 14) Shane Lowry; 15) Martin Laird; 16) Chez Reavie; 17) David Lipsky; 18) Jon Rahm; 19) Hayden Buckley / Russell Henley / Max Homa; 22) Wyndham Clark / Tommy Fleetwood; 24) Stephan Jaeger / Taylor Moore / Joaquin Niemann / Ryan Palmer / Aaron Wise.
  • Top 25 SG Putting: 1) Patrick Cantlay; 2) Rory McIlroy; 3) Cam Smith / Vincent Whaley; 5) Brendon Todd; 6) Chesson Hadley; 7) Xander Schauffele; 8) J.T. Poston; 9) Sam Burns; 10) Taylor Moore / Adam Svensson; 12) Christiaan Bezuidenhout / Denny McCarthy / Joohyung Kim; 15) Adam Long; 16) Matt Fitzpatrick; 17) Andrew Putnam; 18) Emiliano Grillo / Maverick McNealy; 20) Adam Hadwin; 21) Collin Morikawa / Cam Young; 23) Seamus Power; 24) Callum Tarren; 25) Tommy Fleetwood.
  • Top 25 SG Total: 1) Patrick Cantlay / Xander Schauffele; 3) Rory McIlroy / Taylor Pendrith; 5) Matt Fitzpatrick; 6) Joohyung Kim / Adam Long; 8) Tony Finau; 9) J.T. Poston / Scott Stallings; 11) Taylor Moore; 12) Cam Davis / Scottie Scheffler; 14) Will Zalatoris; 15) Andrew Putnam; 16) Callum Tarren; 17) Cam Smith; 18) Jon Rahm; 19) Mark Hubbard; 20) Martin Laird; 21) Chesson Hadley / Jordan Spieth / Kevin Streelman; 24) Tommy Fleetwood; 25) Wyndham Clark / Max Homa / Billy Horschel.

For a summary of the Strokes Gained Performances from this week’s field here at TPC Southwind since 2016 click here.

Tournament Trends & Key Factors: Analysing the final stats of the winners here at TPC Southwind back to 2017 gives us a little more insight into the requirements for this test:

  • 2021, Abraham Ancer (-16). 296 yards (57th), 67.9% fairways (10th), 70.8% greens in regulation (5th), 31’9″ proximity to hole (27th), 85.7 % scrambling (1st), 1.67 putts per GIR (15th).
  • 2020, Justin Thomas (-13). 296 yards (44th), 69.6% fairways (10th), 70.8% greens in regulation (7th), 25’8″ proximity to hole (1st), 76.2% scrambling (6th), 1.75 putts per GIR (45th).
  • 2019, Brooks Koepka (-16). 309 yards (4th), 66.1% fairways (9th), 69.4% greens in regulation (8th), 30’10” proximity to hole (14th), 90.9% scrambling (1st), 1.62 putts per GIR (7th).
  • 2018, Dustin Johnson (-19). 320 yards (3rd), 53.6% fairways (36th), 68.1% greens in regulation (10th), 26’6″ proximity to hole (3rd), 78.3% scrambling (4th), 1.59 putts per GIR (2nd).
  • 2017, Daniel Berger (-10). 305 yards (14th), 55.4% fairways (36th), 68.1% greens in regulation (10th), proximity to hole 29’0″ (8th), 65.2 % scrambling (38th), 1.69 putts per GIR (21st).

Tournament Skill Averages:

  • Driving Distance: 25th, Driving Accuracy: 20th, Greens in Regulation: 8th, Proximity to Hole: 11th, Scrambling: 10th, Putting Average 18th.

Strokes Gained Tournament Trends:

  • 2021, Abraham Ancer (-16). SG Off the Tee: 16th, SG Approach: 5th, SG Around the Green: 4th, SG Tee to Green: 4th, SG Putting: 10th.
  • 2020, Justin Thomas (-13). SG Off the Tee: 16th, SG Approach: 2nd, SG Around the Green: 4th, SG Tee to Green: 1st, SG Putting: 55th.
  • 2019, Brooks Koepka (-16). SG Off the Tee: 5th, SG Approach: 11th, SG Around the Green: 54th, SG Tee to Green: 6th, SG Putting: 1st.
  • 2018, Dustin Johnson (-19). SG Off the Tee: 4th, SG Approach: 2nd, SG Around the Green: 14th, SG Tee to Green: 1st, SG Putting: 12th.
  • 2017, Daniel Berger (-10). SG Off the Tee: 2nd, SG Approach: 12th, SG Around the Green: 10th, SG Tee to Green: 1st, SG Putting: 44th.

Strokes Gained Tournament Skill Averages:

  • SG Off the Tee: 6th, SG Approach: 6th, SG Around the Green: 17th, SG Tee to Green: 3rd, SG Putting: 24th.

So let’s take a view from players as to how TPC Southwind sets up and what skill sets the course favours:

Abraham Ancer (2021): “Yeah, very solid off the tee and iron play as well, rolled the ball really good. I wasn’t really thinking about that. That’s always my goal, to be bogey-free when I tee it up. Makes me kind of simplify every hole and just get me hitting greens is the biggest goal and then from there I just focus obviously on my putting. Happy that I got a round like that under my belt here. This is a very demanding golf course off the tee and also with iron play. I know it wasn’t playing as tough as it could be just because it was a little softer and not very windy, but still you have to hit your spots, for sure.

Yeah, I don’t mind being aggressive here. The greens are soft enough and it’s not blowing that much that you can attack, which normally I feel like it’s a little bit of more wind and maybe a little bit firmer in a way that you have to maybe stay away from those aggressive lines. Yeah, I like it. I love the golf course, I feel good off the tee and coming into the greens on the second shots, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow and just got to take it deep..”

Justin Thomas (2020): “I find this place very similar to East Lake to where if you drive it well, if you hit the fairways, it’s not a very difficult golf course. You have a pretty good amount of short irons and some wedges to where you can control your distance into the greens. Because it’s so important to be putting from below the hole or on the correct side versus when you get in the rough, you’re going to get a lot of flyers or it’s going to be sitting so bad where you can’t get it to the green and you’re trying to get up and down. It’s a place I think off the tee is extremely important because from there you can manage the course pretty well. when you get out of position, you’re really just trying to minimize your damage and not make a big number.

Yeah, it’s nice. This place reminds me a lot of East Lake where if you hit the fairways, it’s not a very hard golf course, it’s all right in front of you, you can make a lot of birdies, but if you don’t, you’re grinding. Rough isn’t as high here as it usually is and it’s not as firm, but you can still see some of the scores that are being shot, it’s still a tough golf course and you have to have control of your ball and hopefully that will be a good test going into next week for the PGA.

I just felt like I couldn’t get the ball to the hole. These greens are so good and they’re so true that I think they look faster than they are. They’re still fast, but they look lightning. As fast as they are down grain, they’re not very fast into the grain and uphill. So many putts where I was kind of falling in love with the line and they were just kind of coming off low and not as hard as I wanted to hit them.

Brooks Koepka (2019): “There’s a bunch of tough holes here. If you’re going to put it in the rough out here, you’re going to have some problems. Nine’s a difficult hole if you’re not going to put it in the fairway, the way that green’s set. There’s quite a few holes where if you don’t put it in the fairway, you’ve got to carry some water in the front of the green. And the Bermuda rough, it sits down, it could jump 40 yards or it could come out dead and you’re right in the middle of the lake, dropping. It makes it very challenging.

I like the back nine. I think the back nine, it will test you. If your ball-striking’s on, I think you can shoot a low one, I think you can shoot four, five under no problem. If not, if you’re not hitting the fairways, I think you very easily could shoot two over, but that’s the sign of a great golf course. Twelve, tough driving hole, and at the same time it’s just awkward enough. You get the ball below your feet, a little downhill lie to a green. I feel like that green’s always been difficult for me to hit. I don’t know if it is for other guys, but for me that’s always been a difficult one.

Yeah, you’ve just got to hit fairways on this golf course. You put it in the rough and you’re going to have a difficult time. It’s all about positioning yourself off the tee. These greens are so good, anything inside 10 feet you’re expecting to make. You have so many wedges, too, so if you can just drive it in the fairway, you’re going to have a lot of good looks.

Yeah, I loved this golf course the first time I played it. I think it’s been really solid and it’s been a fun track for me to play. These greens are so pure. I love a golf course with good greens, it’s going to challenge you. It really forces you to play position golf off the tee and I like that.”

Dustin Johnson (2018): “Yeah, I really like this golf course, it’s in really good shape. I think it sets up well for me. It’s all about hitting the fairways. You’ve just got to hit it in the fairways and hit it on the correct side of the fairways.  I don’t get to hit a lot of drivers, but that’s okay, the golf course is tough and you’ve got to control your distance coming into the greens and you’ve got to hit quality golf shots if you want to hit a good score out here.

Yeah, when I’m playing well the ball moves left to right all the time, and right now it is and I felt like I’m swinging good so I’ve got a lot of confidence in my swing. ”

Daniel Berger (2017): “This golf course is playing tougher than last year. You just have to hit it in the fairway, otherwise it’s difficult to get it close and as the week goes on, its going to get firmer and faster so it will be even tougher. As a group we made some birdies early, but the momentum fizzled out. That was mainly because we didn’t hit enough fairways on the back-9.” Daniel Berger (2016): “My speed control has been great. The greens feel like I’m just at home and, you know, I love the Bermuda and I don’t even read grain here. I just look at it and see it and it’s just from years and years of putting on it. It’s nice to kind of get two grind-out pars on last two holes. It’s the hardest course I’ve ever played in my life. It’s just extremely long and extremely penalizing. The greens are very slopey. You have 10-footers that break four, five feet. Speed control is going to be huge, and fairways.

Path to Victory: Below are the end of round positions of TPC Southwind winners since 2017:

  • 2021 – Abraham Ancer: Round 1: 13th, Round 2: 2nd, Round 3: 4th.
  • 2020 – Justin Thomas: Round 1: 5th, Round 2: 12th, Round 3: 5th.
  • 2019 – Brooks Koepka: Round 1: 18th, Round 2: 7th, Round 3: 2nd.
  • 2018 – Dustin Johnson: Round 1: 13th, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2017 – Daniel Berger: Round 1: 48th, Round 2: 34th, Round 3: 9th.

Shots From the Lead: Below are the shots from the lead during the tournament of TPC Southwind winners since 2017:

  • 2021 – Abraham Ancer: Round 1: 5 back, Round 2: 2 back, Round 3: 4 back.
  • 2020 – Justin Thomas: Round 1: 4 back, Round 2: 7 back, Round 3: 4 back.
  • 2019 – Brooks Koepka: Round 1: 6 back, Round 2: 4 back, Round 3: 1 back.
  • 2018 – Dustin Johnson: Round 1: 2 back, Round 2: 1 ahead, Round 3: level.
  • 2017 – Daniel Berger: Round 1: 6 back, Round 2: 7 back, Round 3: 3 back.

Incoming form of first FedEx Cup Playoff winners since 2010:

  • Tony Finau: 34th WGC St Jude/28th 3M Open/15th Open/MC Memorial.
  • Dustin Johnson: 2nd PGA/12th St Jude/WD 3M Open/MC Memorial.
  • Patrick Reed: 22nd Wyndham/12th St Jude/10th Open/23rd 3M Open.
  • Bryson DeChambeau: MC PGA/30th Bridgestone/13th European Open/51st Open.
  • Dustin Johnson: 13th PGA/17th Bridgestone/8th Canada/ 54th Open.
  • Patrick Reed: 22nd Wyndham/11th Olympics /11th Travelers/13th PGA.
  • Jason Day: 1st PGA/12th Bridgestone/1st Canada/4th Open.
  • Hunter Mahan: 7th PGA/15th Bridgestone/MC Canada/32nd Open.
  • Adam Scott: 5th PGA/14th Bridgestone/3rd Open/57th Quicken National.
  • Nick Watney: 31st Wyndham/MC PGA/19th Bridgestone/23rd Open.
  • Dustin Johnson: MC PGA/48th Bridgestone/6th Nordea/2nd Open.
  • Matt Kuchar: 10th PGA/9th Bridgestone/21st Greenbrier/4th Canada

First Round Leader Analysis: First round leader(s), their wave and winning score since 2010. Full First Round Leader stats are here.

  • 2021 – Rahm/Thomas – Both PM -8/63 – 22/1 & 45/1.
  • 2020 – Davis/English/Henley/Streelman – 1AM/3PM -8/62 – 100/1, /80/1, 80/1, 100/1.
  • 2019 – Merritt – AM -9/62 – 125/1.
  • 2018 – Lovemark/O’Hair/V Taylor/Tway – 3AM/1PM -5/66 – 125/1, 200/1, 175/1, 125/1.
  • 2017 – Henley – AM -6/64 – 125/1.
  • 2016 – Laird/Reed – Both AM -5/66.
  • 2015 – Finau/Levin/Villegas/Watson – 3AM/1PM -5/65.
  • 2014 – Van Pelt – PM -6/65.
  • 2013 – Stadler – AM -7/64.
  • 2012 – Harrington – AM -7/64.
  • 2011 – Kuchar – PM -8/63.
  • 2010 – Taylor/Woods – Both AM -6/65.

For the record, here’s the breakdown of Bermudagrass PGA Tour victors in the field since 2008:

  • 6 – Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas.
  • 5 – Jordan Spieth.
  • 4 – Jason Day, Billy Horschel, Jordan Spieth.
  • 3 –  Sam Burns, Si Woo Kim, Kevin Kisner, Matt Kuchar, Ryan Palmer, Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler, Cameron Smith.
  • 2 –  Daniel Berger, Patrick Cantlay, Rickie Fowler, Russell Henley, Chris Kirk, Marc Leishman, Scott Piercy, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Webb Simpson, Robert Streb.
  • 1 – Keegan Bradley, Stewart Cink, Corey Conners, Tyler Duncan, Adam Hadwin, James Hahn, Tyrrell Hatton, Lucas Herbert, Max Homa, Mackenzie Hughes, Sungjae Im, Joohyung Kim, Patton Kizzire, Martin Laird, Adam Long, Peter Malnati, Hideki Matsuyama, Collin Morikawa, Keith Mitchell, Sebastian Munoz, C.T. Pan, J.T Poston, J.J. Spaun, Scott Stallings, Sepp Straka,  Kevin Streelman, Nick Taylor, Michael Thompson, Brendon Todd, Jhonattan Vegas, Aaron Wise, Gary Woodland.

The Presidents Cup will have an impact across both the FedEx St Jude Championship and the BMW Championship next week. Automatic qualification is available into both the International and United States teams, with 6 automatic spots for Team USA and 8 automatic spots for the Internationals. I won’t go into the points systems, but the milestones for selection are worth noting. Automatic selection spots for both teams will complete after the BMW Championship, with Davis Love III and Trevor Immelman announcing their captain picks on Monday 29th August, after the Tour Championship.

It’s noticeable that Tony Finau (made Ryder Cup as a Captain’s Pick), Patrick Reed (made Presidents Cup as a Captain’s Pick), Abraham Ancer (made Presidents Cup as an automatic selection, after finishing runner-up at Northern Trust), Bryson DeChambeau (made Ryder Cup as a Captain’s Pick), Tony Finau (made Ryder Cup as a Captain’s Pick), Jhonattan Vegas (entered tournament at position 9 in President’s Cup rankings), Patrick Reed (made Ryder Cup Captain’s Pick), Hunter Mahan (made Ryder Cup Captain’s Pick), Graham Delaet (made President’s Cup), Nick Watney (failed) and Brandt Snedeker (made Ryder Cup Captain’s Pick) across the past 10 opening FedEx Cup Playoff events (excepting 2020 for obvious reasons) all produced late charges to make their respective Ryder Cup / Presidents Cup teams.

In terms of other factors to look out for, the initial FedEx Cup Playoff tournament since the FedEx Cup Playoffs have only encompassed 3 legs, has been won by players ranked 50th (2019), 15th (2020) and 23rd (2021) going into the tournament. These events are big tournaments to win and all previous Barclays/Northern Trust winners in the Playoff era have been PGA Tour event winners.

My selections are as follows:

Will Zalatoris 2pts EW 28/1 (8EW, 1/5*) with bet365

Will Zalatoris ticks plenty of boxes for me this week. On a TPC Southwind course with tiny green complexes, multiple water hazards, and jumpy 419 Bermudagrass rough, this set-up has always demanded quality ball-striking, more specifically quality iron play. “Willy Z” therefore jumps off the page.

Season-long PGA Tour numbers of 9th for Greens in Regulation and 29th for Ball Striking, plus Strokes Gained ranks of 9th for Off the Tee, 1st for Approach and 2nd for Tee to Green (behind only Matt Fitzpatrick), scream Zalatoris, and he’s also been busy on the Tour post-Open Championship. 20th at the Rocket Mortgage and 21st at the Wyndham came on tracks where Strokes Gained Putting is mightily important. The same can’t be said for Southwind, where the last 5 winners have averaged 24th for Strokes Gained Putting when victorious – for the record they averaged 6th for Approach and 3rd for Tee to Green.

2nd at the Farmers Insurance Open, PGA Championship and U.S. Open so far in 2022, Will is undoubtedly due and it’s plainly obvious that tougher tee-to-green tests are where the Dallas, Texas resident comes to the party. A Wake Forest University graduate, Zalatoris is also very comfortable in these geographic climes and to this point he’s actually been a positive putter on Champion Bermudagrass greens.

8th here at the WGC 12 months ago and with new caddy Joel Stock on the bag, I’m expecting big things from Zalatoris this week.

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Cameron Young 2pts EW 30/1 (8EW, 1/5*) with bet365

Call it a FOMO bet if you will, but I would wake up in a cold sweat come Friday or Saturday night knowing that I hadn’t backed Cameron Young for this at 30/1.

2nd at the Open Championship & 2nd at the Rocket Mortgage Classic when we were on-board at 20/1. Yes this is a class-up from the Rocket Mortgage Classic, but this is a guy who’s finished 3rd and 2nd across 2 of his last 3 Major appearances. He also finished 2nd at Tiger Woods’ Genesis Invitational in this year’s toughest PGA Tour domestic field.

4th, 10th and 2nd for Off the Tee, Approach and Tee to Green at St Andrews, the New York State World Number 17, also ranked 4th for Tee to Green at Detroit Golf Club a fortnight ago. For lovers of traditional stats, that translated to 17th for Greens in Regulation, 3rd for Total Driving and 6th for Ball-Striking.

3rd at Harbour Town on Bermuda Poa Trivialis greens in April, fascinatingly we first noted Young on the PGA Tour what seems an age ago last autumn, where the Tour rookie finished 2nd at the Sanderson Farms Championship. Played on 419 Bermudagrass fairways with a Bermuda/Zoysiagrass rough mix, the green complexes at the Country Club of Jackson also feature Champion Bermudagrass. That’s logical as Jackson is in the neighbouring state of Mississippi and backing Cameron this week is also logical as he keeps his “pedal to the metal” to make sure he makes Davis Love III’s Presidents Cup team.

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Collin Morikawa 1.5pts EW 33/1 (8EW, 1/5*) with bet365

TPC Southwind should also theoretically set up very nicely for Collin Morikawa who goes into the FedEx Cup Playoffs in a different space to what he’s been used to.

This will be his 4th run at the Playoffs, and for the first time ever he enters winless in a season, after 2019 – where he’d won the Barracuda, 2020 – where he’d won the Workday Charity Open & PGA Championship, and 2021 where he’d won the WGC Workday Championship & Open Championship.

Down in 22nd place in the FedEx Cup, you can guarantee that the Playoffs will now be an immediate focus, especially as the 25 year-old will want to show form – and qualifying automatically – for Davis Love III’s President’s Cup squad.

Collin has raised his game in 2022 for the bigger events, with 2nd at the Genesis Invitational, 5th at the Masters and 5th when he last played in the United States, at the Brookline-hosted U.S. Open. Cast your mind back and Morikawa was leading after 36 holes, at an outing where he ultimately ranked 13th for Approach, 11th for Tee to Green and 14th for Putting from a Strokes Gained perspective. Hardly a slump. plus I can easily write off a couple of bad weeks when defending the Claret Jug in Scotland.

A winner on Bermudagrass in Florida at the Concession (2021 WGC Workday Championship) and in Dubai at the Earth Course (2021 DP World Tour Championship), Collin’s straight driving allied to amazing iron-play sets-up perfectly for a challenge this week.

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Max Homa 1pt EW 55/1 (8EW, 1/5*) with bet365

A victory in a FedEx Cup Playoff event would be a logical upgrade victory for Max Homa – a player who now features at an all-time high in the Official World Golf Rankings. And let’s not forget that Homa already has a habit of winning big tournaments on top-level golf courses. The 2019 Wells Fargo Championship came at Quail Hollow. The 2021 Genesis Invitational came at Riviera Country Club. The 2022 Wells Fargo came at TPC Potomac. Tough tests, proper golf courses. Throw in a 6th (2021) and 5th (2022) at the Memorial Tournament, which is another Invitational-status event played at Muirfield Village, and Homa is undoubtedly a candidate for future big wins and appearances.

At 9th in the Team USA President’s Cup standings, a big week in Memphis will see him represent his country again, 9 years after playing the 2013 Walker Cup at National Golf Links of America in a team which featured Justin Thomas, as well as Michael Kim and Patrick Rodgers. Indeed Homa’s rise from a low point of 1282nd in the OWGR as recently as 2018 is one hell of a story, with another chapter hopefully set to close very soon.

In Homa, we have a player whose Quail Hollow victory came on Champion Bermudagrass greens and he’s fired opening round 66s here at TPC Southwind at both the 2020 and 2021 WGCs.

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Tyrrell Hatton 1pt EW 55/1 (8EW, 1/5*) with bet365

Tyrrell Hatton is on the outside looking in at the Tour Championship.

Let’s be frank, results-wise he’s not had a great season. 2nd at the Arnold Palmer Invitational has been his standout finish in the United States, backed up by 13th at The Players and 13th at the PGA Championship. Prior to the recent Scottish Open, he ranked as lowly as 61st in the FedEx Cup standings, but of late we have seen massive improvement.

24th at The Renaissance Club and 11th at St Andrews, a return to the United States last week saw Tyrrell finish 8th with a Sunday 64, generating yet more momentum. 6th for Strokes Gained Approach and 8th for Tee to Green, Hatton is one to follow when both his irons and confidence peak, plus he’s the sort to string top results together plus mix it at the very highest levels. And at 49th in the FedEx Cup standings, a second-ever appearance at the Tour Championship, where he shot the 5th best 72-hole total, coming 7th overall in 2020, requires a big finish either here in Memphis or next week at Wilmington in Delaware.

67-68-65 here 12 months ago, when arriving straight off a Missed Cut at the Sandwich-hosted Open Championship, saw the World Number 26 in 11th spot heading into Sunday, before a Sunday 73 demoted him to 17th. A 2-time Bermudagrass green career winner at Bay Hill (2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational) and Abu Dhabi GC (2021 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship), Hatton plays well enough on Zoysiagrass and also has 3 top-7 finishes on Champion Bermudagrass across Congaree (2021), East Lake (2020) and last week at Sedgefield.

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Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 17:10BST 8.8.22 but are naturally subject to fluctuation.