FedEx St. Jude Classic
When: June 9th - 12th
Where: TPC Southwind
2015 Winner: Fabian Gonzalez (-13)
The format of this will go: I will select golfers based on the Yahoo format. I will select one A golfer, 2 B golfers and 1 C golfer that I think will do well as well as one dark horse pick, this should space out the selections and provide a vast field to select from for anyone who is in a format where you are limited to 10 starts per year.
TPC Southwind - Designed in 1988 by Ron Prichard, this Memphis course is one of the more difficult on the PGA Tour utilizing Bermuda grass on the greens nad rough and Zoysia on the tees and fairways. Ron prides himself on the balance of old and new so while he incorporates St. Andrew into his courses he pulls homage to more contemporary holes like hole 11 which is a smaller version of the famous hole 17 at TPC Sawgrass. Given this, it's important that golfers be versatile to all sorts of walks at this course.
Phil Mickelson - Dustin would be another great pick (see last week's article on his success this season http://www.faketeams.com/2016/6/1/11827792/the-memorial-tournament-expert-picks) but given the tricky nature of this course it seems fitting to go with a the swiss army knife. He's not having the best season, after a strong start he missed consecutive cuts and then 3 out of 4. The OTHER way of looking at it is he's finished in the top 20 in 2 of his last 3 tournaments. What is more important to me is his comfort and success at TPC Southwind, he finished 2015 (3rd), 2014 (11th) and 2013 (2nd).
Chad Campbell - He hit a rough patch to start the season (Missed the Cut in 6 out of 9 Tournaments) but is hitting very well now with back to back top 15 finishes. He finished 8th here last year and 46th the year before. He's a calculated player hitting strategic and accurate shots but he doesn't yield a ton of power in those shots. If he falters here, it will likely be his putting that does him in.
Brooks Koepka - He has danced with the top group a few times this year. He had a 3rd place3 finish at Hyundai Tournament, 8th at AT&T Pebble Beach, 5th at Dell Match play and most recently an AT&T Byron Nelson. He took a week off to recoup and challenge a tournament where he finished 3rd last year and 19th the year before. His game is strong all around right now. He's drive is among the best on tour, he's getting to the greens quickly and is above average in putting. He's a favorite for a top ten finish this weekend.
Ben Crane - Never missed a cut here. He finished 2015 (37th), 2014 (1st) and 2013 (18th). Has back to back top 30 finishes at AT&T Byron Nelson and Dean and Deluca Invitational. He's not driving or approaching very well right now but his putting is excellent.
Wesley Bryan - I'm going out on a big limb this week with my sleeper pick. Part of this pick is the entertainment value given his trick shots but a large part is curiosity. He played at Univ. of South Carolina so he's very familiar with the Bermuda grass, he crushed two web.com tournaments earlier this year going 14 and 19 under. His raw talent is undeniable, the "trick" here will lie in his ability to stay composed on the big stage.
Last tournament results - The Memorial Tournament (120 total) - Picks: D. Johnson, R McIlroy, Matsuyama, Kuchar and Reifer
A: 3rd place
B: 105th place; 4th place
C: 4th place
Dark Horse: 20th place
YTD Avg: (Average field of 130 people)
A: 36th place
B: 38th place
C: 55th place
Dark Horse: 46th place
Fun factoid about this tournament: in 1977 President Gerald Ford made a hole-in-one during the celebrity pro-am. He was playing alongside Thomas and Ben Crenshaw.