There’s only a short turnaround following last week’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush, with the WGC-Fedex St Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind in Tennessee beginning on Thursday.
The defending champion is Justin Thomas, having won last year’s farewell edition at Akron’s Firestone Country Club (this event was previously the WGC Bridgestone held at Firestone in Akron), but it’s Dustin Johnson who has the trophy from last year’s finale of the regular PGA TOUR stop in Memphis, when he won by six strokes.
A top-quality field will be vying for the title, with the vast majority of those taking part having also been in action in Northern Ireland. No fewer than 22 of the world’s top 25 players having travelled to Memphis, including Brooks Koepka, Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, Thomas and Tommy Fleetwood.
Another sign of the quality of the assembled field is that the only notable absentees among the golfing elite are Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler, Francesco Molinari, Lee Westwood and Bernd Weisberger.
Open champion Shane Lowry is also destined to feature, although one has to question whether he will, quite understandably, be in the right frame of mind to challenge after his heroics in County Antrim.
The weather in Memphis is also likely to contrast somewhat with that at Portrush, with the forecast being for temperatures looking to hold in the mid-to-upper 80s all week and sunny skies. It’s also worth noting that since a 2004 course overhaul, more than 5,000 balls have found the water!
Fancy A Bet? Our Fancies…
From a golf betting perspective, with so many top names in attendance, this could be a tournament where it pays to trade in and out of the market as players make their move. A good Betting Exchange Guide can help novices understand some of the benefits of using the online betting exchanges as opposed to betting with a regular bookmaker.
Course knowledge could be a key factor towards finding a winner here. Although he failed to finish in the top-50 at Portrush on Sunday and his current form is largely disappointing, Dustin Johnson(10/1) is a two-time winner at TPC Southwind (adding last year’s crown to the one he won in 2012). It suggests that the 35-year-old from South Carolina could be the man to beat this week.
There are others who can point to previous success at Southwind too, with Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Billy Horschel and Chez Reavie (66/1 with SkyBet) all having decent records on the course. Reavie in particular could be a good each-way golf bet option for this event, having tied for third at the US Open and won the TPC River Highlands last month.