The golf season’s Major tournaments may be over but there is still plenty of top golf action to come, starting with this week’s main PGA Tour event, the WGC Fed Ex St Jude.
Higher Profile Event
The Fed Ex St Jude Classic has a long history, dating back to 1965, but this season it has effectively been merged with the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, to become the season’s third WGC event, and giving it a much higher profile. The venue, however, remains unchanged. TPC Southwind has hosted the last 30 St Jude Classics, and will do so again this year. It’s a tough 7,200-yard, par 70 course with small greens and plentiful water hazards that will challenge most players on the Tour.
Redemption for McIlroy
Rory McIlroy shares the lead in the betting for this event and can generally be backed at 10/1 with most bookmakers. The key question for McIlroy backers is whether he has fully recovered from the disappointment of his flop at the Open last week. Still, they will draw encouragement from his rally on Friday after a poor first day, and he has hints of good form at this course. He broke the top thirty in 2010 and finished seventh in 2012 after leading at the halfway stage.
Johnson Aiming to Defend Title
The 2018 St Jude Classic winner, Dustin Johnson, shares favouritism and a price of 10/1 with McIlroy, but if he is to justify those odds, he needs to rediscover some form, having finished outside the top twenty in his last three events. On the plus side, Johnson has a habit, both of doing well in WGC events and in recording multiple successes in the same event, so the big-hitting US star is sure to have his share of backers this weekend.
Outside the top two, Brooks Koepka (11/1) always has to enter calculations, although he tends to save his best for the Majors, while Justin Thomas (14/1) could be another interesting contender who should be full of confidence after exceeding expectations at the Scottish Open and the Open Championship. Jon Rahm (12/1) has impressive form figures of 3-1-11 and should enjoy the course, while Patrick Cantlay (20/1) is also likely to be suited by the Southwind layout.