Previews and pre-event analysis from Golf Betting System's PGA Tour and European Tour coverage
To read Steve Bamford's Fed-Ex St Jude Classic Tips for 2014 click here. Follow Steve on twitter: @bamfordgolf
The FedEx St Jude Classic is the traditional US Open 'warm up' event, which is played in sweltering conditions at the challenging TPC Southwind in Memphis. This tournament used to struggle when it came to depth of field, but playing the week before a Major Championship is now becoming popular with a number of elite players headed by Phil Mickelson keen to sharpen their skills. TPC Southwind is known as being a particularly technical Par 70 set-up, with gnarly Bermudagrass rough, making for a US Open type test. Read Steve Bamford's FedEx St Jude Tips for 2014 click here
Tournament Facts & Scheduling
The Memphis, Tennessee, PGA Tour stop-off has been the US Open curtain-raiser since 2008. Looking at winners since then, Dustin Johnson (2012), Lee Westwood (2010) and Justin Leonard (2008) were all exempt into the US Open before arriving in Memphis and all took the opportunity to grab a coveted PGA Tour win at TPC Southwind. That leaves Brian Gay, Harrison Frazar, John Merrick and Harris English, all of whom qualified for the US Open by winning here. Merrick and English were also maiden PGA Tour winners. The punting puzzle at the St Jude Classic is clearly not straight forward to fathom.
FedEx St Jude Classic Course Details
TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tennessee. Designer: Prichard 1987; PGA Tour redesign 2004 Course Type: Technical Par: 70 Length: 7,239 yards Water Hazards: 10 Bunkers: 94 Fairways: Zoysiagrass Rough: Bermudagrass 2.5" Greens: 5,420 sq.ft average featuring Champion Bermudagrass Stimpmeter: 12ft Scoring Avg 2012: 71.24 Ranked 10 of 49 courses for difficulty on the 2012 PGA Tour 2013: 70.76 Ranked 14 of 43 courses in 2013 for difficulty.
Previous Champions 2013: Harris English; 2012: Dustin Johnson; 2011: Steve Stricker; 2010: Justin Rose 2009: Tiger Woods; 2008: Kenny Perry; 2007: K.J. Choi. Winners Scores - Post 2009 2013: -12/268; 2012: -9/271; 2011: -13/267; 2010: -10/270; 2009: -18/262.
Winners Prices 2013: English - 66/1 2012: Johnson - 20/1 2011: Frazar - 275/1 2010: Westwood - 12/1 2009: Gay - 40/1
Pre-Tournament Key Summary
The FedEx St Jude Classic hosted at TPC Southwind is a tournament for players who love technical golf. This is certainly no birdie festival, like the Zurich Classic of New Orleans or the Humana Challenge. This Par 70 is long even by modern standards and the course features plenty of water, almost 100 bunkers and lightning fast Champion Bermudagrass greens which are grainy and not to everyone's tastes. Add in temperatures that can reach 30 degrees centigrade and intense levels of Tennessee humidity and the St Jude Classic isn't for the faint hearted.
In terms of winners, elite players who are really motivated to get a victory after a period of 'drought' isn't a bad angle to take. Lee Westwood's win in 2010; which was handed to him by the final hole capitulation of Robert Garrigus; was only his second victory on the PGA Tour, 12 years after his first. Dustin Johnson came to TPC Southwind in 2012 simply wanting to play well after 3 months off through injury had wrecked his early season campaign. With no course experience he went on to claim his 6th PGA Tour title and his first on Bermuda greens.
Apart from motivated elite players, look for technical golf course positive players who play well on Bermuda. Harris English certainly fitted the bill when taking his first PGA Tour victory here in 2013 at a rather tasty 66/1.
Below we track the results of Golf Betting System PGA Tour tipster Steve Bamford who has been producing weekly tips since 2009. You can also follow him on Twitter @bamfordgolf.