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2017 FedEx St. Jude Classic - Predictions

Who will win the 2017 FedEx St. Jude Classic? Our research staff provides previews and predictions. The 2017 FedEx St. Jude Classic is scheduled for June 8-11 at the TPC Southwind.

🚩Announcement

We are holding a small prediction contest for the upcoming U.S. Open at Erin Hills. One winner will receive a $20 Amazon Gift Card (by email). See the Sports Bulletin for more information and the entry form.

⛳Preview

The Favorites 

Rickie Fowler 
Best Result: T13 (2014)
SG Putting: 6th
Outlook: Fowler is playing as well as we have ever seen him play. His statistics are especially impressive. The 28-year-old ranks 1st in SG Total, 5th in SG Approach and 6th in SG Putting. He already won a title this year and has been close to winning on numerous other occasions. Although he probably has one eye set on next week's U.S. Open, Fowler is a player who likes to build momentum before a major. What a better way to do that than to win here in Memphis? We expect him to perform decently this week.

Phil Mickelson  
Best Result: 2nd (2013, 2016)
SG Putting: 39th
Outlook: Phil's withdrawal from next week's U.S. Open due to his daughter's graduation certainly changes the equation this week. Big Lefty will be trying to break his title drought instead of treating it simply as a warm-up to the U.S. Open. Even though Mickelson has never won in Memphis, he does have several close calls mainly in the last four years where he finished T2, T11, T3 and T2. He will look to finish one place higher than last year's.

The Contenders 

Daniel Berger 
Best Result: Win (2016)
SG Putting: 25th
Outlook: Berger's game is a perfect fit for this course. He scrambles exceptionally and putts brilliantly -- the two ingredients needed to perform well at TPC Southwind. It was not a surprise that he won on his tournament debut. By all measures, he should contend again this year. The defending champion's season has been a mixed bag. He has some excellent performances, but also has a number of missed cuts. For someone who is not known for length off the tee, this is not unusual as courses on the PGA Tour tend to favor bombers like Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm.

Francesco Molinari 
Best Result: T34 (2016)
SG Putting: 109th
Outlook: For the Italian to win again on the PGA Tour, it might have to happen this year. Molinari is playing the best golf of his career -- even better than when he surprised the golfing world by winning the WGC HSBC Champions in 2010. In his 12 worldwide starts this year, he finished in the top 25 nine times. As recent as two weeks ago, he nearly won the European Tour's flagship event. There is no better time for him to win than now. Although his putting woes are well-documented, the problems may be a bit exaggerated due to the fact he always hits a lot of greens. When you have a lot of opportunities to putt, your stats usually suffer.

Brooks Koepka 
Best Result: T2 (2016)
SG Putting: 33rd
Outlook: Koepka's tremendous record at the TPC Southwind defies the archetypal player who usually does well here. He is neither a scrambling master nor a putting genius. Yet, his three career starts at the St. Jude Classic ended in T19, T3 and T2. There must something in the course layout that really fits his eyes. Koepka is getting more comfortable here every year. The American star is overdue for another victory and it could very well happen here.

Adam Scott 
Best Result: 7th (2007)
SG Putting: 34th
Outlook: The former Masters champion is one of the players most affected by the anchored putter ban. His decision in 2011 to switch to the long putter revitalized his sagging career. He contended in many majors with that putter and eventually won a Masters. Since the ban came into effect, his career has somewhat returning to the pre-2011 era. His putting stats are actually slightly better, but his ability to make clutch putts is diminishing. The difference between a putt in round 1 and in round 4 is pretty significant. Maybe he just needs a longer adjustment period.

Ian Poulter
Best Result: T6 (2014)
SG Putting: 161st
Outlook: Putting is the most important metric on this course. The most solid putter during the St. Jude Classic tends to go on and win the title. Poulter has been one of the best putters for a long time. He currently ranks 161st on tour in SG Putting, but this speaks more to his overall struggles in the past two years rather than a lack of putting ability. He found his touch again in the last couple of starts, punctuated by a runner-up finish at Sawgrass and a T11 at the Heritage. His best finish at TPC Southwind was a T6 in 2014.

Dark Horses 

Harris English
Best Result: Win (2013)
SG Putting: 42nd
Outlook: It has been a tough season for the former St. Jude Classic champion. The 27-year-old has already missed nine cuts and we are still in June. However, he is returning to a course where he has enjoyed success. English won here in 2013 and has missed only one cut in a half dozen starts. Playing on a familiar course has a way of revitalizing a player and this could be the case with English.

Michael Thompson
Best Result: T3 (2015)
SG Putting: 2nd
Outlook: We are throwing his name in the hat for the simple fact he is one of the better putters on tour. Thompson is second in SG Putting but is near bottom of every other statistical category. It is strange to say but he will need improve on every aspect of his game (except putting) to contend. This is the exact opposite of the dilemma faced by the other players on tour. Thompson does have a PGA Tour win and his best finish at the TPC Southwind is a T3. But just like his career to this point, he missed the cut on his other starts here.

🏆Predictions

Winner: Phil Mickelson. The TPC Southwind is the perfect course for Mickelson to end his title drought. Even though Big Lefty has never won in Memphis, he does have several close calls mainly in the last four years where he finished T2, T11, T3 and T2. His withdrawal from the U.S. Open should relieve him of the pressure to complete the career grand slam and allows him to focus solely on winning this week.

Top 10 Finish: Daniel Berger. The defending champion's game is an excellent fit for this course. He scrambles well and putts brilliantly -- the two ingredients needed to perform well at TPC Southwind. It was not a surprise that he won this tournament on his course debut. Berger should be able to contend regularly here for years to come.

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