Tour Golf Predictions
Formerly the Northern Trust, this event has been relocated to TPC Southwind in Memphis, TN and renamed the FedEx St Jude Championship. TPC Southwind is a par 70 that will play roughly 7,243 yards featuring Bermuda greens and Zoysia fairways. This course hosted the FedEx St Jude Classic up until 2018 when it switched to the WGC- Fed Ex St Jude Invitational. This year when the WGC Invitational was discontinued, they relocated the first FedEx Cup event to this course. So, we have plenty of course history to go off which should give us a pretty good idea what to look for. The field consists of the top 125 players in the FedEx Cup Standings and the top 70 after this week will qualify for the BMW Championship. FYI Tommy Fleetwood will not be playing.
First off let’s talk a little bit about the course layout. Between the bunkers and water hazards there is a lot of opportunities to get into trouble. Historically this course does not play like a shootout course which means it won’t be as easy to make up for mistakes with birdies. The way to attack this course is to hit your fairways and greens and not be overly aggressive on certain holes. With all the trouble in play, Bogey avoidance is a stat I’ll be including in my model. I’ll also be factoring in sand saves because many of these greens are guarded by bunkers.
Driving accuracy and Greens in Regulation % are both well below tour average here. The fairways are not very wide, and this is one of the more penalizing courses when missing the fairway according to datagolf. That tells me driving accuracy (fairways gained) is going to be an important stat to look at as well as Greens in Regulation gained. We want accurate drivers who can hit a lot of greens. These aren’t very difficult green complexes, so birdie putts mean a little bit more here. That being said, guys will miss greens and so scrambling and short game will definitely come into play.
Now let’s talk about the stats that reign supreme here, Strokes Gained: Approach and Ball Striking. We’ve seen guys win and place high here without putting well, but you usually can’t drive or putt yourself into contention here. For the most part you must have a strong approach game to contend. The 2 approach distances we’ll see a lot of are 150-175 and 175-200 yards. Almost 50% of the approach shots will come in from these ranges. Putting won’t be weighted very heavily for me, but I do want guys who putt well on Bermuda because they can really take advantage of these fairly easy green complexes.
For a target player profile, we can look to one of the guys who’s had a ton of success here over the years, Daniel Berger. Accurate driver, great ball-striker, phenomenal approach player, and very good bogey avoidance.
SG: Approach w/focus on 150-175 and 175-200 yards
Par 4 scoring 450-500 yards
Greens in Regulation Gained
Rory McIlroy @9/1
Tony Finau @22/1
Sam Burns @33/1
Most Betting firms paying 8+ places so back e/w.
Image Credit: golf.com