The PGA Tour is in Memphis, Tennessee this week for the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Ben Crane defends the title around TPC Southwind as the top players complete their final preparations for next week’s U.S. Open.

Lowdown:
The PGA Tour is in Memphis, Tennessee this week for the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Ben Crane defends the title around TPC Southwind as the top players complete their final preparations for next week’s U.S. Open.

This tournament began life as the Memphis Invitational in 1945 and since then has witnessed some notable winners including Tommy Bolt, Lee Trevino, Gary Player, Tom Kite, Fred Couples, Greg Norman and Nick Price.

Last year Ben Crane came through a marathon final day to win. Thunderstorms and strong wind disrupted play on each of the first three days so Crane had to play 30 holes on Sunday. In the end he finished one shot better than Troy Merritt.

The course at Southwind is tight and testing where both fairways and greens are notoriously tricky to find. It consistently ranks as one of the toughest courses visited by the PGA Tour. As such, it makes ideal training ground for the year’s second Major and that’s why so many top players will tee it up at Southwind this week.

A number of European players are on the start sheet this week, they include: Jamie Donaldson, Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald, Russell Knox and Padraig Harrington.

Phil Mickelson will tee it up at Southwind as he builds towards next week’s U.S. Open. Lefty is looking to complete the career Grand Slam with a win at Chambers Bay.

Playing to an average of almost a full shot over par last year, TPC Southwind was the hardest par 70 layout visited by the PGA Tour outside of the Major championships.

The weather looks being unsettled with rain and storms a distinct possibility. That might mean the greens are softer and a little easier.

Venue: TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tennessee
Date: Jun 11-14
Course stats: par 70, 7,239 yards
Purse: $6,000,000 Winner: $1,080,000
Defending Champion: Ben Crane (-10)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 11 – Sky Sports 4 from 9pm
Friday 12 – Sky Sports 4 from 9pm
Saturday 13 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm
Sunday 14 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm

Player watch:
Billy Horschel – He’s on a good run at the moment with a tie for 13th at The Players then a tie for 11th last week in the Memorial. He was tied sixth in this event last year.

Jason Bohn – Another man who enjoys this course, he’s had top-25 finishes here in the last two years. He’s posted four top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour so far this season.

Troy Merritt – His form has been up and down in 2015, third in the RBC Heritage and sixth in the Valspar Championship, but eight missed cuts. He was, however, second in this event last year and that could just inspire him to a great result this week.

Key hole: 16th. At 530 yards it’s an eminently reachable par five. The approach shot must be played uphill to a small, well-bunkered green. Realistically, anything worse than birdie here will feel like a dropped shot.