The PGA Tour is in Memphis, Tennessee this week for the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Lee Westwood defends the title around TPC Southwind as the top players complete their final preparations for next week’s US Open.
Southwind is a tight and testing layout 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 should provide the ideal training ground for the year’s second Major at Congressional.
A number of European stars including Westwood, Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia are on the start list as they look towards the US Open.
The weather forecast for the week is for some extremely hot and humid conditions with temperatures into the high 90s. There’s also the risk of thunderstorms so don’t be surprised if there are delays to the play during the week. The organisers and players will be hoping these aren’t too extensive as the top boys will be looking to head to Congressional on Monday.
Last season in this event, Lee Westwood took full advantage of a final hole meltdown by Robert Garrigus to claim his second PGA Tour title. The American took a three-shot lead to the 72nd hole but stumbled to a triple bogey then bogeyed the first playoff hole. The tournament then came down to a battle between Westwood and Robert Karlsson of Sweden. The Englishman eventually triumphed with a birdie at the fourth extra hole.
This tournament began life as the Memphis Invitational in 1945 and since then has produced some notable winners including Tommy Bolt, Lee Trevino, Gary Player, Tom Kite, Fred Couples, Greg Norman and Nick Price.
Venue: TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tennessee
Date: Jun 9-12
Course stats: par 70, 7,244 yards
Purse: $5,600,000 Winner: $1,008,000
Defending Champion: Lee Westwood (-11)
Thursday 9 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 8pm
Friday 10 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
Saturday 11 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 9pm
Sunday 12 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 8pm
Lee Westwood – It’s hard to look past the defending champion. In his last start at Wentworth he narrowly lost a playoff to Luke Donald and he has two further recent victories to his credit.
David Toms – The veteran has been on superb form of late – losing a playoff at The Players then taking victory at Colonial. He’s twice a winner here to boot, he took back-to-back titles in 2003/2004.
Brandt Snedeker – He’s produced five top-10 finishes so far this season on the PGA Tour including a victory at The Heritage. He’s currently ranked second on the circuit for putting and his prowess with the flat stick should put him in good stead on Southwind’s difficult greens.
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.
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