The PGA Tour is in Memphis, Tennessee this week for the St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind. Being a week before the US Open Championship, this tournament attracts a strong field, including the sponsor’s exemption Lee Westwood.
The number four ranked player in the world is not a PGA Tour member and has decided that, a week prior to the US Open, a showing at the St Jude Classic will be useful preparation for the second Major of the year at Pebble Beach.
Sixteen-year-old Jordan Speith will be making a return to the PGA Tour under a sponsor’s invite after his fine performance at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. Speith, who currently holds the American Junior Golf Association’s number one ranking, managed to receive one of the sponsor’s eight exemption spots, after he became the sixth youngest player to make a PGA Tour cut.
The 7,244-yard par 70, designed by Ron Prichard and PGA Tour players Fuzzy Zoeller and Hubert Green, will be a tough test for the players having been ranked among the top ten toughest courses on the PGA Tour in 2007.
This year’s purse for the tournament will be $5.6 million and with 500 FedExCup points at stake, it will certainly provide the players with a highly competitive atmosphere a week before they face the coast of California at Pebble Beach for the 2010 US Open.
Last year’s champion, Brian Gay, who finished on a total of 18-under-par, will be returning to TPC Southwind this year along with Phil Mickelson, Retief Goosen and Sergio Garcia, who all look to improve their positions in the FedExCup standings.
Venue: TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tennessee
Date: June 10-13
Course stats: Par 70, 7,244 yards
Purse: $5,600,000 Winner: $1,008,000
Defending champion: Brian Gay (-18)
Thursday 10 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
Friday 11 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
Saturday 12 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
Sunday 13 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
David Toms – The Los Angeles-based golfer has topped the field of this tournament previously on two occasions, in 2003 and 2004. Toms has just entered the top 100 in the FedExCup standings, and will be keen to improve on this over the next two weeks.
Phil Mickelson – Tied for fifth last week at the Memorial Tournament in Ohio, the world number two will be looking to catch the number one player in the world.
Brian Gay – After last year’s victory here, Gay must be seen as a contender. He feels the course suits his style after shooting low on one of the PGA Tour’s toughest golf courses.
Key hole: 18th. An excellent par 4, measuring 453 yards, demanding a great amount of accuracy off the tee and the approach, with water playing a major part throughout. The medium-sized green is surrounded by mounds, creating an amphitheatre effect.
Skills required: Distance. This 7,244-yard giant, with a par of just 70, plays extremely long. With seven par 4s measuring over 450 yards, it is certainly important for the players to be hitting it long in order to be able to attack the flags.