We just had the prestigious major tournament of The Open Championship last weekend (and how magical it was with Shane Lowry’s victory), but the PGA Tour keeps it moving along with another big event this week in the World Golf Championship-FedEx St. Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind located in Memphis, Tennesee. As far as the city of Memphis is concerned, they’ll be joining the family of WGC locales in this event, taking the flame from Akron, Ohio’s Firestone Country Club.
There’s only two weeks left in the FedExCup regular season, and depending on how things go this weekend in Memphis, we could come out with a new leader in the standings. So as you see, not only is the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational critical because of it’s World Golf Championship status, but this event is huge due to the nature of the standings — which makes betting even more fun and entertaining.
The odds set over at the online sportsbook Bovada have both Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy at the top of the odds in a tie at +900. Following Johnson and McIlroy comes Brooks Koepka in third place at +1000, and afterwards, we have John Rahm in fourth at +1200. Justin Thomas rounds out the top five at +1400. In the No. 6 position, Patrick Cantlay takes that spot with +2000 odds. After Cantlay, we have a three-way tie to take up the seventh, eighth and ninth rankings between Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood and Xander Schauffele at +2200. Adam Scott takes us to the end of the top 10 at +2800.
Coming behind just Tiger Woods for the most WGC victories is Dustin Johnson with a tally of six total — Tiger has a whopping total of 18, tripling Johnson’s number. Fortunately for Johnson, there’s no Woods to worry about in the event this year. On top of that, Johnson also has previous success at TPC Southwind, having two career victories at the course in the 2012 and 2018 seasons.
As far as Tiger Woods is concerned, he decided to skip out on his opportunity to be in the World Golf Championship after missing the cut at The Open. However, the field is still loaded with talent, with 68 of some of the best golfers in the world providing yet another entertaining WGC tournament for our viewing pleasure this weekend.
It gets even more interesting when you look at this statistic as well: Memphis is very well-known for providing first wins in a golfer’s career, with the past four out of eight victors at the course getting their very first PGA Tour victory. Keep that in mind as you place your bets.
JUSTIN THOMAS: THE QUEST TO REPEAT
Last year at Akron, Justin Thomas would attain his first career World Golf Championship win, taking a three-shot edge and putting it on steroids through 54 holes. Throughout the entire tournament, he wouldn’t let any opponent come two shots within him on the final day of the event, dominating his way to the trophy.
But again, this year’s tournament isn’t held at Firestone in Akron like it was last season, instead, it’s being held at TPC Southwind in Memphis. Caution? I think not. Go ahead and mark this off the list of relevance when it concerns Thomas, he does great at WGC events no matter where they are.
As a matter of fact, he’s been dominate the past five years, tallying four top 10 finishes in those appearances. With that being said, you’ve got to take Justin Thomas to repeat, he’s just too good at the World Golf Championship to pass up on.
This will be Thomas’ first appearance at this particular golf course, but even then, I wouldn’t worry due to his consistency to quickly adapt to new courses and win. Another reason why you want to wager on Thomas as well is because of his momentum riding into the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. In the last two events, he’s taken a 9th place finish at the Scottish Open, and he would also take a solid No. 12 position on the leaderboard at The Open. Plus, his +1400 odds are very profitable with him sitting fifth among the favorites. Seriously, how on earth do you pass up on Justin Thomas with all of this intel?
CHEZ REAVIE: YOUR BEST LONG SHOT
Overall, Chez Reavie doesn’t do well at World Golf Championship tournaments, however, he does do well at this particular golf course of TPC Southwind. In nine appearances in WGC events, Reavie’s best finish was a T-24 mark, but you can expect him to hit a new high with this tournament being in Memphis. This is a course that he thrives at.
In 2015, he would take a 12th place finish at Southwind, and then he would improve even more the following two seasons with marks of T-4 and T-6. Since his win at the 2019 Travelers Championship, Reavie has failed to make the cut in his last two appearances, but you can certainly expect him to rebound this weekend — and among the favorites at that.
MATTHEW WOLFF: THE NEWCOMER HAS IMPRESSED
Entering the 2018-19 PGA Tour season with a boatload of hype, 20-year-old Matthew Wolff has certainly lived up to it and delivered on expectations. He may not have one of the prettiest swings, but it works for him, and that would be proven when he would take out Bryson DeChambeau to win the 3M Open. With the consistent hype on Wolff and him only getting better, he’s eventually going to break out in a huge way in a big tournament — a big tournament like a WGC.
This World Golf Championship event will be the very first for Wolff, and there’s a lot of potential for him to do well. First off, his form in putting and length off of the tee is perfect for TPC Southwind, and speaking of form, he’s coming into this tournament in excellent condition. He’s coming fresh off of a 3M Open victory and week off, so I wouldn’t be shocked to see the kid out of Oklahoma State University lingering among the favorites on the final day.
ABOUT TPC SOUTHWIND
TPC Southwind, located in Memphis, Tennessee, is a total of 7,244 yards and it’s a par 70 course, and they’ve held the FedEx St. Jude Invitational for three decades. This year, they’ve decided to take on the WGC label. The most famous hole that you can look forward to on this course is hole 11, which is a par-3. Landing comparisons to the TPC Sawgrass’ 17th hole, it has a small island green and only the best short-iron golfers will be able to conquer it.
The WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee kicks off on Thursday, July 25 and will be carried through Sunday, July 28. The tournament will be nationally televised and you can catch the broadcast on the Golf Channel and CBS.
Let’s go over the favorites for the 2019 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and see who all has the best chance to take the $1,745,000 winner’s share of the $10,250,000 prize fund. Afterwards, we’ll review the rest of the field in the tournament, followed by my official locked-in winner prediction and long shot.
Dustin Johnson hasn’t been in his best form in his last five appearances, but keep in mind that Johnson has a total of six career WGC victories. Not just that, but he also has two career victories in the FedEx St. Jude Invitational tournament. In other words, Johnson should be among the leaders on Sunday, despite his previous five appearances — 51st at the The Open Championship, Missed Cut at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, 35th at the U.S. Open, 20th at the RBC Canadian Open, and 2nd at the PGA Championship. When you look at his WGC and FedEx St. Judge Invitational history, you see why he’s the favorite.
He has two WGC wins on his resume, but Rory McIlroy has never secured a victory at TPC Southwind. In his last five appearances, he’s been on point — well, if he can make the cut. It’s been a weird stretch for McIlroy. In the major tournament of the PGA Championship, he would take a top 10 placement finishing 8th, and afterwards, he would miss the cut completely at the Memorial Tournament pres. by Nationwide. Up next, he would compete in the RBC Canadian Open, where he would take a victory. In the U.S. Open, he would finish in the top 10 again placing 9th. McIlroy’s most recent event, his home event of The Open Championship, he would surprisingly miss the cut. With not as much competition, I expect McIlroy to rebound and do his thing this weekend with another top 10 placing — it’s just been that kind of stretch.
Brooks Koepka is still young on the PGA Tour, and hasn’t secured any WGC wins in his career as of yet. However, he does have two solid finishes in the FedEx St. Jude Invitational with a T-6 mark in 2015, and he would finish in 5th last year in 2018. He’d also do solid in 2017 with a T-17 mark. What that means is that Koepka can play at TPC Southwind, and you can certainly expect him to put up a good performance this weekend. In his last five events, he’s done either really great or really bad — you can expect him to hit the opposite of the latter in this tournament. (4th in The Open Championship, 65th in the 3M Open, 57th in the Traveler’s Championship, 2nd in the U.S. Open, and 50th in the RBC Canadian Open.)
He has two elite showings in WGC tournaments, one being a T-3 mark in the Mexico Championship and the other being a 2nd place finish in the Match Play. However, in the FedEx St. Jude Invitational, he hasn’t exactly done the best in his two appearances — he would place T-17 in 2018 and would take a T-28 mark in 2017. Hey, at least there’s been an improvement, and that’s why the odds-makers have him among the favorites to win this weekend’s tournament. In his last five appearances, he has three quality showings, and he would miss the cut in the other two — 1st in the Zurich Classic, Missed Cut in the PGA Championship, Missed Cut in the Charles Schwab Challenge, 3rd in the U.S. Open and 11th in The Open Championship. Not a bad form.
The Mexico Championship, the Match Play, the FedEx St. Jude Invitational, it doesn’t matter what WGC event you put Justin Thomas in, he’s a sure thing to put up an elite showing. For example, in 2018: 2nd at the Mexico Championship, 4th at the Match Play, and 1st at the FedEx St. Jude Invitational. With him able to adapt to any WGC course and coming in as the defending champion of this weekend’s tournament, Thomas has a crapload of value at +1400. He may not be on form with his last five, but I don’t think none of it matters in this event, expect him to be near the top, if not on the top for a repeat — Missed Cut at the Memorial Tournament pres. by Nationwide, 20th at the RBC Canadian Open, Missed Cut at the U.S. Open, 36th at the Travelers Championship and 11th at The Open Championship.
Patrick Cantlay would only make one appearance in the FedEx St. Jude Invitational, and he would do well with a T-16 mark last year in 2018. This explains why he’s sixth on the board. He’s also coming in with a solid form, other than a 41st place finish in The Open Championship — 15th in the Travelers Championship, 21st in the U.S. Open, 1st in the Memorial Tournament pres. by Nationwide and 3rd in the PGA Championship. Going based off of the numbers, Cantlay wouldn’t be a bad pick to make with his +2000 odds.
I would personally keep my money away from Justin Rose. He’s been in a load of FedEx St. Jude Invitationals (13 total) but hasn’t been able to grab one victory. He has five quality finishes (5, T-2, T-5, T-4, T-3), so the potential is certainly there for him to do well, but even then that’s a risk — the last two seasons he did horrible in this event with T-46 and T-63 marks. Just keep your money away. His recent form has been solid, but it still doesn’t change my mind on Rose. I have zero confidence with him in this tournament. (29th in the PGA Championship, 58th in the Charles Schwab Challenge, 13th in the Memorial Tournament pres. by Nationwide, 3rd in the U.S. Open and 20th in The Open Championship.)
I like Tommy Fleetwood, but like Justin Rose, I’ve got to keep my money away from him. Not only does he not have any WGC wins or victories at the FedEx St. Jude Invitational, but he doesn’t have any PGA Tour career triumphs at all. At this weekend’s tournament in particular, his history shows two appearances on his resume, and the results have been okay — T-28 in 2017 and T-14 in 2018. Okay, but obviously not wins, and not good enough to place money on him. His solid form hasn’t been that bad though — 2nd in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, 48th in the PGA Championship, 65th in the U.S. Open, 13th in Travelers Championship, 2nd in The Open Championship. Eventually, Fleetwood is going to get a victory, he’s long overdue for one. I just don’t see it happening this weekend.
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