FedEx St. Jude Classic Picks and Predictions: Look for Collin Morikawa, Brendan Steele to Find Success
FedEx St. Jude Championship Picks and Predictions: Look for Collin Morikawa, Brendan Steele to Find Success
The FedEx St. Jude Championship has been held in Memphis, Tennessee since 1958. The tournament first came to the current host venue, TPC Southwind, in 1989, and it has been held at the Ron Pritchard design ever since. In 2019, FedEx took over sponsorship of the WGC Invitational, and this tournament was granted WGC status. Yet this year, it has turned into the first FedEx Cup playoff event. The top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings make up the field this week, and the top 70 by the tournament's end will keep their season alive. 2,000 FedEx Cup points, four times the amount of a regular Tour event, are up for grabs in Memphis.
FedEx St. Jude Championship Course Preview
TPC Southwind often plays as one of the more challenging courses on the PGA Tour. As a 7,233-yard par 70 with narrow fairways, small greens, and thick Bermuda rough, players will certainly be tested. Like many Southern Bermuda-grass courses, TPC Southwind also features a ton of trouble. Water comes into play on 11 different holes, and in each of the last five years, the course has ranked inside the top-10 in most penalty strokes per round. Add all of this together, and it should not come as a surprise that elite tee-to-green players such as Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, and Brooks Koepka, have experienced so much success here.
The formula at TPC Southwind is simple: drive the ball in the fairway, and be on point with your middle irons. Last year, 15 of the top 16 on the leaderboard gained in good drive percentage, and the prior year, 17 of the top 20 gained in good drive percentage. Players have certainly performed at TPC Southwind without driving the ball well, but nearly all of them gained significantly with the putter. Players who do not hit the fairway at a consistent rate will find themselves behind the eight-ball on this golf course. Once in the fairway, short to middle iron play is key. Nearly two-thirds of all approach shots at TPC Southwind come from between 125 and 200 yards. The Champion Bermuda-grass greens are very pure, with little undulation, emphasizing ball-striking even further. The player with the most balanced combination of these specific skillsets is sure to raise the trophy.
FedEx St. Jude Championship Picks
FedEx St. Jude Key Stats
- Good Drive Percentage
- Long-term Proximity 150-200 yards
Let's dig into my outright FedEx St. Jude Classic picks for the week.
FedEx St. Jude Championship Picks and Predictions: Outright Winner
Collin Morikawa (+3500) (Bet $100 to Win $3,500)
When thinking about driving accuracy and middle iron play, Collin Morikawa is the first name that comes to mind. Even in a down year, the two-time major winner has remained one of the most accurate drivers of the ball in the world. Even more impressively, he is still the best middle iron player in the world too, ranking first in overall proximity from 125-200 yards over the last two years. I am far from deterred by a missed cut at St. Andrew's, which is a course that did not fit the style of play at all. Still, he gained 2.6 strokes on approach, leaving me feeling encouraged that he is playing far better than his results would suggest. A win at the Concession proves his ability to take down an elite field on a challenging Bermuda-grass course with water everywhere. I expect the World No. 8 to be firmly in the mix in Memphis come Sunday afternoon.
Brendan Steele (+1500) (Bet $100 to Win $15,000)
It's hard for me to ignore what Brendan Steele has been doing from a ball-striking perspective. The three-time PGA Tour winning has not lost strokes off the tee since his first start this season, and he has not lost strokes on approach since the Valero Texas Open. The World No. 111 isn't just gaining marginally either. Steele has gained over seven strokes ball-striking in four of his five last starts. The only reason why his name hasn't been closer to the top of the leaderboards is due to a faulty putter, but even that aspect of his game looked better in his last start. Winning a tournament with this strong of a field might be a big ask, but a 10th at Memorial, and a ninth at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills, another course with difficult, unpredictable Bermuda rough, leaves me feeling optimistic that he can hang with the world's best.
Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from Manhattan, New York. Andy came to OddsChecker in January 2022 after previously writing for Golf Digest, GolfWRX, Rotoballer, and the Score. Andy is also the host of a golf betting and daily fantasy podcast, Inside Golf Podcast, as well as "The Scramble” with Rick Gehman, and a recurring guest on the Pat Mayo Experience. In his free time, Andy is still grinding away at his lifelong dream of qualifying for the U.S. Amateur, and if not writing, can likely be found somewhere on a golf course.