From a limited field at the Olympics, to a limited field state-side. It’s time for the 3rd WGC event of 2021.
This is gonna be one of the best fields of the year. 48 of the Top 50 players in the world will tee it up Thursday.
The biggest name missing, Jon Rahm. After testing positive for COVID-19, Rahm missed the Olympics last week. He’ll miss this one, too.
Defending Champion Justin Thomas will look to win for a second straight year, but it’ll be interesting to see how the travel affects the guys who played in Tokyo. I get these guys are professionals, travel every week of the year, but that’s a long ass flight, it would effect anyone. He hasn’t finished inside the Top 10 since his win at the PLAYERS.
Brooks Koepka, who turned down the opportunity to play in the Olympic Games, has found some form. His last 5 starts; T2, MC, T4, T5, T6. He enters the week as the betting favorite at +1200 (DraftKings), was the 2019 champion, and was one of the runner-ups to Mr. Thomas here last season.
Zoysia fairways, Bermuda greens
Tee-to-green is essential around this place. 6 of the top 8 players last year in SG: T2G finished inside the Top 6. Eventual champion Justin Thomas led the field in SG: T2G for the week, and actually won the thing while losing strokes with his putter.
In 2019, 6 of the top 8 players in SG: T2G for the week finished inside the Top 10 on the leaderboard.
While the 2 champions at TPC Southwind can move it (JT and Brooks), it’s not needed to contend. Webb Simpson, Matthew Fitzpatrick, and Tommy Fleetwood all have Top 5s. What those players do well however – strike the shit outta the ball. Another thing pointing to T2G play being so important this week.
Data Golf Information
Course Fit: 1. Sea Island GC, 2. LaCantera GC, 3. TPC Four Seasons
*Trending (of the players in the field): 1. Jordan Spieth (Last 3 starts: T18, T19, 2nd), 2. Collin Morikawa (T4, T71, 1), 3. Scottie Scheffler (T47, T12, T8)
% Chance to Win (Baseline, Course History and Fit): 1. Collin Morikawa (6.4%), 2. Xander Schauffele (5.8%), 3. Jordan Spieth (5.2%)
*Olympic finishes not included
Players to Watch
We had a winning week in Tokyo, up .6 units. Let’s keep it rolling in Tennessee…
I’ve been bringing this guy up a lot of late, and believe he’s VERY close to getting his first win on Tour. Scottie Scheffler is coming off his 3rd straight Top 10 in a major, and 4th Top 10 finish in his last 6 starts.
Last year at this event, Scottie finished T15 but was 5th in the field in SG: T2G. His putter held him back, as he lost .77 strokes on the greens. The putter has been decent of late, ranking 31st in SG: Putting over his last 24 rounds according to Fantasy National.
Over his last 24 rounds on Bermuda greens, Scottie has been sick with the flat-stick, ranking 6th.
Paul Casey is in fantastic form. He’s fresh off a T4 performance at the Olympics, but before that, had 4 finishes of T21 or better in his last 5 starts (including 2 Top 10s).
He hasn’t had much success at this golf course over the last 2 seasons with his best finish being a T27 back in 2019. But, I like his current form over course history.
According to Fantasy National, only 1 player in the world has been better than Paul Casey tee-to-green over his last 24 rounds, Collin Morikawa.
Only concerning thing, the travel.
He’s +2900 to win.
Hoodie Melo, Un-tucked Kyrie, and limited field Justin Thomas.
JT LOVES these kinds of tournaments so it’s gonna be hard to keep him off the card this week, even with his recent struggles.
He’s 5th in SG: T2G over his last 24 rounds, but during that same stretch is 224th in SG: Putting. Not good. But, like I mentioned before, JT won this thing last year while losing strokes on the greens.
On top of his win last year, he finished T12 in 2019, so his course/tournament history in Memphis is fantastic.
+1600 to win.
Shane Lowry has 2 PGA Tour wins. One of them is a WGC, the other is the Open. He can beat the best fields in the world, and he’s in good form.
He had a tough final day at the Olympics, but still finished T22. Starting at the Masters in April, Shane has had 5 finishes of T21 or better in 7 starts (I didn’t include his Tokyo start). 4 of those are T12 or better.
Last year at this event, he finished T6.
He’s 20th in SG: T2G over his last 24 rounds, but 187th in SG: Putting according to Fantasy National.
+4100 to win.
I always save him for last, but I LOVE Rory this week.
He was a literal inch away from claiming the Bronze Medal at the Olympics, and looked more comfortable on the greens with the new (slash old) Scotty. Bermuda is also his favorite putting surface (see wins at the API, PLAYERS, Honda, etc). He was 5th in SG: Putting in 2019 at this event.
He didn’t have it here last year, but finished T4 two years ago.
He’s close. He made enough birdies at the Open to seriously contend, but just made too many mistakes. His iron play looks dialed in, and his wedges are getting much better. Over his last 24 rounds, he’s 14th in proximity from 100-125, and 16th from 125-150.
On DraftKings, he’s +2200 to win. I’m going to HAMMER that.
Bets for the WGC FedEx St. Jude
Rory McIlroy – Top 10 (+175, Fanduel)
Scottie Scheffler – Top 10 (+230, Fanduel)
Will Zalatoris – Top 20 (+150, DraftKings)
Max Homa – Top 40 (-110, Fanduel)
Cameron Smith – Top 20 (+130, DraftKings)
Cover via CBSSports.com (Getty Images)