WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational Power Rankings

Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka
Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka walk off of the 18th green after Spieth won the final round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on January 10, 2016 in Lahaina, Hawaii. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

As much fun as it was watching golf at The Olympics Games last weekend, the players who represented their countries will face a big challenge, having to travel from Tokyo to Memphis for this week’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

Among those in attendance this week, includes gold medal winner Xander Schauffele, in addition to Collin Morikawa, Rory McIlroy, Paul Casey and Hideki Matsuyama, four of the players who made the insane seven-man playoff for the bronze medal. None of those four were the eventual winner (that was Taiwan’s C.T. Pan), an emotional letdown that will not likely help either.

Still, the field is stacked for the final WGC event of the season, which is occurring just two weeks before the 2021 FedExCup playoffs.

How much will what happened at The Olympics impact the leaderboard?

The following are the top 15 we like most:


15. Hideki Matsuyama

Xander Schauffele and Hideki Matsuyama Tokyo Olympics Golf
Xander Schauffele of Team USA and Hideki Matsuyama of Team Japan walk across the 4th green during the third round of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kasumigaseki CC on July 31, 2021 in Kawagoe, Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann via Getty Images)

Matsuyama very nearly added an Olympic medal to his 2021 awards mantle, one which includes a green jacket.

Representing the host country, the world No. 20 was in solo-second after 54-holes in Tokyo, an up-and-down Sunday – he had five birdies and three bogeys in a nine-hole mid-round stretch – dropped him into the seven-man playoff for the bronze, where he was knocked out on the first extra hole.

With how incredible Matsuyama looked winning The Masters in April, it is shocking that he has just two top 10s in 22 starts this season.

Still, even with all he has going against him this week, his ball striking has been too good to ignore at this course.

World Rank: 20
Odds To Win: 25-1
2020 WGC-FedEx Result: T20
2019 WGC-FedEx Result: T43


14. Shane Lowry

Shane Lowry Wyndham Championship
Shane Lowry looks on over on the 15th green during the second round of the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield CC on Aug 14, 2020 in Greensboro, NC. Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The affable Irishman is currently 39th in the world rankings, although his play in recent months is much better than that ranking would indicate. He had a disappointing Sunday in Tokyo after getting in the thick of medal contention through 54-holes, but that should not take away from his recent stretch of three finishes of T12 or better in his last four starts.

Lowry was T6 in this event a year ago, playing his final round bogey-free despite hitting just four fairways.

World Rank: 39
Odds To Win: 40-1
2020 WGC-FedEx Result: T6
2019 WGC-FedEx Result: DNP


13. Webb Simpson

Webb Simpson at the 2020 RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links
Webb Simpson lines up a putt on the 15th green during the first round of the RBC Heritage on June 18, 2020 at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, SC. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

A T19 at The Open Championship three weeks ago is not an amazing result for him, but Webb had to be happy opening with a 66 coming off consecutive missed cuts, something he very rarely does.

Being off since then should have Webb fresh for an event where he finished T12 a year ago, and was runner-up to Brooks Koepka in 2019. All eight of his rounds in those two WGC editions were in the 60s.

Simpson currently ranks 20th on Tour in both birdie average and scoring average. Surprisingly, he has not cracked the top 10 since mid-April.

World Rank: 16
Odds To Win: 33-1
2020 WGC-FedEx Result: T12
2019 WGC-FedEx Result: 2nd


12. Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy waves his ball to fans on the 5th green during the first round of the 121st U.S. Open on the South Course at Torrey Pines GC on June 17, 2021 in La Jolla, San Diego, CA. (Photo by Keyur Khamar PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

Heading into The Olympics in awful form, Rory hit the skids on his recent slide with a T4 at The Olympic games, reaching the seven-man bronze-medal playoff.

McIlroy will be hoping that encouraging performance in Tokyo will get momentum back in his favor this week at TPC Southwind, where he was the 54-hole leader in 2019 after a third-round 62.

The world No. 12 ranks fourth on Tour in birdie average and 11th in strokes gained: tee-to-green.

World Rank: 12
Odds To Win: 18-1
2020 WGC-FedEx Result: T47
2019 WGC-FedEx Result: T4


11. Viktor Hovland

Viktor Hovland
Viktor Hovland watches his drive on the 12th tee box during the second round of the WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession on Feb 26, 2021 in Bradenton, FL. (Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

A final-round 64 in Tokyo was enough to get the 23-year-old into the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time, and it is difficult to imagine him falling out any time soon.

Hovland is third on Tour in birdie average, and arrives at a course that saw many low numbers on the weekend a year ago. It is easy to be optimistic of him finishing much, much better than the T59 he had a year ago, with six top-5 finishes in the 2021 season.

In addition to his phenomenal Sunday at The Olympics, Hovland was T12 three weeks ago at The Open Championship.

World Rank: 10
Odds To Win: 25-1
2020 WGC-FedEx Result: T59
2019 WGC-FedEx Result: DNQ


10. Paul Casey

Paul Casey Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Paul Casey of Team Great Britain and caddie John McLaren walk the fifth hole during the third round of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kasumigaseki CC on July 31, 2021 in Kawagoe, Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Chris Trotman via Getty Images)

Few players in the world have been more consistently great than the 44-year-old Brit in 2021, who has 11 finishes inside the top 15 in 16 worldwide starts this calendar year. He was also consistently relevant in the biggest events, which included a T5 at THE PLAYERS Championship, a T4 at the PGA Championship, and a T7 at the U.S. Open.

Two late birdies in Tokyo last week got Casey into the seven-man bronze-medal playoff, but fell just short of getting Great Britain their second medal in golf since the sport came back to The Olympics in 2021.

His ballstriking has been especially fantastic this season, as he ranks second on Tour in strokes gained: approach-the-green, and seventh in strokes gained: tee-to-green.

A T67 here a year ago was very disappointing, but it should be noted that most of the damage was on one day, and he played the weekend 69-67.

World Rank: 21
Odds To Win: 33-1
2020 WGC-FedEx Result: T67
2019 WGC-FedEx Result: T27


9. Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson 2021 U.S. Open
Dustin Johnson waves on the 4th green during the final round of the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines South Course on June 20, 2021 in San Diego, CA. (Photo by Ezra Shaw via Getty Images)

The world No. 2 opted out of representing the U.S. at last week’s Olympics, but that may not have been a bad decision considering the state of his game. He missed the cut two weeks ago at the 3M Open, which had a relatively weak field, and while a T8 the week prior at The Open Championship was promising in a vacuum, DJ imploded on Saturday after getting into contention.

Shockingly, that T8 tied his best result in 14 starts since his five-stroke romp at November’s Masters Tournament. If the reigning FedExCup Champion is going to get back into form before this year’s FedExCup playoffs, it could easily be this week.

Johnson’s six-stroke victory at TPC Southwind in 2018, the last event before it was promoted to a WGC, was his second victory here. He was T12 a year ago, posting four rounds in the 60s.

World Rank: 2
Odds To Win: 18-1
2020 WGC-FedEx Result: T12
2019 WGC-FedEx Result: T20


8. Justin Thomas

Justin Thomas
Justin Thomas plays his shot from the 15th tee during a practice round prior to the start of the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines GC on June 15, 2021 in San Diego, CA. (Photo by Ezra Shaw via Getty Images)

This week’s defending champion is Thomas, whose three stroke victory a year ago was one of 14 wins in the past six seasons.

Inexplicably, the world No. 5 had been floundering since winning THE PLAYERS Championship in March, but there may be some renewed hope that his hiatus among the world’s elite could be nearing an end.

After a pedestrian start representing the U.S. at last week’s Olympics, Thomas played the weekend 68-65, with ten birdies to just three bogeys.

Even with the recent struggles, Thomas is sixth on Tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green.

World Rank: 5
Odds To Win: 16-1
2020 WGC-FedEx Result: 1st
2019 WGC-FedEx Result: T12


7. Scottie Scheffler

Scottie Scheffler 2021 U.S. Open
Scottie Scheffler chips from the rough on the 11th hole during the final round of the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines South Course on June 20, 2021 in San Diego, CA. (Photo by Harry How via Getty Images)

Among the Texas product’s last six starts include three major championship finishes of T8 or better, and a solo-third at The Memorial Tournaments. His first career Tour victory feels imminent, and he has been his best in the bigger events.

Scheffler was T15 a year ago in his TPC Southwind debut in a WGC event, shooting four rounds in the 60s, carding only six bogeys, and gaining 8.3 strokes on the field tee-to-green.

It should also be noted that the 25-year-old finishing in the top five in both WGC events played this season.

World Rank: 18
Odds To Win: 28-1
2020 WGC-FedEx Result: T15
2019 WGC-FedEx Result: DNQ


6. Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth on the 4th hole during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National GC on April 09, 2021 in Augusta, GA. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox via Getty Images)

It is a shame that Spieth’s remarkable comeback season, which has him on the brink of re-joining the top 10 in the world rankings, did not start earlier, potentially allowing him to have qualified for the Americans at last week’s Olympic Games. He likely would have relished the opportunity after expressing regret for opting out of Rio in 2016.

On the bright side, that was a week off for Spieth, after finishing solo-second at The Open Championship. Since February, he has nine top-10s, including a victory, and three additional top-20s.

He is currently second in the FedExCup standings.

World Rank: 11
Odds To Win: 16-1
2020 WGC-FedEx Result: T30
2019 WGC-FedEx Result: T12


5. Xander Schauffele

Xander Schauffele Wins Olympic Gold Medal
Paul Casey of Team Great Britain and Xander Schauffele of Team USA walk the 4th hole during the final round of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kasumigaseki CC on Aug 1, 2021 in Kawagoe, Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann via Getty Images)

The brand-new owner of an Olympic gold medal, Schauffele is undoubtedly on some kind of high right now. Not only was Xander able to take the ultimate prize in Tokyo, but for the first time in his professional career, he closed out a 54-hole lead, having gone 0-for on his previous four attempts.

Even better, he was able to compose himself and rebound late when he was caught by a surging Rory Sabbatini.

A hangover this week is certainly possible. Should it be expected though?

Schauffele has been ridiculously consistent all year, with 14 of his 18 2021 starts resulting in a finish of 25th or better, including three runner-ups, and he was T6 here a year ago.

World Rank: 4
Odds To Win: 14-1
2020 WGC-FedEx Result: T6
2019 WGC-FedEx Result: T27


4. Collin Morikawa

Collin Morikawa Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Collin Morikawa of USA plays his tee shot on the 9th hole during round 4 of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games at the Kasumigaseki CC in Kawagoe, Saitama, Japan. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile via Getty Images)

A week ago, the 24-year-old very nearly chased a victory at The Open Championship, already his second major championship victory, with a medal at the Olympic games.

The world No. 3 looked near unstoppable during a Sunday 63 in Tokyo, which got him into the epic seven-man bronze-medal playoff, where he reached four extra holes before being the last golfer eliminated by CT Pan.

In his last six solo events, Morikawa has five finishes of T8 or better. Morikawa has been obliterating the Tour tee-to-green over the past two months.

Draining week in Tokyo or not, expect more of the same at TPC Southwind.

World Rank: 3
Odds To Win: 14-1
2020 WGC-FedEx Result: T20
2019 WGC-FedEx Result: DNQ


3. Louis Oosthuizen

Louis Oosthuizen 149th Open Championship Royal St Georges
Louis Oosthuizen reacts to his shot from the first tee during Day Four of the 149th The Open Championship at Royal St. Georges on July 18, 2021 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Keyur Khamar for PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

The way he has been playing the past three months, you have to wonder if the medal stand in Tokyo would have looked different had Louie chosen to represent South Africa.

Coming into the week, the world No. 8 has four(!) runner-ups in his last seven starts, in addition to a T3, a T8, and a T18. Oosthuizen has the Tour’s second-best scoring average and is putting out of his mind in 2021 (1st in strokes gained: putting).

Not spending last week in Asia, he should be relatively fresh, at least in comparison to the players who were there. He finished T6 in this event last year, and in 2019, rebounded from a poor start with a 66-67 weekend.

No, he has not actually been winning events, but he is in too immaculate of form to not expect him to at least contend.

World Rank: 8
Odds To Win: 22-1
2020 WGC-FedEx Result: T6
2019 WGC-FedEx Result: T20


2. Daniel Berger

Daniel Berger celebrates after winning the FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind on June 11, 2017. Photo Credit: Getty Images

There are horses for the courses and then there’s Daniel Berger at TPC Southwind. The first two of Berger’s four career Tour victories came at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, and when it got a bump in difficulty as a WGC, he finished T2 a year ago, playing his final three rounds 67, 67, 65 respectively.

The 28-year-old needs just one more top 10 this season to break his career high of seven, something he has done five times since mid-February.

Three of those top fives were in elite-field events, and another one, his dramatic victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am was one of the better fields of the season among non-majors or WGCs.

World Rank: 17
Odds To Win: 22-1
2020 WGC-FedEx Result: T2
2019 WGC-FedEx Result: DNQ


1. Brooks Koepka

Brooks Koepka Wins WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational
Brooks Koepka celebrates with caddie Ricky Elliott on the 18th green after winning the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind on July 28, 2019 in Memphis, Tennessee. Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

The only better bet this week than Daniel Berger, is his former Florida State teammate Brooks Koepka. Brooks won the 2019 edition of this event by three strokes, which he followed with a T2 a year ago, opening the tournament with a field-low 62. He also has two top-3s at TPC Southwind before it became a WGC event.

Koepka comes into the week in excellent form, with three straight top-6 finishes, and three in his last four.

After opting out of The Olympics, there is little reason to doubt him this week.

World Rank: 6
Odds To Win: 12-1
2020 WGC-FedEx Result: 1st
2019 WGC-FedEx Result: T2


Next Five: Joaquin Niemann, Matt Fitzpatrick, Bryson DeChambeau, Corey Conners, Tony Finau


LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here