After a week in Japan for the dystopian-looking Olympics, the PGA Tour is back in action with the 23rd edition of the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
While it officially claims the history of the former WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, the event’s true legacy is the FedEx St. Jude Classic as it’s contested in the same locale at the same venue with the same title sponsor and even color branding.
This week’s field of 78 at TPC Southwind will include all the top stars, including nearly the entire top section of the Official World Golf Rankings, headlined by the event’s two recent champions Justin Thomas (2020) and Brooks Koepka (2019), along with newly-minted gold medalist Xander Schauffele.
With the FedExCup playoffs kicking off in two weeks, this event will represent a final tune-up against elite competition – not to mention the prestige (along with cash and world ranking points) that comes with winning a WGC event.
Tournament: WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational
Dates: Aug 5-8, 2021
Where: Memphis, Tenn.
Course: TPC Southwind
Distance: Par 70, 7,237 yards
Architect: Ron Prichard
Format: 72-holes, stroke play, 36-hole cut
Winning Share: $1,785,000
OWGR SOF/1st Pts: 782/76
Defending Champion: Justin Thomas
Other Marquee Names: Rory McIlroy, Louis Oosthuizen, Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, Patrick Reed, Xander Schauffele, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay, Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama
How to Follow the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational
TELEVISION: Thu-Fri: 12-5 p.m. (GOLF Channel); Sat-Sun: 12-2 p.m. (GOLF Channel), 2-6 p.m. (CBS)
PGA TOUR LIVE: Thu-Fri: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Featured Groups); Sat-Sun: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. (Featured Groups), 2-6 p.m. (Featured Holes)
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RADIO: Thu-Fri: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat-Sun: 1-6 p.m.
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The history of this event combines two former tournaments – the WGC-Bridgestone and the FedEx St Jude Classic. And while the PGA Tour seems to be going with the history of the Bridgestone event, officially, in reality it’s got a lot more of a connection to the FedEx St Jude Classic, including the title sponsor, charity, locale, and golf course. And so we’re going with Memphis.
“St. Jude” has been part of the event title since 1985, as it has a close association with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital of Memphis. The man who the hospital originally has to thank for that association is famous entertainer Danny Thomas, who lent his name to the event in 1969, with St. Jude’s being made the event’s official charity in return. Thomas had founded the hospital years earlier.
The event itself began 11 years earlier in 1958 as the Memphis Open, and has stayed in Memphis for its entire history. A few local courses spent time as host venue, with the current course, TPC Southwind, having the honors continuously since 1989.
The inaugural event was won by Billy Maxwell, who got the better of Hall of Famer Cary Middlecoff by one stroke. Middlecoff would win his only Memphis title three years later.
Other notable winners include Tommy Bolt, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Gary Player, Gene Littler, Larry Mize, Curtis Strange, Tom Kite, Fred Couples, and Greg Norman.
Relative to WGC-Bridgestone bloodlines: Former winners include Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, and Justin Thomas.
History: Event Titles
FedEx St Jude Classic
2019-21: WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational
1986-19: FedEx St. Jude Classic
1985-85: St. Jude Memphis Classic
1970-84: Danny Thomas Memphis Classic
1960-69: Memphis Open Invitational
1958-59: Memphis Open
2006-18: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational
1999-05: WGC-NEC Invitational
History: Recent Winners
WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational
2020: Justin Thomas (-13)
2019: Brooks Koepka (-16)
2018: Justin Thomas (-15)
2017: Hideki Matsuyama (-16)
2016: Dustin Johnson (-6)
FedEx St Jude Classic
2018: Dustin Johnson (-19)
2017: Daniel Berger (-10)
2016: Daniel Berger (-13)
2020 WGC-FedEx St Jude Rewind
Justin Thomas Wins 2020 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational
Justin Thomas had significant scar tissue from what had happened on the front side of the back-to-back Muirfield Village events the month prior, but did what he needed to do to get in the early mix at TPC Southwind, opening the tournament with a 4-under 66, and not losing his weekend composure after his pedestrian Friday even-par 70.
Thomas matched his opening-round 66 on Saturday and did a stroke better on Sunday, carding just a single final-round bogey.
His 19 birdies for the week tied for eighth in the field, and he only cancelled out six of them with bogeys. He led the field for the week in strokes gained: tee-to-green and strokes gained: total, and was second in strokes gained: approach-the-green. He was 55th in putting, but that was a bit misleading since that was almost entirely based on an exceptionally poor putting round on Friday.
The win moved Thomas to world No. 1 for the second time in his career.
Final Top-10 Leaders
Pos-Player-To Par (Final Rd)
1. Justin Thomas -13 (-5)
2. Daniel Berger -10 (-5)
2. Tom Lewis -10 (-4)
2. Phil Mickelson -10 (-3)
2. Brooks Koepka -10 (-1)
6. Xander Schauffele -9 (-4)
6. Jason Day -9 (-3)
6. Shane Lowry -9 (-3)
6. Chez Reavie -9 (-2)
6. Louis Oosthuizen -9 (-2)
6. Matthew Fitzpatrick -9 (-2)
Host Course: TPC Southwind
Part of the PGA Tour’s Tournament Players Clubs network, TPC Southwind is a private golf club located within the gated community of Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee.
Just east-southeast of central Memphis, near the world headquarters of FedEx, the 18-hole championship golf course was designed by Ron Prichard, in consultation with former PGA Tour pros Hubert Green and Fuzzy Zoeller. TPC Southwind opened in 1988. It is
Opened in 1988, TPC Southwind has been the venue for the Tour’s annual FedEx St. Jude Classic since 1989. The event was previously played at Colonial Country Club in Cordova.
The course length for the first PGA Tour event was 7,006 yards in 1989, and has played at 7,244 yards since 2005. With 94 bunkers and ten water hazards, TPC Southwind regularly ranks in the top 10-15 (out of 51 courses) in terms of difficulty.
Hole No. 14, at 239 yards, consistently ranks as one of the toughest par 3’s on the PGA Tour.
The par-70 course grass is Bermuda for the greens and rough, with Zoysia on the tees and fairways.
The power rankings offer no huge surprises as the world’s best players will all converge on Memphis this week for a big payday and a final tune-up before the start of the FedExCup playoffs.
Recent winners at TPC Southwind are sprinkled throughout our top-15 ranked players, including Brooks Koepka (2019), Daniel Berger (2016, 2017), Dustin Johnson (2018) and U.S. Olympian Justin Thomas (2020).
Joining Thomas in our top-15 include several others who competed in Tokyo such as gold medalist Xander Schauffele, along with Collin Morikawa, Paul Casey, Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry and Hideki Matsuyama.
Top 10: WGC-FedEx St. Jude Inv
Power Rank-Name (OWGR, Odds)
1. Brooks Koepka (6, 12-1)
2. Daniel Berger (17, 22-1)
3. Louis Oosthuizen (8, 22-1)
4. Collin Morikawa (3, 14-1)
5. Xander Schauffele (4, 14-1)
6. Jordan Spieth (11, 16-1)
7. Scottie Scheffler (30, 28-1)
8. Justin Thomas (5, 16-1)
9. Dustin Johnson (2, 18-1)
10. Paul Casey (21, 33-1)
11. Viktor Hovland (10, 25-1)
12. Rory McIlroy (12, 18-1)
13. Webb Simpson (16, 33-1)
14. Shane Lowry (39, 40-1)
15. Hideki Matsuyama (20, 25-1)
Read Joel Cook’s WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational Power Rankings
Stat of the Week
4 – The number of players in the field this week who have won at TPC Southwind.
Despite this being an elite-field event, and TPC Southwind having continuously hosted the FedEx St. Jude Classic since 1989, only defending champion Justin Thomas, 2019 winner Brooks Koepka, and two-time St Jude Classic champs Dustin Johnson (2012, 2018) and Daniel Berger (2016, 2017) are former winners among the current field.
Full Field & Odds
WGC-FedEx St. Jude Inv | TPC Southwind | Memphis, TN | Aug. 5-8, 2021
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