Recap of last weeks bets
To Win – Alex Noren – LOST
Top Canadian – Mackenzie Hughes – LOST
Top 5 Finish – Patrick Reed – LOST
Top 10 Finish – Cameron Smith – WON
Top 20 Finish -Anirban Lahiri – LOST
Profit/Loss (This week) – Loss of $20 to a $10 Stake
Profit/Loss (Overall) – Loss of $212.50 to a $10 Stake
On to this week’s event.
In some way, it’s been problematic bedding in the period since the PGA Tour elected to swap Ohio for Tennessee, Firestone for Southwind, and move what’s now known as the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational. Year one went OK — Brooks Koepka versus Rory McIlroy a week after the Open — but year two was in the midst of the epidemic, and year three is still amid the pandemic, but without the world number one and days after the Olympics.
These may be critical elements in determining the tournament’s fate. Jon Rahm would have undoubtedly performed admirably for starters because that is what he does, and his recent form has been so great that his absence makes the event feel much more open.
But it’s the Tokyo aspect that interests me the most: who among the 19 Olympic athletes will be able to overcome jet lag, and who will not? Top-level golfers are typically capable of stepping off their private planes and competing halfway around the world. We’ve seen that with triumphs for Dustin Johnson in the Middle East and Bubba Watson in China, as well as events like the CJ Cup and CIMB Classic, where the PGA Tour picks up its clubs and heads off for a mini-Asian swing. Paul Casey traveled from California to Dubai and won the Dubai Desert Classic earlier this year before Johnson returned to Saudi Arabia and won again.
The rebranded FedEx St Jude Classic debuted in May 1958 as the Memphis Open and is played annually in Memphis, Tennessee. Since 1989, TPC Southwind has hosted the tournament. The FedEx St Jude Classic has preceded the US Open since 2007. However, the tournament’s new heightened status elevates it to a marquee event on the Tour calendar, attracting the top golfers from around the world.
The WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational features 48 of the world’s top 50 players, including Xander Schauffele, the defending Olympic champion, and Collin Morikawa, the Open winner. He narrowly lost out on a medal in Japan after a long playoff for bronze. However, the exertions in Tokyo may have taken their toll on Schauffele and Morikawa, while Justin Thomas’ poor record continued with a tie for 22nd place in the Games.
On to our picks for this year…
Stewart Cink +13000
The last four winners of this event all had at least two wins to their name when they entered this competition, and that’s precisely what Stewart Cink brings to the table. He has been reticent as of late, but his last victory came in the RBC Heritage, which has been a good measuring stick in the past. When Cink was last seen on this golf course, he came fourth at the St. Jude Classic in 2018, so he undoubtedly knows his way around here.
Top 20 Finish
Jason Kokrak +170
Jason Kokrak is very seldom out of the running at a golf championship. This is confirmed by the fact he has only missed one cut in his previous 16 competitions. In addition, he has had six top 20 finishes during that run, four of which came inside the top ten. He is a great all-around player and worth a punt most weeks.
Match Bet – Shane Lowry vs. Tyrrell Hatton
Tyrrell Hatton +100
While Shane Lowry is undoubtedly no mug, I fancy the chances of Hatton getting one over the Irishman. Hatton hasn’t looked at his best since finishing second at the Palmetto Championship a few weeks back, but he has good experience around here, having made the cut on all four tournament starts. He has a decent drive, his approach play is right up there with the best, and he knows how to use the blade. He is a player that progresses the more he plays, which is backed up by the fact that he is a better backbone golfer than front nine. This will certainly help here as the back nine is much harder around this golf course.
Bogey Free Round
Daniel Berger +1200
This is certainly hard to do on this golf course, but if anyone can, Daniel Berger can as he is one of the best bogey avoidance players on tour. He has only missed one cut in his last 12 tournaments, which means we should hopefully get four cracks at this. Berger is a player that plays the big occasions as he finished ninth, seventh, and eighth in three of the four majors this season. He also placed second here last year and will be hoping to go one step further this time around.
Winner In Final Pairing
Over the last five years, statistically, the winner of this tournament has had their best round on the final day. While this doesn’t mean they weren’t in the final pairing, it does mean that this is a tournament where players can come from the back on the last day to lift the trophy, which makes this bet viable.