Not surprisingly the FedEx St Jude Classic will be light on heavy hitters this week as this event is sandwiched between the Memorial Tournament and the US Open. Many of the top players in the world will use this week to rest and prepare for the US Open in two weeks. That does not mean the FedEx St Jude Classic is without star power.
In its 28th year of existence, the TPC Southwind will show off its natural lakes, ponds, and rolling countryside as envisioned by its designer Ron Prichard. 2004 brought additional length and green surface changes that will also be on display this week. The 72-hole record for this event belongs to John Cook in 1996 with a 258. Two players have fired a course record 61 since the tournament moved to TPC Southwind (Jay Delsing 1993 and Bob Estes 2001).
But who will win the 2016 edition of the FedEx St Jude Classic? Let’s take a look at the 2016 FedEx St Jude Classic and a few of the hardest holes at TPC Southwind.
Dates: June 9-12 2016
Course: TPC Southwind
Stats: Par 70, 7,239 yards
Television Broadcast Coverage (Times):
Thursday: Golf Channel-3:30 – 6:30 PM EST
Friday: Golf Channel-3:30 – 6:30 PM EST
Saturday: Golf Channel -1-2:30 PM EST, CBS – 3-6 PM EST
Sunday: Golf Channel -1-2:30 PM EST, CBS – 3-6 PM EST
Purse: $6.2 million total purse, $1.116 million winners share
2016 FedEx St Jude Classic Predictions, Picks, TPC Southwind Hardest Holes Breakdown
I am going to highlight four holes that could be a key to success this week at the FedEx St Jude Classic. Three holes are chosen due to their difficulty and one because it has served as a swing hole in past editions and will most likely do so again.
Hole No. 11 – Par 3, 162 Yards
The 162 yard par-3 11th hole tends to conjure up memories of 17 at TPC Sawgrass due to its island green. The pot bunker guarding the front edge will serve as savior and executioner for balls that just missed the water. Making par here is safe and many players will attempt to do just that and move on. Players cannot win the tournament here but they sure can lose it.
Hole No. 16 – Par 5, 530 Yards
The 16th is not being mentioned because of its difficulty but rather its position as a stroke gaining hole for the players. Missing opportunities here can cost players the event. As a par-5 that plays 530 yards it is a hole that most of the field can reach in two. It is uphill with a small well-guarded green but will yield a number of birdies and the occasional eagle this week. On Sunday an Eagle here just might decide it all. Watch out for 16 all week, drama will unfold here.
Hole No. 17 – Par 4, 500 Yards
The 17th hole will provide a challenge all week. As a par-4 playing almost 500 yards, a long tee shot will be required to set up a long approach into a narrow green surrounded by six bunkers. The long approach at 17 will require a carry over a creek which has seen its share of balls over the years. Bogie or worse could be in play on this hole at any time. The mindset of the field here is to just make par and that is the right way to play 17.
Hole No. 18 – Par 4, 453 Yards
The 453 yard par-4 18th will add to the drama at the end of the event. A dog leg left with water as a factor and bunkers in the fairway down the right side into an average sized green is the perfect complement to 17 at the end of a round at TPC Southwind. Anything from birdie to double are all in play at the finishing hole. Don’t be shocked if the FedEx St Jude Classic is decided on the 72nd hole.
2016 FedEx St Jude Classic Predictions, Picks, TPC Southwind Hardest Holes Player Selections
Let’s take a look at three players that I would predict to be right in the hunt coming down the stretch on Sunday at the 2016 FedEx St Jude Classic. Two players will seem more logical than the other but I am adding a player that just might surprise, basically a sleeper for success at the 2016 FedEx St Jude Classic Predictions, Picks, TPC Southwind Hardest Holes Breakdown
|Phil Mickelson||He is tuning in for the elusive major title that he has not managed to capture, the US Open. He modified his normal routine a couple of years ago by playing this week which is something he did not normally do. He finished tied for 11th in 2014, tied for 3rd last year and took runner-up honors in 2013. He has a top-20 and a tie for 4th in his last three starts, all of which with tougher fields. He is on the short list to win and break a drought this week.|
|Dustin Johnson||He is tuning up for another run at a major championship this week in Memphis. In his career at the FedEx St Jude Classic he finished in the top-25 in 2014, tied for 10th in 2013 and won the event in his first start here in 2012. He withdrew last year. He has finished in the top-5 in five of his last eight events including a 3rd at last weeks Memorial. Another on the short list.|
|Troy Merritt||This pick is as much about him as it is the relative lesser overall field. He in the top-20 four times this season including a tie for 3rd at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He was the runner-up here in 2014 in his first attempt and this course appears to fit his eye. He did miss the cut last year but rebounded with a 67 after an opening 75. He is a sleeper this week but should not be overlooked.|