The PGA Tour heads to Memphis, Tenn., this week for the renamed WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind.
The season's final World Golf Championship - formally held at Firestone Country Club in Ohio - takes over for the old FedEx St. Jude Classic. The no-cut event will host a 63-man field loaded with the game's best players.
TPC Southwind has produced a variety of winners over the years. For the purposes of looking into the players' history at the course, only previous St. Jude Classics will be utilized, rather than the WGC-Bridgestone, which Justin Thomas won last year.
|Player (Odds)||WGC wins|
|Dustin Johnson (9-1)||6|
|Rory McIlroy (9-1)||2|
|Brooks Koepka (10-1)||0|
|Jon Rahm (12-1)||0|
|Justin Thomas (14-1)||1|
Dustin Johnson is a two-time winner at TPC Southwind and has more experience playing the course than the other favorites. He's also made it a habit of winning WGCs, including one this season when he won in Mexico by five shots.
Rory McIlroy is coming off a disappointing missed cut at The Open, making him perhaps the most motivated player in the field to turn the page and come out firing. He's collected two wins and a runner-up after his last four missed cuts.
Brooks Koepka has played TPC Southwind the last five seasons, collecting two top-three finishes over that stretch. He could wrap up the No. 1 seed heading into the FedEx Cup playoffs with a victory this week.
Neither Jon Rahm nor Justin Thomas has played in Memphis, but both possess all of the required skills to win. Their elite off-the-tee games will put them in position to birdie the difficult par 4s and reach the par 5s in two.
It's a tough week to identify value at the top of the betting board, as all five players line up perfectly for the test at TPC Southwind. However, given his odds are the longest of the group and his form is trending toward a win, Thomas at 14-1 is the logical choice.
The odds on most of these players are roughly the same as they would be during a full 156-man field at a major championship, making this area of the board flush with value.
A large group of players falls in the 20-1 range, including Justin Rose (22-1), no-cut killer Xander Schauffele (22-1), and Open Championship runner-up Tommy Fleetwood (22-1). All three showed well at Royal Portrush last week, but the trek over from Northern Ireland after a difficult week in poor weather conditions could be a lot to overcome.
The value lies right below the previously mentioned group, headlined by Bryson DeChambeau (28-1) and Hideki Matsuyama (33-1). Neither player had to play two extra rounds in difficult conditions - and both had more time to prepare for TPC Southwind - after missing the cut at The Open.
DeChambeau rarely plays well in majors, but he does show up for regular PGA Tour stops that reward distance off the tee and precise iron play. He finished second at the 3M Open before heading overseas and appears to have his game figured out.
As for Matsuyama, few golfers in the world are playing as well as he is from tee to green. His only two missed cuts in the past 12 months have both come at the Open Championship.
In a field of only 63 of the game's best players, the long shots aren't nearly the caliber of golfer you'd typically see priced over 80-1 in a regular Tour event.
Matthew Wolff (80-1) recently won the 3M Open in dramatic fashion with an eagle on his final hole. The WGC-FedEx St.Jude will be the young star's first taste of a world-class field, one he'll surely rise to the challenge for.
Bubba Watson is getting no respect at 100-1. His track record of PGA Tour success is well-documented, although his victories tend to come on certain courses. It's yet to be seen how he handles TPC Southwind, but if fellow lefty Phil Mickelson can find success here, maybe Watson can as well.
Keith Mitchell (200-1) and Max Homa (250-1), when clicking, are two fantastic drivers of the ball who typically play better on Bermuda grass. They're two worthy fliers with top-10 odds of 11-1 and 16-1, respectively.
Justin Thomas (14-1)
"I feel like I'm very, very close to winning again."
Let's hope Thomas is right. He showed flashes of his early-season self prior to heading overseas, but he couldn't get a putt to drop. Now, the defending champion - at Firestone - returns stateside with two top-11 results under his belt from the Scottish Open and Open Championship.
Additionally, playing on Bermuda grass will only help the Florida resident's chances. If his ball-striking form continues and his putter heats up, it's hard to imagine Thomas not in contention Sunday.
Bryson DeChambeau (28-1)
DeChambeau kicked his season into another gear at this time last year and appears ready to do the same in 2019. Ignoring his missed cut from The Open - as he's yet to figure out major championships - it's easy to see how good he's been since the U.S. Open.
Prior to Royal Portrush, the 25-year-old turned in four straight tournaments of three or more strokes gained: putting, and three straight events with 2.8 or more strokes gained with approach shots. His elite long-iron play will give him an edge over the field at TPC Southwind, where he looks primed to collect WGC win No. 1.
Bubba Watson (100-1)
If the books are going to hang a 100-1 number for Watson, you pretty much have to blindly bet on him regardless of his form. He's perhaps the most peculiar player on Tour, as eight of his 12 career wins have come on Augusta National, Riviera, or TPC River Highlands.
How comfortable Watson is at TPC Southwind is unkown, but if he drives the ball like he's capable of, he'll have plenty of chances to give himself birdie putts. If his flatstick shows up, 100-1 is a steal.
(Odds courtesy: Bodog)