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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Twofer Tuesday: WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational

Twofer Tuesday heads out to Memphis this week... but we're not sure exactly who the defending champ is!

Justin Thomas with the Gary Player Cup

Last year's WGC winner was Justin Thomas, who won the (then) WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Ohio. Meanwhile, the winner of the FedEx St. Jude Classic, held at TPC Southwind in Tennessee (this week's host course), was Dustin Johnson.

So who do we say is the defending champion at the new WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind? I'm going with Justin Thomas since this is the WGC now.

But given that DJ has six WGC titles, second only to Tiger, I guess you could make an argument either way.

It's a bit tricky making my picks this week, simply because many of the top players didn't come to the Memphis event before it became a WGC. As it stands, a large number of the field from THE OPEN has made the trip from Northern Ireland to play this week. At 7244 yards (about 200 yards shorter than Firestone), this par-70 track presents a different challenge than the players have seen. (Bear in mind that the WGC in Mexico was a short course but complicated by higher altitude.)

Big names after a major (with major travel) at a course they haven't played before... this one could be up for grabs.
  • My Top10er -- once again -- is Brooks Koepka. Brooks has played TPC Southwind a lot and has posted Top5s there. Given that a WGC is almost "major enough" to get his attention, and after that four bogey start at Portrush on Sunday, I could see him coming to Memphis determined to get a win. I'm just not sure how much energy he'll have, so I still see this pick as something of a gamble.
  • And my winner is Justin Thomas. To the best of my knowledge he's never played TPC Southwind before, but he's been improving steadily since coming back from his wrist injury and he played some of his best golf last week. (In fact, it was his best-ever finish at THE OPEN.) Again, I don't know how much energy he'll have this week but I look for him to play with some serious confidence.
GC's coverage starts Thursday at 2pm ET while PGA TOUR LIVE starts at 9am ET. There are only two events left in the regular season after Memphis, so the pressure is on to get those FedExCup points. TPC Southwind has often given us surprise winners, so it'll be interesting to see if the WGC setup gives us more of the same.

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