WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational Preview

This week the TOUR heads to TPC Southwind in Memphis, for a 66 player WGC event that has every member of the OWGR Top 50 sans Jon Rahm in the field this week.  I am treating this tournament essentially like a major, and plan to target many of the usual suspects.  There is no cut, so some craziness on the weekend is to be expected.

This is the second edition of the WGC Invitational at TPC Southwind, and prior to 2019 it was the host of the FedEx St. Jude Classic, a full-field TOUR event.  The course is a Par 70, so Par 4 scoring will be important.  Additionally, according to @DataGolf, missing a fairway yields the second highest cost of any course on TOUR, so SG: Tee to Green will be critical this week.    

Top 20/10/5

Brooks Koepka (-165/+150/+305)

I have Brooksy at the top of my power rankings this week, and despite his expensive price, I think he is worth every penny.  While Brooks likes to promote a nonchalant attitude about his golf game, which is reflected in his underwhelming results in regular TOUR events, he does seem to care in tournaments that matter, such as majors and WGCs.  Brooks has played in 40 of these since 2015, and has an average finish of 13.15.  Yes, you read that correctly.  He is 31/40 to Top 20, 23/40 to Top 10, and has 19 Top 5 finishes with five wins.

To add to this further, Brooks is red hot, and loves TPC Southwind.  In his last five events, Brooks has finished T6-T5-T4-MC-T2, three of which were majors.  His course form is just as good, finishing T2 last year and was the 2019 Champion.  In the years before it was the WGC Invitational at TPC Southwind, Brooks finished T30-T37-T2-T3-T19 in full field events.  As much as Brooks feasts on Par 5s, he is almost equally as good on Par 4s, ranking T18th in Par 4 scoring this season.  I think it is the perfect storm for another vintage Brooks Koepka performance this week, as his current form, course form, statistical fit, and motivation are all in alignment.  Play him across the board.

Louis Oosthuizen (-145/+170/+330)

Louis Oosthuizen in 2021: 13/13, 8 Top 20s, 6 Top 10s, 4 podium finishes. 

Oosthuizen is red hot and finds himself once again in an elite field where he seems as comfortable as any golfer on the planet, largely due to his ability to grind out holes on difficult courses.  In WGCs since 2015, Louis is 11/22 in Top 20s and 8/22 in Top 10s.  In his two events at TPC Southwind, he has finished T6 in 2020 and T20 in 2019.  Additionally, Louis is T9 in Par 4 scoring this season.  There’s really not much more to say here other than I’m going to keep riding Louis until the wheels fall off.  The cherry on top: in his five WGC/Major stroke play events in 2021, Louis has finished T6-T26-T2-2-T3.  Not too shabby.  Play him across the board.

Patrick Cantlay (-125/+170/+335)

I would argue there is no better statistical fit for success this week than the 9th ranked player in the world, Patrick Cantlay.  Cantlay checks all the boxes as he is T5 in Par 4 scoring and 4th in SG: Tee to Green.  I also expect his elite scrambling ability (2nd on TOUR) to be a great benefit around Southwind’s small greens.  Additionally, he is a two-time winner at Muirfield Village, a course that correlates strongly to TPC Southwind.  

Ignoring a MC at The Open where he has never found much success, Cantlay was red hot, with form of T13-T15-Win-T23 going into his trip across the pond.  I expect him to find his form again this week.  His course history at Southwind is also appealing because it can be easily overlooked.  He was in 2nd at the 36 hole mark in his debut in 2019, before finishing T12, and last year got off to a disastrous start before finishing the weekend 65-67 to finish in a tie for 35th.  If Patrick Cantlay can find a way to put four, heck even three, quality rounds together, he will be on the front page of the leaderboard on Sunday. 

Daniel Berger (-130/+200/+385)

Berger is a guy who I feel like continually flies under the radar, and that is music to my ears.  He doesn’t have a big brand and has never won a major, yet his results speak for themselves.  In 2021, he has been as good as anyone, going 13/15 with 10 Top 20s, 7 Top 10s, and a win at Pebble Beach.  He hasn’t missed a cut since Augusta in April, and is fresh off a T7 at the US Open and T8 at the British Open.  

Additionally, there is not a course on Earth that Daniel Berger likes more than TPC Southwind.  He is a two-time winner in 2016 and 2017, and found the podium again last year finishing T2.  He is also T9 in Par 4 scoring this season.  I think this the perfect storm of current and course form, and I think he is a great bet across the board this week.  

Scottie Scheffler (-110/+215/+440)

I am going back to the well and playing the poor man’s Koepka again this week.  The Big Texan delivered for me at The Open, and I expect more of the same this week.  Scheffler has played in 10 career WGCs/Majors with an average finish of 11.2.  Again, yes, you read that correctly.  Since the WGC-Workday in February where he finished fifth, he is 12/14 with 8 Top 20s and 6 Top 10s.  In his only appearance in Memphis, Scheffler finished T15 last year.  Additionally, Scheffler is T9 in Par 4 scoring this year.  This seems like another perfect storm brewing, and I plan to play Scheffler across the board this week.

Bonus Pick:

Harris English

This is a pure upside play on a guy who likes TPC Southwind (2013 Champion) and has proven this year he has what it takes to win.  Harris has won twice on TOUR this year, along with a solo 3rd at the US Open, but is a boom/bust type player, only cashing Top 20 tickets 5/16 times in 2021.  I will be playing him small to win at 40-1 and to Top 5 at +550.  

Guys I’m Fading

Byson DeChambeau

His personal struggles have been well-documented on this blog, so I’ll spare readers a full summary of the details, but the end result of these struggles are bad form, a new caddy, and a very unhappy equipment manufacturer after his latest public meltdown at The Open.  Bryson’s form dating back to the Masters is as follows: T33-MC-T19-T26-T18-T38-T55-T9-T46.  For a guy priced as the 7th ranked player in the world, not very good.  Simply put, you’ve been paying Aston Martin prices and only getting a Hyundai in return.  His form at TPC Southwind is especially what concerns me this week.  He has played four times, including both WGC editions, finishing T30-T48-MC-T45.  This is not a place I see Bryson regaining his form at, and I fully expect his struggles to continue this week.  He is a great play to fade in matchups.  

Picks: Berger (-120), Cantlay (-140), Oosthuizen (-140) over DeChambeau

Hideki Matsuyama

One of my favorite bets in football is betting against a premier team after a big game, especially a loss, where their full focus and energy may not be there.  Hideki is in a classic letdown spot this week following the Olympics, where he narrowly missed out on a medal in his native Japan.  He now has to fly across the globe and try to brush off the disappointment of last week, while going up against the best of the best in the world.  Additionally, Hideki’s current form and course form are not encouraging.  Outside of last week in Japan, where he had every advantage in the world, his form has been very mediocre since his win at Augusta.  His finishes on TOUR since his breakthrough win are T26-T62-T23-T39.  In his two tournaments at TPC Southwind, Hideki has finished T20 and T43.  There are many better options in his price range this week, and at bare minimum, you are getting a freeroll on his motivation and fatigue.

Picks: Berger (-140), Oosthuizen (-155) over Matsuyama

Xander Schauffele

This truly pains me to write, but I just have to do it.  The X-Man is coming off the high of his career and now has to fly across the globe and get mentally up for this tournament.  There has to be some mental and physical fatigue after last week, and I just see this as a classic letdown spot. I simply like Brooks more than him this week, and by a significant margin, and to get him at plus money is a proposition I can’t pass up.  

Picks: Koepka (+105) over Schauffele

My Card:

Brooks Koepka

2U to win 1.21U to Top 20

0.5U to win 0.75U to Top 10

1U to win 1.05U over Schauffele

Louis Oosthuizen

1.5U to win 1.05U to Top 20

0.5U to win 0.85U to Top 10

0.7U to win 0.5U over DeChambeau

0.77U to win 0.5U over Matsuyama

Patrick Cantlay

1U to win 0.8U to Top 20

0.5U to win 0.85U to Top 10

0.7U to win 0.5U over DeChambeau

0.1U to win 2.4U (To Win Outright 24-1)

Daniel Berger

1.05U to win 0.8U to Top 20

0.45U to win 0.92U to Top 10

0.6U to win 0.5U over DeChambeau

0.7U to win 0.5U over Matsuyama

Scottie Scheffler

1.1U to win 1U to Top 20

0.35U to win 0.75U to Top 10

0.1U to win 2.9U (To Win Outright 29-1)

Matthew Fitzpatrick

0.51U to win 0.5U over Reed

0.65U to win 0.5U over Hatton

Jordan Spieth

0.75 to win 0.5U to Top 20

0.57U to win 0.5U over Thomas

0.5U to win 0.55U over Schauffele

Harris English

0.11U to win 4.4U (To Win Outright 40-1)

0.22U to win 1.21U to Top 5

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