THE TPC Southwind, which this week hosts the 59th edition of the FedEx St Jude Classic, is one of the most challenging par 70s on the PGA Tour.
It was interesting to read that not one of the top 11 finishers last year were in the top 10 for either distance off the tee or fairways hit.
So hitting it long and accurate off the tee is definitely not important here but GIR and scrambling could well be.
The smaller than average greens also had a one-putt percentage of 43.13 which was the eighth highest on Tour so taking putting into consideration is also a must.
Taking what I said into consideration I really think Brooks Koepka is in with a great chance. I tipped him a couple of weeks ago at the AT&T Byron Nelson where he was beaten in a play-off by Sergio Garcia.
He has GIR stats of 67.83% (43rd), scrambling of 58.44 (114th) and one-putt average of 39.98 (82nd). Also his strokes gained:putting at the AT&T was 1.206 and if he can replicate that there’s not many in the field that will beat him.
Phil Mickelson also is one for serious consideration as I think he fits this place like a glove. Since 2013 he has finished T2-T11-T3 at TPC Southwind so seems to be comfortable playing here.
His GIR probably lets him down a wee bit but at 66.81% (65th) it’s not that bad. Scrambling is 62.76% (32nd) but it’s his putting that makes him a pick. His one-putt average is 43.75% (8th) and strokes gained:putting stands at 0.690 (5th) but if his stats for the latter are anywhere like they were at the Wells Fargo a few weeks ago (2.156) there will be no stopping big Phil.
I also like Ryan Palmer who finished a season’s best T3 at the Colonial two weeks ago. His GIR is 67.76% (45th), scrambling 57.85% (128th), one-putt average of 39.98% (82nd) and a putting average of 1.741 (29) certainly puts him in with a chance. In 2012 he finished T3 here and in 2014 was fourth so the course holds no problems for him.