I’m finding it more than tough to hide the lack of enthusiasm surrounding this event and keep myself from peeking ahead to next week’s US Open. If FedEx wasn’t deep in the sponsorship game (not just this tournament, see: the eponymous manufactured season-long points race) this “classic” in Memphis probably wouldn’t exist. However, it’s a good thing it does, as the St. Jude Children’s Hospital is a wonderful organization and benefits tremendously from the platform and funding this event provides. If I’m being kind, I would say that from a viewer’s perspective is certainly a lower tier event. Combine that with the fact that it suffers from a weird spot on the calendar, and you’ve got a weekend that I circle as a travel weekend. Add in that Tron is on his honeymoon, Randy has been working on his US Open Qualifier piece, and Neil has been absolutely on his grind getting our pro shop back up and running, forgive us if this preview is a little bit short and to the point.
An interesting tidbit on the recent history of the event – ponzi schemer extraordinaire Allen Stanford rolled in hard and picked up the title sponsorship from FedEx in ’07 (Woody Austin won that year – dude got his other people’s money’s worth!) and continued on for ’08. After rescuing the event in ’09, dropping it in ’10, FedEx eventually picked it back up and here we are today. If you’re unfamiliar with Allen Stanford or Stanford Financial Group, go ahead and read this, it’s well worth your time – hell there’s even a Vijay Singh appearance!
Federal pound-me-in-the-ass Penitentiary? Sign Me Up!
Par 70, ton of long par 4’s, and small greens. Here’s a hole-by-hole. Of note, the 14th hole is a beast – 240 yards to a small green over water. And the 17th and 18th holes provide a great finishing test – just long par 4’s. The list of winners since the event moved to Southwind in ’89 is stout: Nick Price (twice), Greg Norman, Fred Couples, Jay Haas, Justin Leonard (twice), David Toms (twice), and last but certainly not least, Woody Austin.
Bottom line, it’s a TPC course. It rates in the middle of the pack in this Golf Digest survey among tour players, but visually on television you’re left wondering aloud why the tour goes to Tennessee in June. You can almost see the humidity on your set, and you’ll get more than your fair share of unfortunate sweat stains that will make you question whether or not HD is really necessary for an event like this. The pros seem to like this place more than I do, but do any of them have a infrequently updated, low traffic, obscure golf blog? That’s what I thought.
I’ve never been to Memphis and really don’t have any strong connects who know Memphis well. I dated a girl that went to school there, and she turned out to be the worst person ever. That’s my tie to Memphis.
When I think Memphis I think BBQ, Z-Bo, Casey Wittenberg, Three 6 Mafia/Project Pat, John Grisham, and John Calipari’s sleaziness. Surely the frat vibe will be in full force as we’re in the deep south and Ole Miss is right up the road.
Ben Crane won and nobody noticed. The most notable name in the top 10 for me is Horschel.
Billy Horschel (16/1) – That’s some damn respectful odds, but he played well here last year as noted above, and I have a weird feeling about him peaking at the U.S. Open, so I think he’s worth the play this week as well.
Ryan Palmer (16/1) – Top 5 here in 2013 and 2012, and coming off a top 10 in his previous start. He’s due.
Patrick Rodgers (65/1) – He’s locked up special temporary membership, and I already claimed he’s going to win soon, so it’s time to start backing him.
Other names to consider for fantasy – DJ (he’s been a slow simmer of late and track record is wonderful here, Harris English, Webb (solid record here, loves to pulverize weak fields), Koepka, and Donaldson are the names that stick out for fantasy purposes. But let’s be clear: The FedEx St. Jude Classic is NOBODY’S fantasy.
- #TourSauce shirts have finally arrived! We apologize for the delay, but really, we’re sorry we’re not sorry. It takes a lot of work to get this up and running in an efficient manner, so another shout out to Young Neil for getting this taken care of. The classic gray NLU shirts are also back in stock if you’re looking for a Father’s Day gift that your dad probably won’t understand. But seriously, if you want to help out with the costs of running an ad-free site, a sponsorless podcast, and bad gambling habits while still getting something in return, it is very much appreciated.
- With the U.S. Open going to the west coast this year, it’s not a coincidence that the field is even weaker than usual. Don’t be surprised to see a big name guy press the eject button hard on Friday if things are going his way so he can get a few extra days to recover and practice out west (Practice!? We talkin’ about practice!?).
- Somehow the purse for this event has actually decreased since 2007/2008 – how is that possible, considering the explosion in Tour purses over the last decade? It’s back to the levels of 2007/2008 this year ($1,080,000) to the winner, but I’m hoping this has something to do with more money going to the foundation?
- I never got around to posting the May Mailbag because most of it was a love letter to Rory talking about how he’s going to blow the field away at Chambers Bay. I predicted Spieth to win the U.S. Open before the season started so I’m going to just stick with that.
- I’m in Budapest this weekend, and I’ve done next to no research. Anyone out there have any tips? Leave them in the comments below.
- Bob Garrigus had this trophy in hand in 2010 until a DISASTROUS 72nd hole cost him the tournament: