Finding it 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. Certainly not a bad tournament, it just suffers from a weird spot on the calendar.

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!


TPC Southwind

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.


I’ve never been to Memphis and really don’t have any strong connects who know Memphis well. 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.

Last Year

Harris English outdueled a cadre of ballstrikers to capture his first title on tour. Of note, Patrick Reed was right in the mix until a final round 70 cost him some ground. The conditions were relatively windy and the scores reflected that. Pretty sexy leaderboard all things considered.

Fantasy/Gambling Insights

(all lines courtesy, the Official Bookmaker of

Horses for Courses

Lee Westwood (16/1) – We’re a little chalky this week, but you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes. He played real well his last time out (Players) and owns this track. Somehow only two appearances here, but made them count: won his debut and finished 11th the next year. A part of me thinks he wants to win here again while FedEx is the title sponsor just to stick his UPS deal right in their face.

Ryan Palmer (20/1) – Those odds are huge sign of respect. Solo 4th a year ago and a T3 the year before is the big driver here, along with a T5 at Colonial his last start. He’s your favorite ballstriker’s favorite ballstriker.

John Senden (25/1) – Form is great. T4 here in ’09 but hasn’t played in a few years. The fact that he’s pegging it this week says something about his form – dude is on a tear (hasn’t missed a cut since Feb. & eight of his last sixteen competitive rounds have been in the 60’s. Putting is great lately, relatively speaking.

Paul Casey (33/1) – Another guy we’re going to latch on to. A poor weekend cost him at Muirfield, but he bounced back at US Open Sectional Qualifying but it’s clear that he’s in form. Think about Kaymer after his poor weekend in Charlotte, and how he came out the next week at Sawgrass. Hoping for something similar from Casey.

Billy Horschel (40/1) – We’re back! A T10 here a year ago before his virtuoso ball striking performance in the U.S. Open, along with a T15 a week ago at the Memorial (despite a final round 74) has us thinking it’s time for that Horschel breakout we’ve been waiting for. Just need that putter to heat up a little bit!

Value Fliers –

Ben Martin (66/1) – Top 25’s in three of his last five starts, including a T3 at the RBC. A final round 78 at the Memorial dropped him into a T49. Was listed at 100/1 last night but still attractive at this price.

Robert Streb (66/1) – We staked our claim on Streb and won’t be retreating. A final round 76 at Muirfield soured an otherwise outstanding week in Dublin. A T39 here a year ago tells me that he’s at least familiar with the course, and he’s moved from 80/1 to 66/1 in the last 24 hours so the value is waning a bit.

Retief Goosen (80/1) – Love the Goose in this spot – he’s healthy and coming off a few week layoff. His track record at this event is SPORTY with a T3 in his last appearance (’11) and 4/5 made cuts.

Robert Allenby (80/1) – LOVES this place. Ignoring the WDl in 2010, he’s finished inside the top 13 his last four starts here. Ignoring recent form (MC at Memorial, couple to take the value from the 80/1 price.

Other names to consider for fantasyLuke Guthrie (made his debut here in ’12 and is trending in the right direction, could see him rolling this ), DJ (he’s been a slow simmer of late and track record is wonderful here, I’ll be putting a small play on him, but 14/1 is tough to swallow), Harris English (obvi), Boo Weekley (solid if unspecatular record here).

The Fringe

  • 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.
  • Bob Garrigus had this trophy in hand in 2010 until a DISASTROUS 72nd hole cost him the tournament:

  • Amateur golf impresario Scottie Scheffler in the field this week after a standout showing at the Byron Nelson. We’re getting to that point in the season where tournaments pimp their exemptions to try to build goodwill for guys to return in the future. File this away for The Travelers Championship, which specializes in this.
  • NLU favorite Will MacKenzie is in the wilderness all of a sudden. Since his T2 in San Antonio he’s missed five cuts in a row and hasn’t sniffed a round in the 60’s. Keep an eye on whether he rebounds or continues to scuffle. By the looks of his scores and his stats the slump isn’t attributable to any one area. He’s still 25th in the FedEx Cup and likely still stoked about his divorce, so things aren’t terrible.
  • Digging a little deeper into US Open Sectionals, I simply don’t understand why more guys don’t play at the second location in Ohio, Springfield CC. Yes there’s a ton of spots available in Columbus and Memphis, but those field’s are pretty much tour quality. There were maybe 5-7 top-notch pros in the Springfield field and the amateur depth wasn’t as pronounced as other sites. Beyond that, you can take it low on that course, which is a classic Donald Ross track without much length. Hit it in the fairway and putt well. Also can’t quite figure out sure why more guys didn’t play the Georgia site – Settindown is a tough track and that field was extremely shallow, much more so than in years past. Take the week off, head down here and then head straight up to Pinehurst. It’s all logistics, you just gotta think outside the box baby! This is the best day in golf and represents what golf is really all about at its core. Sectional qualifying is sweet.

Springfield CC layout. OLD SCHOOL.

  • Euro Tour heads to Austria this week! It’s sure to be a ridiculously weak field. However, I want to take a look at the field list for this event and the courses some of these guys are listed as playing out of: Robert Rock is playing out of his own golf academy. Some of these don’t even sound like real golf courses.