This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational
Course: TPC Southwind (7,277 yards, par 70)
Winner: $1,785,000 and 550 FedExCup points
The latest World Golf Championship tournament kicks off what will be a run of big events over the next several weeks. The stacked 78-man field will be teeing it up in Memphis for the second time in this event's history, as the tournament found a new home after being held at Firestone C.C. for 19 of the previous 20 years. TPC Southwind held an annual PGA Tour event from 1989-2018, but Memphis' connection with FedEx gave it full WGC status last year when it was former World No. 1 Brooks Koepka that triumphed. Newly crowned World No. 1 Jon Rahm will be one of the favorites this week, along with Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, who each have a shot at getting that No. 1 ranking back with a strong finish. Temperatures are actually only expected to peak in the mid-80's, which most of the players will certainly accept in Memphis in August. The problem, however, will be the high chance of storms throughout the event, which almost certainly will cause delays and tee time adjustments at some point. TPC Southwind is typically a pretty treacherous course, but the rains should soften the fairways and greens, putting the players back in full attack mode.
Note - The 2010-2018 winners won the St. Jude Classic prior to the tournament becoming a WGC event.
2019 – Brooks Koepka (WGC)
2018 – Dustin Johnson
2017 – Daniel Berger
2016 – Daniel Berger
2015 – Fabian Gomez
2014 – Ben Crane
2013 – Harris English
2012 – Dustin Johnson
2011 – Harrison Frazar
2010 – Lee Westwood
Key Stats to Victory
TPC Southwind was consistently among the highest number of balls in the water each year when it hosted a full-field PGA Tour event. On most of the holes that danger comes in right off the tee. Not only in the way of water hazards, but there were a number of bunkers that were redone and shifted to make the course more challenging after last year's tournament. If you are on with the driver, that is going to give you a massive advantage over those who are losing strokes with poor drives off the tees. Most of the greens are fairly accessible for the most part anyways, but with the rains expected this week it should make finding the correct quadrant of the greens that much easier for the best in the world. The green surfaces will be prepped to run around 12 on the Stimpmeter. Last year's winner Brooks Koepka led the field in SG: Putting at over 9.3, so I'm going to be looking to target players who are rolling it well on the greens right now. Scrambling is fairly straightforward around here, so I'll put SG: Around-the-green numbers on the back burner this week. The only thing that would trip players up is the change from bentgrass to bermudagrass.
FanDuel Value Picks
Bryson DeChambeau ($11,600)
This should be a great fit for a man who ranks first in SG: Off-the-tee and 14th in SG: Putting this season. The softer conditions should only benefit someone like DeChambeau who can carry it 320 easy over a lot of the trouble out here. The SMU product is also fifth in birdie-or-better percentage, second in scoring average, and second in SG: Total. Don't even look at his MC at the Memorial. Prior to that he had gone seven straight starts of T8-or-better.
Collin Morikawa ($10,900)
Anytime Morikawa is listed under $11,000 it is so hard to resist. The guy is just a machine with his irons and makes the game look so easy. Conditions this week should line up closer to what players faced at the Workday Charity Open when he won versus the Memorial where he ended up T48. Morikawa ranks first in SG: Approach and sixth in SG: Tee-to-green this season.
Daniel Berger ($10,500)
Berger clearly loves how TPC Southwind sets up, as he won in each of his first two starts in 2016 and 2017 when the event was the St. Jude Classic. You could see Berger's potential back then, but he struggled in the two years that followed. This year, however, he has turned it all around with the best season to date in his career. Berger had gone five straight events finishing inside the top-10 before a missed cut in his last start at the Memorial. I'm willing to throw that out, however, as the set up that week was such an outlier to what has become the norm on the PGA Tour. The Florida State product is 40th-or-better in every strokes gained category this season.
Tony Finau ($10,100)
After struggling a bit since the return to play, Finau has played well enough the last two weeks to have two victories added to his lone PGA Tour win back in 2016 at the Puerto Rico Open. Finau ranks eighth in birdie average and 12th in SG: Total this season. In fact the only strokes gained category in which the Utah native does not rank inside the top-30 is putting, but the flat stick has been extremely sharp these past two weeks. This is an absolute layup at $10,100 this week.
Longer Shots with Value
Billy Horschel ($9,500)
Horschel has one of the best records at TPC Southwind of any player in the field. He has finished top-10 in five of his last six starts at the Memphis track. The Florida product is also starting to round into form with finishes of T7 and T13 in his last two starts. Horschel is 22nd on Tour this season in SG: Total and working with a hot putter at the moment. We are also on bermudagrass, which he loves.
Abraham Ancer ($9,300)
Ancer has a lot of value at this price this week. He's a top-15 player on Tour going by SG: Total and scoring average. The driving, approach play, and putting all easily rank in the top 25 percent this season. Ancer has only missed two cuts all season to go along with seven top-15 finishes, including a pair of runner-ups. That first win is coming sooner rather than later.
Matthew Wolff ($9,000)
In the past Wolff's inconsistency scared me off, but after his third top-25 in his last four starts last week, I'm ready to buy in at $9,000. Off the tee the course sets up well for his fade, and like some of the other big hitters, he will be able to get aggressive with some of his lines. Wolff's putter has been a weapon of late as well, which bodes well for his chances. His game reminds me of a middle-class Bryson DeChambeau.
Ryan Palmer ($8,000)
Palmer is one of the better options down this far. He is having a very good season even at age 43 with four top-eight finishes and eight top-25's. He ranks top-35 this season in SG: Off-the-tee, scoring average, and birdie average. TPC Southwind clearly fits his game with three career top-10's. Palmer dropped four rounds in the 60's en route to a T8 the last time the Tour played on bermuda at the RBC Heritage.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
WGC's for the most part offer the strongest top to bottom fields we see all year. It gives you a lot of different options on how to build your lineup. You have the ability to go heavy up top and still be able to find serviceable players in the $7,000 range. You also have the ability to stack players around the mean of $10,000 and get quite a few players that have win equity. I suggest picking whichever of the top-five players you think is going to do the best, then filling out the rest of your roster with players in the $9,000-$10,500 range. Other names that were not listed above that I considered for their value include Tyrrell Hatton, Viktor Hovland, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Ian Poulter, and Kevin Na.