Weekly PGA Preview: FedEx St. Jude Championship

Weekly PGA Preview: FedEx St. Jude Championship

This article is part of our Weekly PGA Preview series.

FedEx St. Jude Championship

TPC Southwind
Memphis, TN

The PGA Tour heads to Memphis for the start of the FedExCup Playoffs.

I mentioned last week that there were some big names on the outside looking in at a playoff spot, and while three of them -- Billy Horschel, Adam Scott and Justin Thomas -- all made a charge, none were able to make it in. Only Lucas Glover did enough to move into the top 70, and he did it in style, winning the Wyndham Championship. Now we will sit back and see if he parlays that into something bigger. 

As for what lies ahead in the coming weeks, well, things should be interesting. I hadn't looked at the standings in a bit, so I was admittedly shocked to see Jon Rahm still ahead of Scottie Scheffler. Those two have a large lead on the next player -- Rory McIlroy -- but remember, any win over the next two weeks is going to result in a significant gain in the standings. If either Rahm or Scheffler win in Memphis, you can pencil them in for the lead heading into the TOUR Championship. 

My instincts are telling me that anyone other than Scheffler hoisting the trophy in Atlanta would be a surprise, but after all this is golf -- a game full of surprises.

All odds via FanDuel Sportsbook as of 9:00 PM ET Tuesday.

LAST YEAR

Will Zalatoris shot a final-round 66 on his way to a playoff victory over Sepp Straka.

FAVORITES

Scottie Scheffler (6-1)

Scheffler is the best player on the planet right now, and I although I think he will win the TOUR Championship, this price in this spot is a little ridiculous -- especially with him missing the cut in his only start at TPC Southwind. Sure, he wasn't playing as well 12 months ago as he is now, but with limited data to go on, we don't know if his game simply isn't as suited for this course as it is others, or if he was just off last year. Whatever the case, there isn't enough value here.

Jon Rahm (17-2)

Theset two have been atop the betting board all year, so why stop now? Rahm started the year on fire but hasn't really done anything since his win at the Masters. Still, he remains atop the standings. That goes to show you just how well he played early in 2023. Rahm has shown the ability to get around this track, posting a T5 last time he stopped at Southwind. His form is still in question, though, so I would pass on this price.

Rory McIlroy (17-2)

McIlroy is in a similar spot to Scheffler, as his form appears fine but his only showing on this course leaves a lot to be desired. Again, we could fall back on his form at this time 12 months ago, but with such short odds, do we feel comfortable assuming he will fare better simply because he is playing better? He probably will, but at less than 10-1 this just doesn't seem like a smart play.

THE NEXT TIER

Viktor Hovland (20-1)

Hovland came close to making a major mark this season, but he fell just short in a couple of big events. He still has time to really make an impression, and he could do so by winning the TOUR Championship. For that to happen he will need to have some success over the next couple weeks to put him in prime position for the last event. Hovland has been pretty steady all season, so his form has never really been in question. He posted a T20 here this past year, so it looks like he can get around this course. At this number he's definitely in play.

Rickie Fowler (30-1)

Fowler could flame out over the next few weeks and it would still have been quite a year. Expectations for Fowler were growing heading into this season, but I doubt many pegged him for a top-10 spot in the standings entering the playoffs. Fowler has been steady all season and displayed some upside by winning the Rocket Mortgage Classic in July. Can he cap off his campaign with a playoff win? Why not? He has given himself plenty of chances to win in recent months, and I see no reason why he won't be in the mix again.

Wyndham Clark (30-1)

We had two surprise major winners this season, and the question of "what do they have left?" is bound to come up over the next few weeks. I feel that both -- Clark and the next man up -- have plenty of gas in the tank, and I'm expecting both to play well this week. Clark hasn't done much since winning the U.S. Open in June, but he hasn't fallen off the map either. He has treaded water for the past month or so, but now he's ready to strike again.

LONG SHOTS

Brian Harman (45-1)

This event will show us a lot about Harman. Manu players who win a major after a decade of trying would get complacent, and honestly, who could blame them? But is Harman different? If he still has the fire to compete in the playoffs, we should see a decent effort, as he posted a T3 at Southwind last year.

Sepp Straka (60-1)

Straka is not the most established player in the field, but he's got too much going for him to be this far down the betting board. Whatever the reason, you're getting outstanding odds on the guy who nearly won this event last year and happens to be playing excellent golf. Yes, he missed the cut at the 3M Open, but that came after a win at the John Deere Classic and a runner-up at The Open Championship. You can't blame him for last week's letdown.

ONE-AND-DONE LEAGUES

Highly-chosen Pick: Rickie Fowler - So who's left at this point? I can't imagine many OAD players have Scheffler, Rahm or McIlroy at their disposal, so who is the best player remaining? Since many people weren't sold on Fowler's return until later in the campaign, perhaps he's still available for a lot of teams. If so, he's certainly a good choice.

Moderately-chosen Pick: Sepp Straka - Straka should be available for most OAD players, and if you're one of them, consider yourself lucky because you've got a quality option. Straka showed at The Open that he can compete in a strong field, so he should not be intimidated in Memphis.

Lightly-chosen Pick: Brian Harman - There weren't a lot of great spots to use Harman this season, so it's likely he's readily available for a lot of teams. That doesn't mean many will use him, because I'm sure many OAD players are afraid of the major hangover. As mentioned earlier, though, I don't think that will be the case with Harman.

Buyer Beware: Collin Morikawa - What started as a promising season for Morikawa has largely been a disappointment, as he has recorded just one top-5 since the end of January. Also potentially concerning is his participation -- or lack thereof -- over the past six weeks. Morikawa has only played two events since the start of July.

This Week: Brian Harman - I have plenty of firepower to get me through the TOUR Championship, but I have to plot out my final three weeks to get the most of what I have. Unless something goes awry I plan to use Clark and McIlroy over the next two weeks, so if I remove them from the equation, I have to go with Harman in this spot.

Previous Results

TournamentGolferResultEarningsRunning Total
Wyndham ChampionshipJ.T. PostonT7$223,060$12,983,623
3M OpenHideki MatsuyamaT30$46,744$12,760,563
Open ChampionshipCameron SmithT33$84,112$12,713,819
Genesis Scottish OpenLudvig AbergMC$0$12,629,707
John Deere ClassicSepp Straka1$1,332,000$12,629,707
Rocket Mortgage ClassicChris KirkT14$160,000$11,297,707
Travelers ChampionshipHarris EnglishT60$44,600$11,137,707
U.S. OpenBrooks KoepkaT17$284,167$11,093,107
RBC Canadian OpenTommy Fleetwood2$981,000$10,808,940
The Memorial Tournament pres. by WorkdayCollin MorikawaWD$0$9,827,940
Charles Schwab ChallengeJustin RoseT12$178,350$9,827,940
PGA ChampionshipTony FinauT72$26,500$9,649,590
AT&T Byron NelsonAdam ScottT8$277,875$9,623,090
Wells Fargo ChampionshipMatt FitzpatrickT35$99,600$9,345,215
Mexico OpenBrandon Wu3$531,300$9,245,615
Zurich Classic of New OrleansBilly HorschelT11$93,633$8,714,315
RBC HeritageCameron YoungT51$49,133$8,620,682
Masters TournamentScottie SchefflerT10$432,000$8,571,549
Valero Texas OpenMatt KucharT3$525,100$8,139,549
WGC-Dell Technologies Match PlayTyrrell HattonT59$76,500$7,614,449
Valspar ChampionshipAdam HadwinMC$0$7,537,949
THE PLAYERS ChampionshipXander SchauffeleT19$275,000$7,537,949
Arnold Palmer Invitational pres. by MastercardKeith MitchellT24$163,000$7,262,949
The Honda ClassicShane LowryT5$288,120$7,099,949
The Genesis InvitationalMax Homa2$2,180,000$6,811,829
WM Phoenix OpenJon Rahm3$1,380,000$4,631,829
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmJoel DahmenT41$31,950$3,251,829
Farmers Insurance OpenJason DayT7$282,750$3,219,879
The American ExpressSungjae ImT18$110,000$2,9327,129
Sony Open in HawaiiCorey ConnersT12$138,908$2,827,129
Sentry Tournament of ChampionsRussell HenleyT30$208,500$2,688,221
The RSM ClassicMackenzie HughesMC$0$2,479,721
Cadence Bank Houston OpenTaylor MontgomeryT57$19,236$2,479,721
World Wide Technology Championship at MayakobaTom HogeMC$0$2,460,485
Butterfield Bermuda ChampionshipSeamus Power1$1,170,000$2,460,485
THE CJ CUP in South CarolinaRickie FowlerT34$54,180$1,290,485
ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIPMaverick McNealyT12$222,310$1,236,305
Shriners Children's OpenMatthew NeSmithT2$712,000$1,013,995
Sanderson Farms ChampionshipDenny McCarthyT39$31,995$301,995
Fortinet ChampionshipSahith TheegalaT6$270,000$270,000

FANDUEL PICKS

Upper Range: Scottie Scheffler ($12,300)
Middle Range: Wyndham Clark ($10,400)
Lower Range: Kurt Kitayama ($7,900)

SURVIVOR LEAGUES

Previous Results

TournamentGolferStreak
Wyndham ChampionshipJ.T. Poston5
3M OpenTony Finau4
Open ChampionshipCameron Smith3
Genesis Scottish OpenThomas Detry2
John Deere ClassicZach Johnson1
Rocket Mortgage ClassicTom Kim0
Travelers ChampionshipBrian Harman4
U.S. OpenBrooks Koepka3
RBC Canadian OpenCorey Conners2
The Memorial Tournament pres. by WorkdaySahith Theegala1
Charles Schwab ChallengeJordan Spieth0
PGA ChampionshipXander Schauffele14
AT&T Byron NelsonK.H. Lee13
Wells Fargo ChampionshipRickie Fowler12
Mexico OpenJon Rahm11
Zurich Classic of New OrleansPatrick Cantlay10
RBC HeritageCameron Young9
Masters TournamentScottie Scheffler8
Valero Texas OpenMatt Kuchar7
Valspar ChampionshipSam Burns6
THE PLAYERS ChampionshipJustin Thomas5
Arnold Palmer Invitational pres. by MastercardTyrrell Hatton4
The Honda ClassicShane Lowry3
The Genesis InvitationalAdam Scott2
WM Phoenix OpenHideki Matsuyama1
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmMaverick McNealy0
Farmers Insurance OpenLuke List3
The American ExpressAndrew Putnam2
Sony Open in HawaiiHarris English1
The RSM ClassicJason Day0
Cadence Bank Houston OpenRussell Henley0
World Wide Technology Championship at MayakobaBilly Horschel4
Butterfield Bermuda ChampionshipRussell Knox3
Shriners Children's OpenMatthew NeSmith2
Sanderson Farms ChampionshipDenny McCarthy1
Fortinet ChampionshipChez Reavie0

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Vara
Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2013. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.
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