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PGA Tour Stats Review: Entering the St. Jude Classic

Jeremy Schilling

Schilling covers golf for RotoWire, focusing on young and up-and-coming players. He was a finalist for the FSWA's Golf Writer of the Year award. He also contributes to PGA Magazine and hosts the popular podcast "Teeing It Up" on BlogTalkRadio.

It's the week of the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis, which is also known as the final tune-up before next week's United States Open Championship. That means a strong field and complicated decisions for fantasy players. Here's our statistical look at this week:

History Lesson

The defending champion is Harris English, who defeated Phil Mickelson and Scott Stallings by two shots. In 2012 Dustin Johnson beat John Merrick by one, and in 2011 Harrison Frazar bested Robert Karlsson in a playoff.

Out of this group we recommend English. English won both here and in Cancun last year, and has had a solid 2013-2014 season, adding a five top-10s on top of that victory. Statistically, he's third in greens in regulation and seventh in scoring average.

We do not recommend Mickelson - more on him in a minute - or Frazar - who has no finish better than a tie for 58th this season.

What To Do With Phil Mickelson

Mickelson has had a very weird 2014. I bet most observers would sit there and go, he's not had a very good year at all, and yet he's got six top-25 finishes (including six in the top-20), but also three missed cuts and two withdrawals. He hasn't contended on the PGA Tour at all, has an FBI and SEC investigation swirling around him, and seems to be out of sort mentally - his common reasoning for his poor play in interviews.

And it's that right there which concerns me most about Phil. He's 106th in strokes gained-putting, 52nd in scoring average, 49th in scrambling, and 181st in putting from inside five feet. In other words: very un-Phil like. From a fantasy player's point of view, that's just not someone you need on your team at the moment.

Who's Playing

Notables include Paul Casey, Darren Clarke, Victor Dubuisson, John Daly, Rickie Fowler, Johnson, Zach Johnson, Graeme McDowell, and Patrick Reed.

Out of that list we like Fowler, Johnson and Johnson, all of whom we've profiled before. The other is Dubuisson, who lost in a playoff last week at the Nordea Masters on the European Tour, a tour on which he's second in driving distance.

Sunday Surgers

Thorbjorn Olesen -
Olesen saw a 23 spot jump on Sunday after a final round 68 gave him a tie for eighth at the Memorial Tournament. Olesen doesn't have enough PGA Tour rounds to be ranked in any statistical category but is hitting an above average 61.20 percent of his fairways.

Charley Hoffman -
Hoffman's Sunday 69 sent him 28 spots higher into a T19 finish on Sunday. For the week he ranked eighth in strokes gained - putting.