TPC Southwind was catapulted into the public eye when the St. Jude Classic became a World Golf Championship event back in 2019, and all the big names were suddenly hitting up Memphis. FedEx then took on the sponsorship of the old WGC Invitational, which had been discontinued at Firestone. For the 2021/22 season, it became a FedEx Cup showdown event called the FedEx St. Jude Championship.
FedEx St. Jude Championship Event Overview
The 2022-23 PGA TOUR season marks the 17th edition of the FedEx Cup, which is a season-long competition culminating with the FedEx Cup Playoffs – and is now a series of three events that determines the season’s champion. The FedEx St. Jude Championship has been installed as the first of the three playoff events. The top 70 players in the FedEx Cup standings (following last week’s Wyndham Championship) have made it to TPC Southwind, and the playoffs feature a progressive cut with fields of 70, 50, and 30 respectively for the three tournaments.
The 70 guys teeing it up at the FedEx St. Jude Championship 2023 are looking to move on to the season’s final stop at the Tour Championship, where they could potentially get their hands on $18 million. Justin Thomas is the most notable player to miss out this year after having his bubble burst at Sedgefield. The total bonus pool for the FedEx Cup Playoffs is $75 million, with the FedEx Cup champion earning the big prize in Atlanta. Points earned during the regular season will contribute to the FedEx Cup and carry over to the first two playoff events.
As mentioned previously, the FedEx Cup Playoffs feature the progressive cut, with fields of 70 for the FedEx St. Jude Championship at TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tennessee. Fifty players are pegging it up for the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields Country Club, Illinois, and 30 players will fight it out in the Tour Championship at the Donald Ross designed East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta - where the FedEx Cup Champion will be crowned. It’s probably no coincidence that the big three dominating world golf right now – Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler, and Rory McIlroy - are 1-2-3 in the standings ahead of the FedEx St. Jude Championship. There are no traditional cuts in FedEx Cup Playoffs events. The first two playoff events award 2,000 points to the winner, which is quadruple the points of regular season events.
The course - TPC Southwind
TPC Southwind is a classic tree-lined parklands track played as a par 70 measuring 7,243 yards. It usually plays firm, and is known as a ‘shot-maker's paradise’, where a fine short game, imagination, and creativity are needed. TPC Southwind is an underrated course that’s now getting recognition since it’s elevation in status. Key features include small and firm Bermuda greens with some runoffs, a big, tall, and bushy treeline that shapes narrow fairways, and there’s water trouble with a risk vs. reward theme throughout the property.
Key Metrics and Premiums at TPC Southwind
• Driving accuracy
• Mid Irons
• Scrambling and around-the-green play
• Wind play
• Strong mentality
• Holing out
What kind of player profile are we looking out for at the FedEx St. Jude Championship?
Course fit is king when it comes to narrowing down the field for potential winners of golf tournaments, and this risk vs. reward style venue is known as a shot-maker’s paradise. It’s an all-around test of skill, but short-game wizards with creativity around the green have strong records at TPC Southwind. The likes of Billy Horschel, Xander Schauffele, Daniel Berger, and Phil Mickelson can attest to that. The target player profile is someone with accuracy off the tee who is smart with club selection, while top scrambling skills and around-the-green play will be required. Efficient Iron Play will be a prominent theme throughout.
Fedex St. Jude Championship - The field and the market
Will Zalatoris captured a win here in 2022. Sepp Straka (+6317*) is making waves right now across the tours, but he lost out in a playoff to Zalatoris in that event. It’s also interesting to see that two of the latest winners on tour tied for third at TPC Southwind last year: Brian Harman (+4146*) was the only man to finish ahead of Straka at the Open Championship, while Lucas Glover (+9392*) was a comeback winner at Sedgefield a few days ago.
The top five in the FedEx Cup standings are Jon Rahm (+982*), Scottie Scheffler (+635*), Rory McIlroy (+1010*), Max Homa (+4333*), and Wyndham Clark (+3580*). Claret Jug winner Brian Harman comes in at number six after his Open Championship success. Some notable players to make it into the bubble over the weekend at Sedgefield were Hideki Matsuyama (+5495*) and Cam Davis (+10696*). Ben Griffin was the last man in at number 70. Keegan Bradley (+8232*) and Rickie Fowler (+3251*) are both on the comeback trail this year, and alongside Tony Finau (+4320*) and Viktor Hovland (+2304*), they round out the top 10 of the FedEx Cup standings. Expect to see plenty of movement and volatility up and down the rankings during the playoffs. With more points on the line for FedEx Cup events (2,000 points), anyone can still make it up into the top echelons ahead of the Tour Championship at East Lake.
Who could become the FedEx Cup champion?
Of the outsiders here, we’ve got to like Sepp Straka (+6317*). A convincing win at the John Deere Classic was backed up by a ball striking masterclass at Royal Liverpool, where the big Austrian finished in a tie for second place. A tied third place finish here with Glover last season says he likes the course, and it’s all to play for with Sepp trying to land a Ryder Cup berth for the Europeans. Straka was also T7 at the PGA Championship this year. The Austrian is currently 15th in the standings, and his ball striking game is on point this season – he ranks 21st in Total Driving and 15th in strokes gained approach.
If we want a bigger name at a shorter price, sitting just one place behind Straka in the standings is Xander Schauffele (+1929). He’s been a little quieter this season, so we might see his prices a little inflated throughout the playoffs. What I like about Xander is his course fit and history at two of the three venues. Xander has unrivalled form at East Lake, and a sixth place finish here at TPC Southwind in 2020 doesn’t tell the story at all. He arguably should have won the tournament, but faltered down the stretch due to some short putting woes. Xander has finished in the top 20 in all four majors this year, and two of those finishes were top 10s. He’s fifth in approach play and 12th in strokes gained: tee to green. The putter looks better too, and he’s ranked seventh in strokes gained with the flat stick.