FedEx St. Jude Classic – Fantasy Golfanac

Course Details

TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee
7,244 yards – Par 70 – Bermuda Greens

Tournament Stimpmeter: Around 12 feet … Above Average Green Speeds
Green Sizes: 5,420 sq. feet .. Small Green Sizes
Strength of Field Rating: ~200 OWGR … Weak Field Strength
Difficulty (Relative to Par): ~0.900 RTP … Hard Course

Fairways Hit (Field Average): ~55% … Hard-to-Hit Fairways
Greens in Regulation (Field Average): ~58% … Hard-to-Hit Greens
Driving Distance (Field Average): ~285 yards
Average Temperature: 88 degrees … Hot Weather

Tournament Angles

#1 Hot Weather
#2 Hard-to-Hit Greens
#3 Weak Field Events
#4 Less-than-Driver Courses
#5 Bermudagrass Greens
#6 Hard Courses
#7 Hard-to-Hit Fairways
#8 TPC Courses
#9 Par 70 Courses
#10 Performance in the Spring

Previous Winners

2017: Daniel Berger -10 over Whee Kim, Charl Schwartzel -9
2016: Daniel Berger -13 over Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Steve Stricker -7
2015: Fabian Gomez -13 over Greg Owen -9
2014: Ben Crane -10 over Troy Merritt -9
2013: Harris English -12 over Phil Mickelson, Scott Stallings -10
2012: Dustin Johnson -9 over John Merrick -8
2011: Harrison Frazar -13 over Robert Karlsson in a playoff
2010: Lee Westwood -10 over Robert Karlsson, Robert Garrigus in a playoff

54-Hole Leaders

2017: Rafa Cabrera Bello, Stewart Cink, Ben Crane -9
2016: Daniel Berger -10
2015: Fabian Gomez, Greg Owen -9
2014: Ben Crane -13
2013: Shawn Stefani -12
2012: Davis Love III, John Merrick, Nick O’Hern -6
2011: Robert Karlsson -11
2010: Robert Garrigus -11

36-Hole Leaders

2017: Sebastian Munoz, Chez Reavie, Charl Schwartzel -9
2016: Daniel Berger -9
2015: Brooks Koepka -9
2014: Ben Crane -12
2013: Harris English -10
2012: Jeff Maggert, John Merrick -4
2011: Robert Karlsson -9
2010: Lee Westwood, Garrett Willis -9

Important Interview Quotes

DANIEL BERGER: MY TWO PGA TOUR WINS were back-to-back at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, in 2016 and ’17. You hear about horses for courses, but I swear that isn’t the case for me. St. Jude is at TPC Southwind, a course I like a lot but don’t love as much as others. It’s not tailored for my game exactly. Other TPC courses suit me better—TPC River Highlands and TPC Louisiana come to mind. So again, it comes down to timing. It’s played the week before the U.S. Open, which is a good time to be peaking. –

Q. What do you remember about this course, what do you like about it?
I like everything about it. It just fits my eye. The grass is the same grass I grew up on playing in south Florida and the greens are perfect. So when you get perfect bermuda and people are worried about grain, this is 15 years that I’ve putted on this stuff. So like these older other veterans, players that have played out here for many years, it feels like I’m more of a veteran out on these greens. -2017

Q. Which of these holes appeal to you or fit your game?
All of them do. I would say one of the tougher holes would be 12. It’s a tough driving hole, but I hit a cut so it kind of works out well for me. I think other people are kind of going into that hole thinking, oh, what am I going to do here, but for me it just feels good going into it. -2017

Q. Given that you aren’t playing next week, do you think about saying I don’t need this for prep, I’m not coming?
I didn’t think about that because I’ve really come to enjoy playing here over the last four, five years. It’s been a lot of fun. Like I say, this has become one of my favorite golf courses. I think it’s one of the most underrated courses we play. -2017

Q. This is known as one of the hottest tournaments temperature-wise on the PGA Tour, kind of the beginning of summer. How is your play different from really warm
climate as opposed to earlier in the year when it’s obviously more sweater weather as far as ball flight, the way you prepare for it?
So the heat here can be an issue as far as stamina and maintaining focus throughout the round, but the heat also has the ball go farther, loosens up your muscles, you swing a little bit more fluid, a little bit more speed, you compress the ball easier, it goes longer and the wind doesn’t affect it as much. You have a much higher density altitude. So you end up playing much easier, I think, when you have this type of heat and so I think most golfers prefer it. -2017

Q. What is it about this course that suits your eye so well because you have played well here?
I think that the greens are small and guys are going to miss a lot of greens, and so scrambling is important and I’ve scrambled around here very well. And it’s difficult because you get bermuda rough, bermuda fairways, grainy grass, and if you haven’t grown up on it, fortunately I have, it’s hard to decipher, to figure out how the ball’s going to come out. I kind of worked my way around the greens getting up and down around the holes to salvage pars to shoot this round. -2017

Q. How much different was it today, the conditions, compared to when it’s usually hot and really, really firm?
It’s completely different. It was totally different golf course. I had a lot longer clubs in. Had to hit drivers off more tees. Usually you can hit a lot of 3-woods and chase them down there. Today it’s playing soft so you can be more aggressive off the tee. -2017

Q. With a course that might be challenging and might get faster as the weekend goes on, how much is the next couple days about avoiding a big mistake here or there to
kind of keep yourself at the top?
Yeah, you can’t make a double bogey out here. You’ve got wedges in your hand just about every hole, especially for how long I hit it. You’ve really got to take advantage of it, put it in the fairway. And we looked at some stats over the last two years and you’ve got to hit the greens out here, that’s the big thing. You don’t necessarily need to putt that great, but if you get in the bermuda rough and you’re chipping, that ball can come out any way. It could spin, it could come out jumpy, you don’t know what it’s going to do. -2017

Q. You played really well here the past few years. Why does this game suit your game?
It’s a ball striker’s golf course. I’m lucky enough I can hit 3-wood and 3-iron on holes where guys are hitting driver and 3-wood to the same spot. If you’re hitting 3-iron and 3-wood, you should be able to hit the fairway just about every time. I’ve done that the last two days and the last two years. So just need to hit a few more greens and kind of give myself a few more opportunities. -2017

Q. What a lovely start to the tournament, the FedEx St. Jude Classic. A 64, you had nine birdies and three bogeys. What was the key to your round today?
Well, I think the key to my round today was the key to anyone’s round who plays well here and that is you’ve got to keep the ball in front of you, meaning you don’t have to hit every fairway but you can’t really be off too much. There’s a lot of trees that are perfectly placed here to block you out, and the rough, the combination of the rough with these bermuda greens, you just don’t want to be coming in from the rough at all. I was in play most the time, not in every fairway but I was in play and gave myself some shorter distances into the greens when I could. I took advantage of some of my length, and then the putts were falling today and nine birdies is a lot of fun. -2017

Q. You haven’t been here since five or 10 years ago. What brought you back to Memphis?
Well, I nearly got a win out of playing here. I think I finished tied second in the end maybe, which was disappointing but it definitely left a good impression on me, the golf course. You know, it’s a lot to me like playing at Waialae in Hawaii. You have to play very much within yourself. It needs quality shots, although courses don’t look like these big brutal golf courses that we sometimes end up on. -2017

Q. Why does this course suit your eye so much? You made every cut here dating back to 2003. Like you mentioned, you won here three years ago.
I love the fact that you really can’t play from the rough on this golf course, you’ve got to play from the fairway. But I try to played aggressively, get as far up in the fairway as you can. The Zoysia fairways just fit my eye. You get such great lies off the Zoysia, but the greens are just perfect. I love grain, I love these bermuda greens. I just feel like I can just get the ball going on the right line, and so many good things happen when you’re on these just perfect greens. -2017

Q. What have you figured out about this course over the last couple days, putting together these two rounds?
To be fair, today it’s been like playing a new course. I really felt like it was much firmer, much faster. I’ve been pretty much hitting driver everywhere on the course these past few days, including practice rounds just because the ball was rolling nowhere. Today was a bit different. Greens also getting firmer and a bit quicker, so it’s like a live animal that’s changing. -2017

Q. For a guy that grew up nearby and playing this course since you were a teenager, what was it like having friends and family on hand as you made that charge?
Yeah, having the support from the Rebel Nation and all that kind of stuff, and friends and family, and mom’s co-workers, stuff like that, it’s been really cool. They never let me get down. Like whether I was playing good or bad in a stretch, they stayed with me, so that helped me a lot. -2017

Q. This is very familiar kind of weather to New Orleans where you picked up your first win this year. Think that plays to your advantage?
You know, I don’t know. Seems to be I like playing in the warm weather for sure and, you know, I guess I like these bermuda greens. I don’t know. Something about it. -2016

Q. Going back to 2013 what you did here then is you struggled through a year. That has to help with some good memories of what happened here.
Definitely, a golf course I’ve played well on. You know, in this game you want to go to courses that you have played well on. So, being here in the heat, the bermuda grass the zoysia fairways and the town is very nice. I feel like I have a lot of support. There wasn’t a lot of people out there but just walking around and people remembering who I am and all that is nice. So, I feel like — I feel like I’m kind of a home town kid over here. I do like it here and you know, it really is one of my favorite places on Tour to come. -2016

Q. You drove the ball really well today. That’s the key at this place.
It is. It’s a narrow golf course. You got to put it on short grass otherwise it’s very difficult to get close to the pin. I hit a lot of good tee shots and good iron shots in there. Game is pretty good. Got to keep going. The same again tomorrow. -2016

Q. Comfort level with you at all on this course here? You make the turn birdie, birdie, birdie.
Feels nice especially the greens and rough being bermuda and that’s what I grew up playing my entire career so it’s pretty easy for me to adjust and, you know, I didn’t have much time, played Oakmont Monday, came here Tuesday, Pro-Am Wednesday and just kind of got right into the thick of things and it’s nice to get off to a good start. -2016

Q. Most of the guys, that’s what they’re saying, this is not an aggressive golf course. You go after it here, it may pay off two out of ten times and get you in trouble a lot more than it will help out. Is that the kind of golf course it is?
It is. You’ve got to be able to put the ball in the right spots. To me it’s been expectations. My expectations been a little too high. When you’re able to kind of put it in the center of the greens, give yourself uphill putts, that makes this golf course a lot easier, and being in the fairway helps a lot. -2015

Q. Overall a good start. As you look at the conditions, I know it’s hot, not a lot of wind out there, but the way the course is playing, are you happy with the 67 when you look up at the leaderboard right now?
Yeah, you got to take it. You can shoot under par around this place because this place here can sneak up and bite you at any moment. They’ve got some pins tucked in places that you got to be careful what you’re doing. -2015

Q. You say this is a place you enjoy.
I’ve always loved coming here. Rendezvous is one of my favorite places to eat, obviously. I really enjoy this golf course. The greens — there’s something about the golf course that I’m always comfortable on. When I’ve struggled putting coming into this week, I seem to find it. It’s strange, so that’s a good time to also come to Memphis. -2015

Q. You talked yesterday about how great the course was. In terms of conditions today, was it ideal to go out there and try to put up a low number or still difficult?
I don’t think the golf course is very easy to go low on. I just think that it’s a challenging test and there aren’t any gimme birdie holes. You have two par-5s. Even though they’re reachable, the greens are very small and difficult to get out and you’re going to have to get up and down to salvage a birdie, usually. -2015

Q. Tough, tough track, though, from what you’ve learned in the past, because, like I said, you had to get yourself out of some trouble.
Yeah. Yeah. No, it’s always been narrow and always been — you always had to hit your ball well, but now with the bermuda greens, you got to know where you’re coming in from and missing it because of the ball bouncing. This is new to me. It’s not new to a few guys or anybody else. Last time I was here, everything was bent and soft. Didn’t matter where you were coming in from. The ball was going to stop. Different story now. -2015

Q. Thoughts on how you’re playing. This course is big and we know what’s going on next week.
This is home state event. Want to play well. It’s a course I love and course I grew up playing as I kid. Look forward to playing it in front of friends and family this week. -2014

Q. You’ve had some good rounds here, some success here. How much do you build on that as you tee it up for another year out here?
Played junior events here, I hosted a junior event here last year. I’ve been around the golf course a whole lot and am very familiar with it.
I remember back when they had bent greens playing here. I feel very comfortable. You know, Tennessee is home so it’s nice to be playing in front of friends and family. It’s always nice being back in Memphis and the golf course is great. -2014

Q. Tennessee Boy now, how much do you draw on that, realizing that you’re in your home state and trying to win the tournament here?
It’s really nice to be here in my home state. I’m 400 miles from home. Little deceiving to say home town event. But home state and I feel some support here. I know I grew up playing golf, amateur events here in Memphis. I know families here and my mom and my wife are here and yeah, it does. It’s certainly a home state event. -2014

Q. You know you’re going to miss greens on this golf course. It’s just the nature of the beast.
How do you approach not only get it up and down but also putting yourself in position to make that as easy as possible?
Its a tricky grass around the greens and, you know, even more so if you happen to short-side yourself. This grass I always find a little bit tricky. You got to try to hit some iron shots with a little bit of extra margin. You don’t have a whole of error. Hitting fairways is key, too, because that’s the only way you can control the ball coming in there, otherwise you’ll be chipping. -2014

Q. Retief, you talk about how this course sets up for you. I know you were 3rd a few years ago here. You seemed to have played well.
I like this golf course. It’s a golf course you need to hit a lot of different kind of shots off the tee. It’s not a golf course that you can just blast away at it, not that I can anymore anyway. So actually a lot of holes now doglegs I don’t have to worry about running out so that’s good.
The course is in really good shape. A little bit more rough throughout than there has been in the past. You pretty much have no chance of stopping it on these greens with the rough. -2014

Q. You head back home to Dallas. What’s the schedule look like now?
I’m moving to Nashville. I’m becoming a Tennessean. Come on. -2014 <-- Although he now lives in Nashville, he won this event before he lived in Tennessee.

Q. Explain to the folks how difficult it is playing out of rough to these tiny greens. It’s just the angles are really tough out here, aren’t they?
The angles are really tough. You try to launch it as high as you can, because if it lands off the green, you want to stay close to the green. You can’t control it coming out of the rough. You got to play short of the green, bounce it in or either try to hit it in the bunker and hope you can get it up and down out of the bunker. -2013

Q. Lot of the greens, the pin placement one reason, what did you see with the greens?
They’re small greens and very quick and they don’t hold very well. So, you have to be very precise. This is great because it’s a great test. The guy that strikes it well is going to have a big advantage, but when do you miss greens, you’ve got to be pretty sharp with your short game because the lies around the greens are some of the most difficult that we get. Very tight lies, grainy bermuda and sandy. If you catch it fat, there’s no margin of error. I hit some pathetic chips out there, then I kind of learned that you just have to putt it. I putted it from off the green and got those up and down no problem. I’ll do that tomorrow. -2013

Q. Talk about your rounds here. What is it about your success here?
I enjoy this golf course. I’ve always enjoyed it. With the bermuda greens, Dustin and I were talking, it’s like we putt at home. We’re used to fast, firm, bermuda greens. Some guys don’t like putting on them. Again, this is a lot like Hilton Head or some of the courses we play that you have to think your way around the golf course and it’s a challenge. I think it makes me focus real well. -2013

Q. Is this a place where course management is at a premium?
You have to hit the fairways. You have to hit it in the right place in the fairways on some holes to be able to get it close. You have to look at your pin sheet before you tee off on some holes. You have to make sure you know what you’re doing. You can’t come out here and smash it around.
That’s why it’s so impressive. I put a lot of stock in picking Dustin because of watching him play here last year. He can play golf. He just can’t go and smash the ball around and hope it turns out. You have to think your away around this golf course. It’s challenging but it’s very fair. -2013

Q. I don’t pretend to know your history here. Have you been here a lot and have you had success, or is this —
This is my 3rd year. I missed the cut my first year, then I finished the round 15th place, probably. Not sure but somewhere around that area. I had a great last round last year, shot 65. I like the golf course. It’s very, very challenging, so, you know, it fits my eye. I like a lot of things about it. -2013

Q. You also used your putter, had some long putts. Had that been working fairly well for you lately or something just started to click?
I grew up on greens like this down in South Georgia, fast bermuda greens. I’m very comfortable on these type of greens. I know when it’s going to be fast and it’s really fast and when into the grain, it’s really slow. I have a good handle on the speed. That’s really what helped me today, when you get the speed down on the greens, you can start making some putts. -2013

Q. Harris, can you talk about your background as it relates to this State. You’re a high school State champ. Does this seem like home?
Yeah, it does a little bit. I went to high school in Chattanooga at Baylor and I remember we had State over near Memphis before. I’ve never really been to Memphis. We had it, I guess near Jackson at the Bear Trace course.

Yeah, we won State. I have some good ties in this area. Got a lot of good friends here in med school here. I’ve been hanging out with them the past couple of days. It does feel like home. -2013

Q. We played on the back then, I think it was the Nike Tour awhile back. You seem to like hard golf courses, don’t you?
I do. I mean, I like golf courses that you can’t fake it on and you cannot fake it here. You got to hit the ball in the fairway, in the right spots on the greens. You short-side yourself, good luck. -2013

All quotes from unless otherwise noted.

Tournament Notes

2015: Temps were in the upper-80s to low 90s with moderate wind throughout the week. Dustin Johnson was a major WD casualty as he opened on a three-hole bogey train before busting out six straight pars and walking off at the turn, citing an illness. Matt Every also withdrew following a blowup round three (6-over 76), citing a wrist injury.

2014: Due to inclement weather, all four rounds were played with preferred lies in place. There was a 3.5 hour weather delay in R1. There were two delays in R2, a one hour delay and then a 2.5 hour delay. The third round was stopped a bit early (6.:45 pm) due to weather. Due to all the delays, golfers were not re-paired based on score before the final round.

The WDs started piling up as the second weather delay hit on Friday, forcing a suspension of play and golfers were required to come back Saturday morning to finish up Round 2. Cauley had four holes remaining but was out of the cut line equation so he backed out early. Paul Goydos was bogey-free through 16 holes on Friday when the horn struck. He didn’t return to attempt to finish that BFR, as he was still 4-over for the tournament. D.A. Points had just two holes remaining but called it quits early to head to Pinehurst (he was 6-over at the time). Charlie Beljan posted 6-over 76 in round one and did not return for R2. Garrigus launched a 9-over in the first round and cited a wrist injury for his WD. David Duval cited a wrist injury for his mid-round WD, “”Had to WD. Couldn’t hold into the club. Time to go home try and get better for the Deere and the Open.” Kris Blanks cited his lingering shoulder injury as the reason for his WD following round one, he was 5-over at the time. Cameron Beckman was 8-over through 27 holes at the time of his WD. Kevin Stadler cited a back injury after opening 4-over through 24 holes. Scott McCarron opted not to return for Saturday morning’s R2 continuation as he was 9-over through 34 holes.

2014: Temperatures were low 80s throughout the week, without much wind. Matt Bettencourt did not make it through round one. Luke List was the other WD casualty this year, he blew up with a 14-over through 27 holes.

Greens: Greens were changed from bentgrass to bermuda in 2004.

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