Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational
The PGA Tour welcomes back a loaded field after a down week in Minnesota gave the little guys a shot at a title. Michael Thompson earned a spot into the final World Golf Championship event of the season with his win, and he'll face off against many of the world's best this week.
TPC Southwind got the WGC bump last year, though it has long been on the schedule since 1989 as simply the FedEx St. Jude Classic. The Memphis, Tennessee track measures 7,237 yards to its par 70, a classic layout that features a variety of par 4 lengths, and, unsurprisingly, the two par 5s play as the easiest holes on the course.
There will be no cut with the shorter field, always a tricky wrinkle for DFS players looking to balance floor and ceiling projections in their lineups. The top names will all carry significant ownership this week given they have the highest raw win equity in any given week and now face even fewer opponents. At WGC events, it is more important to focus on ownership and building a unique lineup to maximize your return.
Storms are in the forecast with the heaviest stuff coming Wednesday into Thursday, so we'll get a potentially soft course for those getting out after the rain clears. With fewer golfers in the field, most will go off within a couple hours of each other, but for now, the play looks like we should lean toward the later starters if possible.
Let's dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: TPC Southwind
Distance: 7,237 yards
Fairways/Rough: Zoysiagrass tees and fairways, bermudagrass rough
|Season||Par||Yardage||Average||O/U Par Avg||Rank|
While it may look like this course played "easier" last year than in prior iterations, the gain in scoring performance is more likely a consequence of a stronger, smaller field than in any change in setup. With many of the best players in the world in attendance, naturally, the field performed better as a whole. Put more simply -- the Official World Golf Ranking assigns a "Strength of Field" rating to each event. In 2017, the FedEx St. Jude Classic's rating was 203. In 2018, it was 191. As a WGC event last year, the field was rated 688. So yeah, a bit stronger.
The course also took quite a bit of rain in the weeks leading up to the event last year, and while the greens may have rolled a bit slower than expected, they were still hard to hit. Southwind ranked as the 12th-hardest greens to hit in regulation on Tour last year and is perennially in the top 10.
The greens are Champion Bermuda, similar to the strains seen at TPC Sawgrass (THE PLAYERS Championship), Quail Hollow Club (Wells Fargo Championship), and the Country Club of Jackson (Sanderson Farms Championship), though our field this week will be much more familiar with the first two. Tiny greens that require pinpoint iron play, and a certain connection with a recent winner, also call to mind Colonial Country Club (Charles Schwab Challenge).
These stats will be the keys to success in the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind.
|Key Stats for the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind|
|Total Strokes Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Good Drives Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Around the Green|
|Strokes Gained: Putting (Bermuda)|
We really only have one year of data on this specific event with this kind of field, but we can glean from other WGC events, including this event's predecessor at Firestone County Club, that the best of the best tend to get it done. In a smaller field at a classic course, the cream will rise to the top. So we'll put extra weight on the best players by adding the total strokes gained figure into our model this week.
On a more particular level, approach and putting is the combination this week, as it tends to be much of the time. Approach shots are much easier to hit from the fairway, so we'll tack on good drives gained as our off the tee metric this week. A good drive is a tee shot that either lands in the fairway or misses the fairway but still reaches the green in regulation.
Inevitably, our golfers will need to get up and down in a few key spots this week. Scrambling, of course, is often dependent on putting, and those stats should be parsed out if possible to make sure we don't find a golfer chip poorly and then sink a 40-foot putt. Strokes gained: around the green will help us isolate who is consistently able to navigate trouble spots.
Course History Studs
Brooks Koepka won this event last year after a fourth-place finish at The Open Championship the week prior, lending further credence to his reputation as the golfer who plays up to the competition in the strongest fields. He had two other top-fives at the FedEx St. Jude Classic before it was converted to a WGC event. We've seen a few disappointing finishes from him recently, as well as some lingering injury issues, but we shouldn't be surprised to see him play up to his elite standards this week and next.
Dustin Johnson is a two-time winner at Southwind, taking the title in 2018 and 2012. In six trips to Memphis, he's never finished outside the top 25.
Daniel Berger got a breakout win at Colonial coming out of the COVID layoff, his first win on Tour not at TPC Southwind. He won back to back titles in 2016 and 2017, and after a missed cut in 2018, he did not qualify for the first WGC event, but he loves this track and was in with great form before missing the cut at the Memorial. A bogey on his 36th hole proved the difference in Ohio, and a bounceback is certainly in order this week.
Billy Horschel has five top-10s in his last six attempts at this course, including a T9 last year in the supercharged field.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.