FedEx St. Jude Championship: Best Bets, Daily Fantasy Golf Picks, Course Key Stats, and Win Simulations
The FedEx Cup playoffs are set to begin this week with the top 125 in the standings heading to Memphis for the FedEx St. Jude Championship.
Golfers will need to get inside the top 70 of the FedEx Cup standings in order to play next week, so every point counts in Memphis.
Let's dig into the course, the key stats, the win simulations, and the best bets of the week.
You can jump ahead to any specific section of the piece you would like.
TPC Southwind Course Info & Key Stats
Distance: 7,243 (average: ~20 yards shorter than the average par 70)
Fairway Acres/Yardage Ratio: 3.0 (narrow: PGA average is 4.2)
Average Green Size: 4,300 square feet (small: ~70% of the PGA average)
Green Type: Bermuda
Past 5 Winning Scores: -16, -13, -16, -19, -10
Past 5 Cut Lines: N/A, N/A, N/A, E, +1
Key Stats (in Order of Importance): Strokes Gained: Approach, Proximity from 150-175 Yards, Strokes Gained: Putting on Bermuda, Birdie or Better Rate, FedEx Cup Standings
You'll need to be careful in digging for past stats and trends for the FedEx St. Jude Championship. TPC Southwind is the host course, and it has hosted a Tour event since 1989. However, it'll be easy to get this week confused with the first round of the FedEx Cup Playoffs in the past, which came at various courses. That's how the PGA Tour's website is treating things at times, so just take care.
Also, TPC Southwind has hosted a no-cut event (the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship) the past three years, and that's a select field.
Anyway, what matters for TPC Southwind? Irons. There's a much larger emphasis on strokes gained: approach at this course than others on Tour, and we see higher-than-average rates of approach shots from 125 to 200 yards, as well.
Despite narrow fairways, this course can be overpowered. Last year, Abraham Ancer won while ranking 4th in accuracy and 56th in distance among 66 golfers, but of 11 golfers to tie for a top-10 place, six were outside the top 35. This will, overall, create a weak relationship with any of the driving stats, but shorter hitters can contend if the rest of the game is in order.
I am factoring in FedEx Cup standings -- but probably not how you think. Guys need to get inside the top 70 to advance to next week, and it's best not to chase those on the outside looking in. The better golfers are ranked better and should be treated as such. Just 7 of 152 (4.4%) golfers ranked 71st or lower in the first round of the playoffs finished in the top-10 to kick off the first round of the playoffs.
Golfers With Great Course/Event History
The best strokes gained averages for golfers at TPC Southwind with at least two starts:
- Trey Mullinax (+2.03)
- Chez Reavie (+1.75)
- Webb Simpson (+1.72)
- Seamus Power (+1.65)
- Rory McIlroy (+1.54)
- Justin Thomas (+1.37)
- Billy Horschel (+1.29)
- Sam Burns (+1.27)
- Hideki Matsuyama (+1.20)
- James Hahn (+1.20)
- Shane Lowry (+1.18)
- Scott Stallings (+1.13)
- Rickie Fowler (+1.04)
- Jordan Spieth (+1.03)
Past winners (at this course) in the field:
- Justin Thomas (2020)
A lot of past winners here are no longer on the PGA Tour.
Win Simulations for the FedEx St. Jude Championship
Here are the most likely winners this week, according to my win simulation model, as well as their golf betting odds this week at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Win Simulation Analysis and Best Bets for the FedEx St. Jude Championship
The model, while having Rory McIlroy as the favorite, finds him now overvalued at +1000. Cameron Smith, Patrick Cantlay, Sungjae Im, Shane Lowry, and Billy Horschel are the ones providing even or plus-value among the borderline favorites.
I'm building my card around them, Horschel, and Russell Henley and won't really be betting outrights on long shots -- just top-10s and top-20s -- given the field strength.
Daily Fantasy Golfer Picks for the FedEx St. Jude Championship
All stats cited below originate at FantasyNational. Strokes gained data includes stats from the past calendar year and is adjusted based on my field strength and recency tweaks. Putting surface splits also come from FantasyNational and include the past 50 rounds when possible -- unless noted. All ranks and percentile ranks are among the field. References to my combo model refer to a combination of long-term, field-adjusted form, key stat performance, and hole-by-hole-level strokes gained data.
Best of the Best
Rory McIlroy (FanDuel Salary: $11,900 | Golf odds Win Odds: +1100 | FedEx Cup Rank: 6th) - McIlroy has a good history at TPC Southwind and is in the best form on the planet (depending on how you define it, sure, but it's hard to argue that point). Rory possesses 98th-percentile ball-striking and actually 83rd-percentile expected putting numbers while being about average on bermuda greens. He couldn't clinch a major, so the last big chance he has for a huge splash is to win the FedEx Cup Playoffs. I think that's plenty of motivation for him to lock in for three weeks.
Xander Schauffele ($11,000 | +1800 | 4th) - It's a great salary for Schauffele this week. He's an 84th-percentile bermuda putter and an 87th-percentile expected putter who is one of the more accurate (72nd-percentile) drivers among those who hit it far. Schauffele's irons are in the 97th-percentile, and if it sounds like these are all good numbers, it's because they are. He's a great building block -- or a second stud for those more top-heavy lineups.
Others to Consider:
Scottie Scheffler ($11,700 | +1600 | 1st) - Has inside track to FedEx Cup Championship; elite ball-striker. Two top-15s here despite weak putting.
Matt Fitzpatrick ($10,900 | +1800 | 14th) - Is accurate and has good irons; 97th-percentile bermuda putter, too.
Sungjae Im ($10,300 | +2900 | 10th) - Accurate, good putter, in form.
Sam Burns ($10,100 | +3400 | 3rd) - Bermuda Burns is back, baby. Third in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, Burns is positioned for a stellar end to the season and should set up well this week. He's an elite bermuda putter (98th-percentile) and has plenty of distance to overtake the course when given the chance. Burns also holds 88th-percentile adjusted irons.
Billy Horschel ($9,900 | +4200 | 18th) - A massive PGA Tour supporter, Horschel should start off the FedEx Cup Playoffs hot this week at a course that rewards bermuda putting (93rd-percentile) and accuracy (88th). The irons aren't great (29th), yet that hasn't stopped him from having success at TPC Southwind in the past. He has the most career strokes gained at this course among the field.
Others to Consider:
Russell Henley ($9,900 | +4500 | 33rd) - Accurate and has impeccable irons. Great fit this week and a plus putter on bermuda.
Max Homa ($9,700 | +5500 | 13th) - Awful course form despite a good fit; playing better than ever before; field drops off here massively.
Taylor Pendrith ($9,200 | +9500 | 62nd) - Near top-70 cutoff so needs a good showing; super long off the tee.
Mito Pereira ($8,500 | +12000 | 39th) - Sitting well within the top-70, Pereira should fit TPC Southwind well as someone who is accurate (71st-percentile) with good irons (91st-percentile). He's seemingly always due for positive putting regression based on expectations (+0.22 per round) versus actual results (+0.10). I see a big drop off after the $9,700 mark this week, so we may as well be open to saving more salary, too.
Chris Kirk ($9,000 | +10000 | 54th) - Kirk checks the boxes as being a plus in accuracy (84th percentile), bermuda putting (58th percentile), iron play (63rd percentile), and long-term overall form (72nd-percentile) despite a value salary. The small-but-trustworthy sample sizes for him look great, and he's got the tools to finish well among this field and move on to the next week.
Others to Consider:
Scott Stallings ($8,900 | +11000 | 42nd) - Elite on bermuda (88th percentile), in form, good history at TPC Southwind.
Harold Varner ($8,800 | +12000 | 60th) - Neutral putter on bermuda; 89th-percentile irons.
Keith Mitchell ($8,500 | +8000 | 38th) - Well within the top 70; an odds-vs-salary outlier; long but not inaccurate.