FedEx St. Jude Classic Preview

Harris English defends St. Jude Classic
Harris English defends St. Jude Classic
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The PGA Tour is in Memphis, Tennessee this week for the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Harris English defends the title around TPC Southwind as the top players complete their final preparations for next week’s US Open.

Lowdown: The PGA Tour is in Memphis, Tennessee this week for the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Harris English defends the title around TPC Southwind as the top players complete their final preparations for next week’s US Open.

This tournament began life as the Memphis Invitational in 1945 and since then has witnessed some notable winners including: Tommy Bolt, Lee Trevino, Gary Player, Tom Kite, Fred Couples, Greg Norman and Nick Price.

Last year Harris English birdied two of his last three holes to hold off the challenge of Phil Mickelson and Scott Stallings and to win his first PGA Tour title. All three of those men will start again this week.

The course at Southwind is tight and testing where both fairways and greens are notoriously tricky to find. It consistently ranks as one of the toughest courses visited by the PGA Tour. As such, it makes ideal training ground for the year’s second Major and that’s why so many top players will tee it up at Southwind this week. In 2013 the scoring average was almost a full shot above the par of 70.

The weather forecast for the week looks decidedly unpredictable. It’s looking likely to be hot with the risk of thunderstorms and reasonably strong winds.

Venue: TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tennessee Date: Jun 5-8 Course stats: par 70, 7,239 yards Purse: $5,800,000 Winner: $1,044,000 Defending Champion: Harris English (-12)

TV Coverage: Thursday 5 – Sky Sports 4 from 8pm Friday 6 – Sky Sports 4 from 8pm Saturday 7 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm Sunday 8 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm

Player Watch: Paul Casey – Showing signs of returning to the sort of form we expect from the Englishman. He finished tied 13th at Memorial despite a disappointing weekend. He was leading after 36 holes and if he can put four good ones together, he could be a factor.

John Senden – The Australian has been enjoying an excellent season. He won the Valspar Championship in March, was tied eighth at Augusta and tied fifth in his last start at Colonial. He has two top-10 finishes in this event.

Thorbjorn Olesen – Something of a long shot but the super-talented Dane showed some game in the Memorial last week to finish in a tie for eighth. He’s a streaky player and that good result could just trigger a purple patch.

Key hole: 16th. At 530 yards it’s an eminently reachable par five. The approach shot must be played uphill to a small, well-bunkered green. Realistically, anything worse than birdie here will feel like a dropped shot.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?