Daniel Berger defends FedEx St. Jude Classic

It's a last chance for players to get their games in shape for the U.S. Open

Daniel Berger defends FedEx St. Jude Classic
Daniel Berger defends FedEx St. Jude Classic
(Image credit: Getty Images)

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

It’s always a tough call for the top players to decide whether competition or a rest is preferable the week ahead of one of the game’s most significant competitions but many choose to play at TPC Southwind pre US Open because of the nature of the test it poses.

The course at Southwind is tight and tricky where both fairways and greens are notoriously tough to find. It consistently ranks as one of the hardest courses visited by the PGA Tour. As such, it makes ideal training ground for the year’s second Major.

It’s a Ron Prichard design and he received help from Fuzzy Zoeller and Hubert Green. Loren Roberts was in charge of a 2004 upgrade to the track.

Rickie Fowler is in the field this week after narrowly missing out in the Memorial. Adam Scott will play, as will Phil Mickelson. Ian Poulter will look to continue the form that saw him finish tied second in The Players.

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 season, Daniel Berger secured victory. The youngster held off the challenges of Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka and Steve Stricker.

The weather forecast looks pretty good with warm temperatures and light winds on the charts.

Venue: TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tennessee Date: June 8-11 Course stats: par 70, 7,244 yards Purse: $6,400,000 Winner: $1,116,000 Defending Champion: Daniel Berger (-13)

TV Coverage: Thursday 8 – Sky Sports 4 from 9pm Friday 9 – Sky Sports 4 from 9pm Saturday 10 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm Sunday 11 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm

Player Watch:

Rickie Fowler – Showed he’s on excellent form with a tied 2nd finish at the Memorial. He’ll hope to go one better than that this time out.

Rickie Fowler's 90-minute warm up video:

Brooks Koepka – He’s improved steadily at this venue in recent years with a tie for 19th, a tie for 3rd and, most recently, a tie for 2nd.

Francesco Molinari – The Italian has been playing well on both sides of the Atlantic. He was tied 6th at The Players and then 2nd at Wentworth.

Key hole: 16th. At 530 yards it’s a reachable par-5. 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?