U.S. Open final prep at the St. Jude Classic

Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson are in the field at TPC Southwind in Memphis

Phil Mickelson will tee it up in the St. Jude Classic
Phil Mickelson will tee it up in the St. Jude Classic
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The PGA Tour heads for Memphis, Tennessee this week where many of the world’s best will complete their U.S. Open final prep at the St. Jude Classic over TPC Southwind.

With the world’s top players thinking about the year’s second Major at Oakmont many will complete their U.S. Open final prep at the St. Jude Classic this week in Memphis.

Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson are in the field at TPC Southwind and both will be looking to fine-tune their games to challenge for their first U.S. Open titles next week. Johnson three-putted the final green at Chambers Bay last year to lose by a stroke. Mickelson has been a U.S. Open runner-up on no fewer than six occasions.

It should be noted that no winner of the PGA Tour event immediately preceding the U.S. Open has gone on to win the year’s second Major so Johnson and Mickelson may be happy to take a solid top-five this week.

The course at TPC Southwind is a challenging par-70 that generally averages above par for the week – 70.93 last season. It’s tight and both fairways and greens are tricky to find. As such, it makes for perfect U.S. Open preparation.

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

Last year, Argentina’s Fabian Gomez took the title. He was tied after 54-holes with England’s Greg Owen, but he pulled away on the back nine. Gomez became only the fifth player from Argentina to win on the PGA Tour, those coming before him being Roberto de Vicenzo, Andres Romero, Jose Coceres and Angel Cabrera.

The weather forecast looks pretty good for the week, although it could get pretty hot. Possible poor weather on Sunday but it’s uncertain.

Venue: TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tennessee Date: June 9-12 Course stats: par 70, 7,239 yards Purse: $6,200,000 Winner: $1,116,000 Defending Champion: Fabian Gomez (-13)

TV Coverage: Thursday 9 – Sky Sports 4 from 8.30pm Friday 10 – Sky Sports 4 from 8.30pm Saturday 11 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm Sunday 12 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm

Player watch:

Ryan Palmer – He was tied for third in his home event at Colonial a couple of weeks ago and has been showing consistent form. He also enjoys this track. He was tied third in 2012 and fourth in 2013.

Harris English – The winner here in 2013, he clearly enjoys the venue. He’s also on great form having secured a solo second place at Colonial two weeks back.

Luke Donald – The Englishman is flying under the radar, but has shown signs of a return to form. Tied second in the RBC Heritage then a top-15 at the Valero Texas Open back in April. He also played some good golf at Wentworth two weeks ago. He could be a dark horse this time out.

Luke Donald short game secrets:

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 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 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?