The PGA Tour ramps up another notch as the first World Golf Championship takes place since the circuit’s return. Here is all you need to know about the FedEx St. Jude Invitational where many of the top players in the world will tee it up.
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Former World No.1 Brooks Koepka’s most recent victory came here in 2019, when the American defeated Webb Simpson by three shots with Marc Leishman third. Koepka closed with a 65 last year and will surely be rounding into form as he prepares to attempt a hat-trick at next week's US PGA Championship.
COURSE: Designed by Ron Prichard and opened for play in 1988, TPC Southwind lies just 30 minutes from central Memphis. Prichard was assisted by Hubert Green and Fuzzy Zoeller when producing the par-70 that features water on more than half the holes and was the host to the St. Jude Classic beginning in 1989.
Since staging its first World Golf Championship last year, the 7,238 yard layout has undergone bunker renovations and a change to the par-5 3rd hole.
PLAYERS TO WATCH …
Despite some very average results since the Tour’s return, defending champion Brooks Koepka is worth keeping an eye on this week at an event that claims the history of both the former WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and St. Jude Classic.
The four-time major champion obviously found TPC Southwind to his liking last year, where an opening 68 was his worst score of the week, and with the postponed major season about to get underway it is almost a certainty that Koepka’s game will turn a corner this week.
RIGHT: Brooks Koepka will defend his 2019 title this week before attempting yet another major win in San Francisco. PHOTO: Stacy Revere/Getty Images.
A two-time winner at this venue, Daniel Berger returned to the winner’s circle by claiming the PGA Tour’s first event after its coronavirus-enforced hiatus in Texas. A win he promptly followed up with a T3 in his next start.
Berger did fail to make the weekend at the Memorial, however cannot be ignored at a course that he has dominated in the past.
Lucas Herbert might be the fourth of the five strong Aussie contingent here based on world rankings but will be worth keeping an eye on as he makes his second WGC career start and first appearance since March.
Herbert, like Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman, is already a winner in 2020 and has power and confidence to burn on what is sure to be a bombers paradise in Memphis.
72-HOLE RECORD: Tiger Woods reached a total 21-under 259 in 2000 to take the WGC-NEC Invitational at Firestone by a whopping 11 shots, while John Cook’s 26-under 258 stands as the tournament record for the St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind, set in 1996.
PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: Adam Scott (2011, WGC), Craig Parry (2002, WGC) and Greg Norman (1997, St. Jude Classic).
AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Jason Day, Lucas Herbert, Matt Jones, Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith.