2018 FedEx St. Jude Classic Preview
Dates: June 4-10, 2018
Where: TPC Southwind
City, State: Memphis, Tennessee
Par/Yards: 35-35–70/7,244 yards
2017 champion: Daniel Berger
Purse: $6,600,000 ($1,188,000)
FedExCup: 500 points to the winner
Format: 72-hole stroke play
A look at the 2017 FedEx St. Jude Classic
- Defending FedEx St. Jude Classic Daniel Berger was T34 after opening 70-68 last season, but responded with rounds of 66-66 on the weekend to secure a one-stroke victory over Charl Schwartzel and Whee Kim at 10-under 270.
- Berger started the final round three off the lead of Stewart Cink, Ben Crane and Rafa Cabrera Bello and carded a bogey-free round of 66, one of just two on the day Sunday.
More on Daniel Berger
- Two-time defending FedEx St. Jude Classic champion Daniel Berger, in search of career PGA TOUR victory No. 3, can become the first player since Leonard Gallett (1929, 1933, 1934 Wisconsin PGA) to win his first three titles at the same event.
- Berger’s win at the 2017 FedEx St. Jude Classic marked his fourth of six top-10s in 2016-17.
- With the 2017 FedEx St. Jude Classic victory, Berger became the fourth player in the FedExCup era to have his first two PGA TOUR titles come at the same event, joining Justin Thomas (2015, 2016 CIMB Classic), Matt Every (2014, 2015 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard) and Boo Weekley (2007, 2008 RBC Heritage).
- Following his win in Memphis, Berger advanced through all four events in the FedExCup Playoffs for a third consecutive season and qualified for the victorious U.S. Presidents Cup Team. He finished the 2016-17 campaign at No. 16 in the FedExCup standings.
- In 14 starts during the 2017-18 PGA TOUR Season, Berger has made 12 cuts and collected six top-25 showings.
The field by numbers
- Six of the top 30 in current FedExCup standings, led by No. 5 Phil Mickelson.
- Nine major championship winners, including multiple major champions Phil Mickelson (5), Padraig Harrington (3), Retief Goosen (2) and John Daly (2). Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka, Charl Schwartzel and Stewart Cink have each claimed one major championship title.
- Seven 2017-18 PGA TOUR winners: Austin Cook (The RSM Classic), Dustin Johnson (Sentry Tournament of Champions), Phil Mickelson (World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship), Brice Garnett (Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship), Billy Horschel and Scott Piercy (Zurich Classic of New Orleans).
- Eight former FedEx St. Jude Classic champions: Daniel Berger (2016, 2017), Fabian Gomez (2015), Ben Crane (2014), Harris English (2013), Dustin Johnson (2012), Brian Gay (2009), Bob Estes (2001) and Dicky Pride (1994).
Other field notes
- World No. 2 and 2012 FedEx St. Jude Classic champion Dustin Johnson is making his sixth start and first since 2016 (5th). Johnson claimed his 17th TOUR title at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January, extending his streak of consecutive seasons with at least one win to a current TOUR-best 11.
- World Golf Hall of Fame Member and 43-time PGA TOUR winner Phil Mickelson will make his eighth start. Mickelson has finished inside the top three in three of past five years (T2/2016, T3/2015, T2/2013) and came in ninth in 2017. Mickelson has one win on the season (World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship) and currently stands fifth in the FedExCup.
- With two top-three finishes in four starts (T2/2016, T3/2015), reigning U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka will make his fifth consecutive appearance at TPC Southwind. Koepka enters the event having recorded 63s in three of his last five rounds on the PGA TOUR (R4/Fort Worth Invitational, R2/Fort Worth Invitational, R4/THE PLAYERS Championship).
- Sponsor Exemptions include former Lipscomb University golfer Dawson Armstrong and Braden Thornberry of Ole Miss.
- In March, Armstrong won the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament. His only professional start to date came at the Nashville Golf Open on the Web.com Tour two weeks ago (T30).
- Olive Branch, Mississippi resident and Ole Miss rising senior Braden Thornberry finished T4 in his PGA TOUR debut at the 2017 FedEx St. Jude Classic (71-69-67-65). In only start on TOUR this season, Thornberry finished T61 at The RSM Classic. He won the 2017 NCAA Division I individual title by four strokes with a 72-hole score of 11-under 277.
- 19-year-old Joaquin Niemann joined the TOUR on Monday as a Special Temporary Member after his third top-10 performance in five professional starts, becoming the youngest player since Sergio Garcia (1999) to earn such status.
- The native of Chile finished T6 last week at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide.
- With Niemann’s addition to the TOUR roster, there are now 87 active international members from 27 different countries.
- The FedEx St. Jude Classic will once again play a pivotal role in the race for the FedExCup, with the Playoffs 12 weeks away.
- Since the inception of the FedExCup Playoffs in 2007, six of 11 winners of the FedEx St. Jude Classic have advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs finale, the TOUR Championship: Woody Austin (2007), Justin Leonard (2008), Brian Gay (2009), Dustin Johnson (2012) and Daniel Berger (2016, 2017).
Youngest Special Temporary Members since 1990
- Sergio Garcia – 19 years, 4 months, 29 days
- Joaquin Niemann – 19 years, 6 months, 28 days
- Jordan Spieth – 19 years, 7 months, 8 days
- Ryo Ishikawa – 19 years, 10 months, 22 days
FedEx St. Jude Classic and the U.S. Open
- Twenty-nine players in the FedEx St. Jude Classic field will compete at next week’s U.S. Open:
- Aphibarnrat, Kiradech
- Axley, Eric
- Baddeley, Aaron
- Berger, Daniel
- Chappell, Kevin
- Duncan, Tyler
- Finau, Tony
- Gay, Brian
- Griffin, Lanto
- Howell, Charles III
- Hughes, Mackenzie
- Johnson, Dustin
- Jones, Matt
- Koepka, Brooks
- List, Luke
- Lowry, Shane
- Mickelson, Phil
- Mullinax, Trey
- Reavie, Chez
- Schwartzel, Charl
- Snedeker, Brandt
- Stallings, Scott
- Stenson, Henrik
- Stricker, Steve
- Stuard, Brian
- Thornberry, Braden
- Uihlein, Peter
- Varner, Harold
- Werenski, Richy
- The last two U.S. Open champions, Dustin Johnson (2016) and Brooks Koepka (2017), competed in the FedEx St. Jude Classic the week before claiming their first major championship title.
- This year marks the 12th consecutive playing of the event the week before the U.S. Open.
- No player has ever won a PGA TOUR event and then gone on to win the U.S. Open the following week.
- The best U.S. Open finish by the prior week’s champion is a T16 by Lee Westwood in 2010.
- Since moving to TPC Southwind in 1989, the FedEx St. Jude Classic was also played the week before the U.S. Open in 2001 (Bob Estes/T30 U.S. Open), 1999 (Ted Tryba/T66 U.S. Open) and 1992 (Jay Haas/T23 U.S. Open).
- The best U.S. Open finish by a winner of the FedEx St. Jude Classic the same year was a T3 by Fred Couples in 1993, when the Memphis event was contested two weeks after the U.S. Open.
- Following his 2017 victory at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, Daniel Berger missed the cut at the U.S. Open at Erin Hills.
FedEx St. Jude Classic miscellaneous notes
- Since 1958, Memphis has been a PGA TOUR stop that has seen its fair share of golf history (Al Geiberger became the first player in TOUR history to shoot 59 in 1977) and a list of champions that includes Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Gary Player, Tom Kite, Nick Price and Greg Norman. This history and tradition provides an amazing foundation to build upon as the World Golf Championships event currently in Ohio, will move to TPC Southwind in 2019. The WGC has a 10-year agreement in place with a new tournament name, the FedEx St. Jude Invitational, with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital continuing its role as charitable beneficiary. • In 2016, Daniel Berger became the 10th player to make the FedEx St. Jude Classic his maiden PGA TOUR victory: Don Whitt (1959), Bob Lunn (1968), Larry Mize (1983), Mike Hulbert (1986), Jodi Mudd (1988), Dicky Pride (1994), Harrison Frazar (2011), Harris English (2013), Fabian Gomez (2015) and Daniel Berger (2017).
- In 2014, Ben Crane became the eighth player in event history to claim his victory after holding at least a share of every round’s lead (Dave Hill/1966, Ray Floyd/1982, John Cook/1996, Bob Estes/2001, Justin Leonard/2005, Brian Gay/2009 and Lee Westwood/2010).
- Since the event’s inception in 1958, only four players have been able to successfully defend their title, Dave Hill (1969-70), Lee Trevino (1971-72), David Toms (2003-04) and Daniel Berger (2016-17). Toms and Berger are the only players to successfully defend since the event moved to TPC Southwind in 1989. • The FedEx St. Jude Classic has produced six multiple champions: Dave Hill (1967, 1969-1970, 1973), Lee Trevino (1971-1972, 1980), Nick Price (1993, 1998), Justin Leonard (2005, 2008), David Toms (2003-2004) and Daniel Berger (2016-2017).
- The last two times on the PGA TOUR a winner failed to record a birdie in the final round occurred at the FedEx St. Jude Classic: Ben Crane (2014) and Justin Leonard (2005).
2018 FedEx St. Jude Classic Preview via PGA TOUR