Memphis last stop before Pinehurst
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2014 FedEx St Jude Classic | Preview | 03 Jun 2014
The PGA Tour heads south to Tennessee for this week’s FedEx St Jude Classic at the TPC Southwind in Germantown in the suburbs of Memphis.
With one week remaining before the US Open nearly everyone knows by now if they are playing at Pinehurst or not and can either use this as a final tune-up for the second major of the year or as one last event before a break.
Harris English is batting 100 in this event having played it for the first occasion last year and won with Dustin Johnson, Harrison Frazar and Lee Westwood the winners in the previous three years.
English’s game does not seem to be at quite the same level as was the case last year and he will need to rely on some good memories to get his season back on track on a golf course that obviously fits his eye.
It is also a golf course that fits the eye of Dustin Johnson who won here in 2012 and finished 10th last year. Johnson is not at the peak he was earlier in the year but he was injured for a brief period and might be getting back to form.
It is perhaps surprising that Matt Kuchar is playing this week as he hardly seems to have a break of late and he has seldom played here in recent years but he continues to play well this season apart from a missed cut two weeks ago in Fort Worth.
Phil Mickelson does not play this event often either but he did finish runner-up to English last year. His form of late has been a little of a roller coaster and his off course issues may well be a distraction. He will want to be in better shape with his game prior to next week’s US Open where he enjoys such a great record despite not winning. Perhaps the opportunity this week therefore to get things in shape.
Paul Casey has shown of late that his game is getting back in shape. Four top twenties in the last five starts suggests he is close to his best and if that is the case he has a chance this week despite playing here for the first occasion. Casey will be further buoyed by securing a start at the US Open earlier this week and shapes as a good prospect.
Ryan Palmer has put together one or two good tournaments of late including when 5th at the recent Crowne Plaza event and he does enjoy a good record in this event. He was 4th last year and 3rd in 2012. That form line suggests the Texan has prospects this week.
Lee Westwood is playing well of late and as a former winner in 2010 and the producer of another good finish in 2011 he is a genuine prospect to add another victory in this event.
Australians in the field include a man who has a very good record in Memphis.
Robert Allenby has recorded six top twenties in his last seven starts in this tournament and having made six of his last seven cuts this season there is evidence to suggest that Allenby could again lead the Australians this week if not better.
Allenby earned a start at the US Open yesterday so that will also boost his confidence and makes him and even better prospect this week.
John Senden is Australia’s highest ranked player in the field and has done well here on occasions. Given his standing in the game he must be considered as a chance to challenge Allenby for the leading Australian mantle this week.
Other Australians in the field are Geoff Ogilvy, Steven Bowditch, Stuart Appleby, Bronson La Cassie and Scott Gardiner.