Videos by OutKick
Only the top 70 golfers in the FedExCup standings will be teeing it up at the PGA Tour 2022-23’s 1st playoff event this week. TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee hosts said event, the 2023 FedEx St. Jude Championship.
In 2022, Will Zalatoris broke his maiden on the PGA Tour at the St. Jude by beating Sepp Straka in a playoff. Zalatoris will not defend his title this weekend. He has been out since April after suffering a season-ending back injury.
The St. Jude is the 1st of three no-cut events to determine the FedExCup champion. It precedes the BMW Championship and TOUR Championship. The top 50 golfers in the FedExCup standings post-St. Jude advance to the BMW. Then the top 30 head to the TOUR Championship.
Rory McIlroy is the PGA Tour’s reigning FedExCup champion. Rory enters the FedExCup Playoffs 3rd behind Scottie Scheffler (2nd), and Jon Rahm (1st).
TPC Southwind is a par-70 course with fast, Bermuda grass greens that plays to 7,243 yards. There are two Par 5s, four Par 3s, and 12 Par 4s. Four of the Par 4s are within 400-450 yards and six are from 450-500.
Crossover courses with TPC Southwind
- TPC Sawgrass for THE PLAYERS Championship.
- PGA National for The Honda Classic.
- TPC Scottsdale for the Phoenix Open.
- Innisbrook Resort for the Valspar Championship.
- East Lake Golf Club for the TOUR Championship.
- Waialae Country Club for the Sony Open.
- Muirfield Village Golf Club for the Memorial Tournament.
Key stats used for the FedEx St. Jude Championship 2023
- Driving accuracy.
- Strokes Gained (SG): Ball striking (BS).
- SG: Approach (APP).
- Proximity (PROX) from 125-200 yards out.
- Bogey Avoidance.
- Scoring chances.
- Par 4 Efficiency (EFF): 400-500.
My season from hell got more grim after the regular-season finale. My PGA Tour 2022-23 bankroll fell to -48.56 units (u) after a -5.65u loss at the 2023 Wyndham Championship last week. At this point, I need to win out to break-even this season on Tour.
That said, here are my …
FedEx St. Jude Championship 2023 ‘3 Amigos’
- All stats courtesy of FantasyNational.com unless otherwise noted.
For placement bets, shop at sportsbooks that pay in full instead of applying “dead heat rules”. My strategy for the FedEx St. Jude is to earn 20u if one of my guys wins. Otherwise, I’m betting placements to profit 1u plus the outright wager lost.
I wouldn’t hate you fading this or my 3rd pick. Morikawa and Hideki Matsuyama (who we’ll discuss below) are my two favorite golfer. But, Morikawa has cost me money this season and Hideki lost me 2.2u last week at the Wyndham.
Regardless, Morikawa’s ball striking is too good to pass up. Over the last 36 rounds, He is 4th in my stats-based model. Collin is 6th in SG: APP, 7th in SG: BS, 9th in driving accuracy, and 5th in scoring chances during that stretch.
Furthermore, Morikawa’s elite driving accuracy and iron precision fits TPC Southwind. Driving accuracy and Greens-in-Regulation rate at TPC Southwind are worse than the PGA Tour average.
Collin was T5 at the 2022 FedEx St. Jude. He is 7th in Par 4 EFF: 400-450 yards over the last 36 rounds. This course has the 3rd-smallest greens on Tour that roll pure. So Morikawa’s awful putting is less detrimental here.
More importantly, Collin’s tee-to-green (T2G) numbers have been nuts recently. Excluding The 151st Open Championship, which doesn’t provide shot-link data, Morikawa is +6.1 SG: T2G over his last five starts.
Morikawa missed the cut at The Open but he was on the cut-line. There is no cut at the FedEx St. Jude this weekend. He can get hot enough with his irons to backdoor into an event if given enough time.
My 1st pick for the St. Jude: Collin Morikawa
- 0.91u to WIN: +2200 at DraftKings Sportsbook
- 0.51u to Top-5: +375
Heads up: DraftKings has a promotion that allows you to put a +300 odds boost on any golfer’s outright at the FedEx St. Jude. It’s only a $50 maximum bet. Definitely use this “odds boost” on the shortest favorite you bet for this tournament.
Outside of his last two starts, Fowler is in immaculate form entering the FedExCup Playoffs. Fowler finished T42 at the Genesis Scottish Open and T23 at The Open last month. Those events are played at links courses, which is vastly different style of golf.
Otherwise, Fowler had a T5 at the 2023 U.S. Open in June and was in the final group Sunday. He finished T13 the next week at the Travelers Championship, which was a signature event on Tour.
Then Fowler got his 1st win in four seasons by beating Adam Hadwin and Morikawa in a playoff at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in July. However, if you’re a casual golf fan you’ll know that win was no fluke.
He was having an amazing season before his Rocket Mortgage win. Fowler has 14 top-20 or better finishes including eight top-10 placements.
Lastly, Fowler is solid throughout the bag but an elite putter. Over the last 24 rounds, he ranks 4th in this field in SG: Putting on Bermuda.
My 2nd pick for the St. Jude: Rickie Fowler
- 0.67u to WIN: +3000
- 0.76u to Top-10: +220
Something to consider: DraftKings opened “Winner Without” markets for the FedEx St. Jude. This allows you to bet who will win this week if you remove Rory and Scheffler and Rory, Scheffler and Rahm.
I’m not going to give up on Matsuyama now. His putting has been atrocious recently (-2.6 SG: Putting over his last five starts). But, Hideki keeps getting good looks for birdie and eventually these putts will fall. At least I hope they do.
Over the last 36 rounds, Matsuyama leads the top-70 golfers on the PGA Tour in scoring chances. During that stretch, Hideki is 3rd in Bogey Avoidance, 7th in SG: APP, and 9th in SG: BS.
All the water around TPC Southwind forces golfers to layup OTT. This leads to an above-average of APP shots from 175-200 yards out. Matsuyama is 3rd in this field for PROX: 175-200 yards on APP shots.
On top of that, Hideki plays well at crossover courses with TPC Southwind. Matsuyama won the 2014 Memorial, the 2022 Sony Open, back-to-back Phoenix Opens in 2016-17 and finished 5th at THE PLAYERS in March.
Muirfield Village Golf Club, which hosts the Memorial, has one of the most balls hit into the water on Tour. The Phoenix Open and THE PLAYERS are both played at TPC courses with Bermuda greens.
Waialae Country Club hosts the Sony Open is another Par 70 course with Bermuda greens and the site of Hideki’s most recent win. Hideki withdrew prior to last year’s FedEx St. Jude Championship with a lingering neck injury.
But, Matsuyama lost in a playoff to Abraham Ancer at the 2021 FedEx St. Jude. In quintessential Hideki-fashion, he was the only golfer that finished T10 or better to lose strokes putting. But, ‘Deki gained 3.6 more strokes T2G than the 2nd-best golfer in that metric.
My 3rd pick for the St. Jude: Hideki Matsuyama
- 0.4u to WIN: +5000
- 0.85 to Top-20: +115
Check out the Hot Links golf gambling show hosted by Geoff Clark on the OutKick Bets podcast feed. New episodes drop Tuesdays for most full-field PGA Tour events in the 2022-23 season.
Listen to the ‘OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark’ podcast HERE.