The World Golf Championships-FedEx St Jude Invitational was newly named in 2019, replacing the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. It was a little more complicated than that however. Effectively, this is a promotion of the now defunct FedEx St Jude Classic to a World Gold Championship event.
The WGC is a series of four tournaments held each season, jointly run by the PGA Tour and the European Tour.
The tournament is played at the TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee, and is named after the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital located in the same city. Since 1970 the hospital has been the benefactor of the St. Jude Classic’s charitable fundraising efforts, a relationship which has continued with the new tournament.
Next Played: Thursday, 30th July 2020
The tournament is scheduled to next start on 30th July 2020. Tips will be added a couple of days before the first tee.
Last Played: July 2019
- Winner: Brooks Koepka
- To Par / Margin: -16 / 3 Strokes
|TPC Southwind||Memphis, Tennesee||7,244 Yards||$10,250,000|
This week’s tournament takes place at TPC Southwind, the long term host of the FedEx St Jude Classic. It’s not quite as fearsome as the former host, Firestone Country Club, but TPC Southwind is not a course that players can take easily. The par 70 is long enough at 7,244 yards for a host of par fours that would feel like par fives for amateur golfers. The players will also be faced with narrow fairways and tough green complexes as they are laid with Champion Bermudagrass which is found infrequently on top level courses.
Many players to have taken on TPC Southwind suggest that hitting the fairways is a real priority as the rough does tend to produce flyers which makes distance control very tough. That said, bombers have done well at this venue before and you can be sure a number of ‘bomb and gauge’ type players will be towards the top of the leaderboard on Sunday afternoon.
WGC St. Jude Invitational Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2019. Tips for next year will be added the week of the tournament.
Dustin Johnson’s win in 2018 showed that bigger hitters really can thrive around TPC Southwind. He combined his prodigious power with some excellent approach shots and confident putting to win. Daniel Berger averaged over 305 yards off the tee for both of his wins but Fabian Gomez and Ben Crane were sub-300 yards with Crane averaging just over 270.
Ireland showed once again that it is a country that punches well above its weight in sporting terms at the Open. Northern Ireland provided one of the best Open venues of all time in Royal Portrush whilst the Republic provided a top class winner in Shane Lowry. Footage of Lowry’s celebrations have gone down a storm on social media but while he was enjoying himself, many of the world’s best players were making tracks for TPC Southwind and the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational.
Rory McIlroy posted on social media that he was delighted Lowry, somebody he’s known for 15 years, was able to win the Open. Still, the Northern Irishman’s own experiences at Portrush were very painful. He is a steely competitor though with a game that should be well suited to TPC Southwind so McIlroy can get back to winning ways at 10/1 with Ladbrokes.
TPC Southwind can feel like a real grind when things don’t go to plan. That will only be accentuated by the very hot weather forecast for Memphis whilst the lack of a cut will see the bottom few players face a very tough week. The heat will make the ball fly further through the air though and should help the biggest hitters who can use their power to take on even more of the trouble off the tee. The bombers will only be able to thrive if they have a good week on the greens so somebody who players who are putting well at the moment and able to fly the ball 310 yards plus off the tee look worthy of support.
McIlroy to Bounce Back
Rory McIlroy was the big story of the first two days of the Open, unfortunately for the wrong reasons. He’d been looking forward to playing at Royal Portrush for years but found his chances blown away by a shocking opening nine holes. Missing the cut obviously hurt given how badly he wanted to win for the home fans but McIlroy is doing the right thing by getting right back on the horse this week.
He obviously has more than enough power for a distinct advantage at TPC Southwind and continues to improve on the greens. McIlroy tops the billing on the PGA Tour for both strokes gained off the tee and tee to green so you can be sure he’ll set up plenty of birdie opportunities. Providing he gets to grips with the Champion Bermudagrass greens he has a great chance to respond to last week’s disappointment in the best way possible with a win at 10/1 with Ladbrokes.
Scott to Enjoy Return to TPC Southwind
Adam Scott is one of just a handful of players in the top 20 of the betting this week to have previous tournament experience of TPC Southwind. He played at the FedEx St Jude Classic twice and finished inside the top 10 on both occasions. The Aussie will arrive in Memphis with positive memories and on the back of an extended run of good form.
Last week’s missed cut at the Open is nothing to worry about given the vast differences between Royal Portrush and TPC Southwind. Moreover, he picked up three top 10 finishes in a row prior to last week so has a very good each way chances at 33/1 with Betfair.
Final Verdict: Rory McIlroy to Win
Rory McIlroy earned nothing but praise form golf fans for the way he coped with last week’s crushing disappointment. Some pundits covering the game suggested the effects of that first round at Portrush could have major implications for his career going forward but that is surely overly dramatic. Rather, McIlroy is capable of putting the Open behind him and restarting his assault on the FedEx Cup rankings with a big win at Memphis.
WGC St. Jude Invitational Recent Winners
|Year||Winner||To Par||Winning Margin|
|2019||Brooks Koepka||-16||3 Strokes|
The list below shows the recent winners of both the FedEx St Jude Classic and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Although the St. Jude Classic is technically a different event, it was played at the same course as the current tournament so the comparisons are stronger than with the Bridgestone Invitational. It is worth noting however that the FedEx St Jude was played the week before the US Open so the strength of the field was nothing like at WGC event.
|Year||St. Jude Classic Winner (Par/Margin)||WGC Bridgestone Invitational Winner (Par/Margin)|
|2018||Dustin Johnson (-19 / 6 Strokes)||Justin Thomas (-15 / 4 Strokes)|
|2017||Daniel Berger (-10 / 1 Stroke)||Hideki Matsuyama (16 / 5 Strokes)|
|2016||Daniel Berger (-13 / 3 Strokes)||Dustin Johnson (-6 / 1 Stroke)|
|2015||Fabian Gomez (-13 / 4 Strokes)||Shane Lowry (-11 / 2 Strokes)|
|2014||Ben Crane (-10 / 1 Stroke)||Rory McIlroy (-15 / 2 Strokes)|
About the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational
Founded in 1999, the WGC FedEx St Jude Invitational has become a big event on the golfing calendar. Since starting out as the WGC-NEC Invitational in 1999, the tournament was held at Firestone in Ohio every year, expect in 2002 when it took place in Washington State. However, the event moved to Southwind in Tennessee in 2019.
The WGC FedEx St Jude Invitational is one of the four annual World Golf Championships events. The others are the Mexico Championship, the Dell Technologies Match Play and the HSBC Champions. The winner of this particular tournament takes home the Gary Player Cup.
Previous Venues & Current Course
The WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational has not been held at many courses during its 20+ years of existence. In fact, Ohio has hosted 19 of the 21 St Jude Invitationals over the years.
From the inaugural event in 1999 to the 20th in 2018, Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio was the event’s host for all bar one St Jude Invitational. The only exception was in 2002, when the Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Washington played host, with Australian Craig Parry coming out on top in that one.
In 2019, a new venue for the WGC FedEx St Jude Invitational was introduced. TPC Southwind – which is located within the gated community of Southwind, in Memphis, Tennessee – took over from Firestone. Brooks Koepka won the first event at Southwind. At the time of writing, the 22nd WGC Invitational was scheduled to take place in July 2020.
Sponsorships of the Tournament
Over the years, there have been just three sponsors of the WGC Invitational. From its first in 1999 to 2005, the tournament was known as the WGC-NEC Invitational. Bridgestone then took over until 2018, extending their partnership in 2013.
FedEx are the current sponsors, with the event immediately moving from Akron to Memphis in 2019. All four of the World Golf Championships events have their own sponsors – HSBC (Champions), Grupo Salinas (Mexico Championship) and Dell Technologies (Match Play).
Tiger’s Eight Victories
Of all the great players to compete in this one, it is perhaps the greatest of them all, Tiger Woods, who has the record number of wins in the St Jude. The American superstar has won the WGC Invitational an amazing eight times, with the last of those victories coming in 2013. Tiger won the first event way back in 1999, beating Phil Mickelson by a single stroke.
Woods dominated the early years of the WGC Invitational, winning each of the first three. Tiger has also, quite astoundingly, won three in a row on two separate occasions. His eighth and final victory (to date) came in the 2013 event, when Woods cruised to an emphatic win in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Tiger beat fellow American Keegan Bradley and Swede Henrik Stenson by a whopping seven strokes.
However, Woods come under some criticism in 2014, after he was caught swearing at a cameraman. The then 38 year old was annoyed after slipping down the leaderboard, leading to Woods snapping at the snapper for allegedly not being given enough space.
Tiger’s St Jude Victories
|Year||Woods’ WGC St Jude Invitational Wins|
|1999||WGC-NEC Invitational (Firestone)|
|2000||WGC-NEC Invitational (Firestone)|
|2001||WGC-NEC Invitational (Firestone)|
|2005||WGC-NEC Invitational (Firestone)|
|2006||WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (Firestone)|
|2007||WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (Firestone)|
|2009||WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (Firestone)|
|2013||WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (Firestone)|
Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend
One of the stranger WGC Invitational moments happened in 2014: it involved Spanish player Sergio Garcia, a woman and her ring. On the third hole of the final round, Garcia hit a wayward shot that landed in the crowd. Unfortunately, Garcia’s shot struck a lady on the hand, knocking the diamond out of her ring as a result.
Thankfully, after some extensive looking, the woman eventually found it. Still, “I was prepared to buy her one”, had she not found the diamond, Garcia later said. The Spaniard went on to finish runner-up to Rory McIlroy by two strokes at Firestone.
Koepka Edges Out Webb
The 2019 WGC FedEx St Jude Invitational, which was the first at Southwind, was a real thriller of a tournament and one of the most memorable for years. Everyone was gearing up for a tight finale between Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy, but a terrific Sunday by Koepka did the business on the way to his first World Golf Championships title.
Leading up to that Sunday, Rory played some terrific golf, as did Webb Simpson, who finished runner-up in the first Tennessee WGC Invitational event. However, Koepka hit three birdies in a four-hole stretch on the front nine to cruise to a three-stroke victory in the end. McIlroy ended in joint fourth with English duo Matthew Fitzpatrick and Tommy Fleetwood, while Australian Marc Leishman finished in third place.