(Courtesy: Golf Digest)

Like many of you, I’m already looking ahead to next week — but there is meaningful golf being played this week in Tennessee! The FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind in Memphis is always a favorite stop.

Why? Who doesn’t want to go to Graceland? Poor boys and pilgrims? I didn’t think so.

Perhaps the best reason to tee it up this week for most, however, is the fact that the tournament after this is the U.S. Open — golf’s most democratic test of golf. With so much on the line next week, everyone from those “just qualified” for the U.S. Open to icons of the game will be looking to boost their confidence ahead of the year’s second major.

The last two years it’s been Daniel Berger who donned the seersucker jacket and hoisted the trophy at TPC Southwind. So — can he do it again?

If Berger wants to successfully defend his successful defense, he’s going to have to get past the likes of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka.

So — who has what it takes to win the FedEx St. Jude classic? Here’s a look at your  can’t-miss, sure-fire mortal locks at TPC Southwind:

FedEx St. Jude Classic
TPC Southwind – Memphis, Tennessee
June 7 – 10, 2018

ODDS to Win:
Dustin Johnson 6/1
Brooks Koepka 8/1
Henrik Stenson 12/1
Phil Mickelson 12/1
Adam Scott WD
Daniel Berger 20/1
Tony Finau 20/1
Billy Horschel 25/1
Byeong Hun An 25/1
Charl Schwartzel 20/1
Joaquin Niemann 30/1
Peter Uihlein 30/1
Steve Stricker 30/1
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 30/1
Charles Howell III 40/1
Keegan Bradley WD
Luke List 30/1
Russell Knox WD
Kevin Chappell 50/1
Chez Reavie 50/1
Brandt Snedeker 60/1
J.B. Holmes 60/1
Shane Lowry 60/1
Chris Kirk 60/1
Harris English 60/1
Ryan Palmer 80/1
Keith Mitchell 80/1
Kevin Tway 80/1
Austin Cook 80/1
Ollie Schniederjans WD
Ben Crane 80/1
Patrick Rodgers WD
Danny Lee 80/1
Scott Piercy 80/1
Braden Thornberry 100/1
Grayson Murray 100/1
C.T. Pan 100/1
Brian Gay 100/1
Lucas Glover WD
Andrew Putnam 100/1
Corey Conners 100/1
David Lingmerth 125/1
James Hahn 125/1
Trey Mullinax 125/1
Tom Hoge 100/1
Abraham Ancer 125/1
Harold Varner III 125/1
Joel Dahmen 80/1
Matt Jones 125/1
Shawn Stefani 125/1
Seamus Power 150/1
Brice Garnett 150/1
Sam Saunders 150/1
John Huh 150/1
Chad Campbell 150/1
Ben Martin 150/1
Wesley Bryan 150/1
Scott Stallings 150/1
William McGirt 150/1
Bronson Burgoon 150/1
Nate Lashley 150/1
Vaughn Taylor 150/1
Tyrone Van Aswegen 150/1
Troy Merritt 150/1
Stewart Cink 200/1
Patton Kizzire WD
Brandon Harkins 200/1
Sung Kang 200/1
Hunter Mahan 200/1
Retief Goosen 200/1
Padraig Harrington 200/1
Talor Gooch 200/1
Kelly Kraft 200/1
Robert Garrigus 200/1
Aaron Baddeley 200/1
Michael Kim 250/1
Derek Fathauer 250/1
Jonathan Randolph 300/1
John Daly 500/1
Field (all others) 5/1

Mortal Locks: 

Brooks Koepka — If you believe in trends then you have to believe in Brooks Koepka this week at TPC Southwind. The reigning U.S. Open champion is beginning to heat up just in time for his first career major title defense — and what better way to send a message to his peers then by taking the title in Memphis? Koepka, who finished T-11 at the players and solo-second in his most recent start at the Fort Worth Invitational. Koepka is only getting 8/1 money this week, but that’s enough to peak my interest.

Phil Mickelson — You want to talk about a horse for a course? Talk about Phil Mickelson at TPC Southwind. Now, I don’t want to see Phil win here because it almost guarantees he won’t win at Shinnecock next week. That said, Mickelson loves this place and this tournament and has the track record to prove it. And since I’m not in the picking-with-your-heart business, I have to take Lefty. At 12/1, the return on your investment is just fine.

Bang for Your Buck: 

Joaquin Niemann — Okay, ya’ll. It’s time to stand up and take notice. Joaquin Niemann hasn’t just asked for our attention, he’s come up and grabbed us by the collar and demanded it. Niemann, the 19-year-old, is playing some incredible golf right now. He’s also played some like garbage. In six starts, Niemann has only made three cuts — but has made the most of those, collecting three finishes of T-8 or better. At 30/1, Niemann is as good a bet as there is.

Peter Uihlein — Another young gun trending in the right direction is Peter Uihlein. After missing three straight cuts in April, Wally’s kid has righted the ship — positing finishes of T-5, T-21 and solo fifth. Already a winner on the European Tour, Uihlein heads to Memphis with plenty of confidence to accompany the talent that’s always been there. At 30/1, he’s my best bet for the FedEx St. Jude Classic.

Fun Under $5: 

James Hahn — James Hahn enters the FedEx St. Jude Classic with no real form and no real momentum. Because of that, I like him. Hahn has the game. He’s a talent — tried and true. Eventually, he’ll pull out of this nose dive. After all, that’s essentially what he did when he picked up his first career victory at the 2016 Wells Fargo Championship. At 125/1, there aren’t too many players who can surprise like Hahn can.

There you have it, friends and degenerates. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for me to nestle up in the castle and get ready for U.S. Open week. Until next time, go and choose wisely….


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