2021 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Top 5 Course Fits & Preview at TPC Southwind
Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images. Pictured: Collin Morikawa.
- Following a rare week off for the Olympics, the PGA TOUR is back stateside with the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
- TPC Southwind plays hosts to the 66-players event featuring several Olympians and 24 of the top-25 players in the world.
- Shane McNichol provides his five best course fits for the event and why quality ball-strikers should have a strong weekend.
Last week featured a very rare event. There was a week off on the PGA TOUR.
Instead, the golf world instead turned its eyes to the Olympics, with Xander Schauffele collecting the gold medal in Tokyo. Now, many of the players and caddies who competed in that tournament are flying halfway around the world to get back in the swing of Tour action this week, eager to cash in at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
Just two years ago, this event was elevated from a fairly uninspiring spot on the tour schedule to a WGC with no cut, bigger purse and plenty of drama.
TPC Southwind will play host and offers a unique test that plays perfectly into the hands of certain players, who should compete for this week’s crown.
Collin Morikawa (+1300)
Per DataGolf, TPC Southwind heavily favors ball-strikers and iron play, at least relative to the other courses played on tour. Any list of players fitting that bill has to start and end with Morikawa, who’s having a historic season with his irons.
The Open Champion is posting 1.57 True Strokes Gained per round over the last six months, according to DataGolf. That’s 0.48 higher than any other player, eclipsing Paul Casey in second place. The distance between Morikawa and Casey is the same gap that exists between Casey and Louis Oosthuizen, all the way back in 30th place.
Morikawa is the best iron player alive and has a chance to win every time he steps on a course. His putter was cooperating in Toyko, taking him into the playoff for the bronze medal. Assuming he can survive the jetlag of retuning to the United States, Morikawa is primed to compete for the title this week.
Daniel Berger (+2500)
Berger returns to TPC Southwind, where he is extraordinarily comfortable. The Floridian won back-to-back titles at the course, prior to the event’s name and status change in 2018. He missed the tournament in 2019, but returned with a vengeance in 2020, earning a tie for second place. No player who has played 12 rounds at this course has gained more strokes on the field than Berger, per DataGolf.
Berger’s iron play is well suited for the course and has been strong of late. He ranks fifth in the world in DataGolf’s True Strokes Gained metric over the last 12 months, largely thanks to his approach shots, which are doing most of the heavily lifting for Berger in that statistic.
Playing like one of the world’s best and returning to a comfortable course should put Berger in contention entering the final round.
Matt Fitzpatrick (+3000)
Another one of the Tour’s best ball-strikers, Fitzpatrick should be able to score at TPC Southwind. He has in the past, having played the event twice and finished in the top six of the field on both occasions.
In fact, he leads this week’s field in True Strokes Gained in past performances at TPC Southwind. Perhaps more importantly after a slow start, Fitzpatrick has made four consecutive cuts, including two top-10 finishes during that span.
His first PGA Tour win — or first victory of any kind on U.S. soil — is sorely overdue.
Brian Harman (+7000)
These odds are simply too long given the way Harman has been playing this season, especially at a course like TPC Southwind. Unlike many of the other stops on the tour, this layout doesn’t require length off the tee. It will play just north of 7,200 yards and allow shorter players like Harman to still find scoring chances.
Harman hasn’t played in the event in either of its iterations since 2015, yet he has been excellent of late. He’s finished in the top 20 in nine of his last 11 events worldwide.
Ian Poulter To Finish in Top 5 (+1100)
The analytics at DataGolf give Poulter the second biggest advantage at TPC Southwind, thanks to his ball-striking and skills around the green. He’s a longshot to win in Memphis this week, having collected just one PGA Tour win since 2013, but his game should fit in nicely and lead him to the first page of the leaderboard into the weekend.
After all, there’s only a few more weeks for Poulter to round into form before the European Team makes its Ryder Cup selections, where he’s sure to be a menace if selected once again. This week would be the perfect opportunity for him to showcase his skills.