Winning this week or next gets you elevated points, which are even more valuable as we gear up for another eventful season on the PGA TOUR in the books. The top 125 in FedExCup standings are eligible to play this week. Still, only 121 are in the field, with LIV golfers Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford unable to play via a TRO and Nate Lashley (98th) withdrawing earlier in the week with a toe injury.
The setting is the FedEx St. Jude Championship, and the venue is TPC Southwind. Although situated in Memphis, TN, the course will play similar to what the golfers experience on the Florida Swing - tons of water where ball-striking is a premium and a necessity this week. Staying away from the big numbers and having experience in similar pressure settings like a Major should help, and that’s why Will Zalatoris is my number one golfer this week. Even though 13 golfers ranked higher than him, the proverbial stars feel they’re aligning for Willy Z, who ranks 10th in strokes gained tee to green over the previous 24 rounds. He should also feel a weight lifted off his shoulders as it sounded like he and his former caddie’s relationship (although strong, personally) was taxing on the course. Hopefully, that frees up some headspace where he can just play.
How much time is too much time off? Although rest and recovery are essential in professional sports, golf is a game of momentum and feel, and there’s something to be said about “game reps.” Because of that, I’m not as confident in someone like Collin Morikawa, who hasn’t played since St. Andrews. That doesn’t mean I don’t like Morikawa; he could easily win this, and I would not be surprised. I’m a little down on him versus the industry sentiment on him this week.
Sungjae Im was close to winning in back-to-back weeks but ran into a couple of buzzsaws in Tony Finau and Joohyung Kim. He’s still solid tee to green, ranking 16th over his previous 12 rounds, but missed some short putts last week, which is out of character. Still, the positive takeaway is he got one extra week’s worth of experience on Champion Bermuda.
Other golfers that should outperform their expectations are Max Homa, Corey Conners, Taylor Pendrith, Keith Mitchell and Scott Stallings.
PGA TOUR Power Rankings
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