A frustrating weekend in the USA with the three-hour mid-round delay clearly affecting most of the players including Bill Haas, and many of them could not get going when play resumed. Hopefully some of you trade for your stake back at around 5/1, but overall, an impossible winner to pick pre-tournament. Shane Lowry was a superb winner of The Open defying horrendous weather conditions to win his first major. Our selections played well enough but faded in the final round, as did many of the later starters. This week we have a World Golf Championship event so only the one tournament to cover although there is The Barracuda Championship in Nevada which is a Modified Stableford involving scoring points based on the number of strokes taken at each hole. Scoring is Double Eagle 8 points, Eagle 5 points, Birdie 2 points, Par 0 points, Bogey -1 point and Double Bogey or more -3 points. I am not covering this event, but clearly low scoring is key so look for guys that are high on the birdie and eagle stats on tour, on the PGA website.
World Golf Championship - Fed Ex St Jude Invitational - TPC Southwind Memphis
The defending champion is Justin Thomas, but past winners are irrelevant as the tournament was played for many years at Firestone, Akron, Ohio. Those who have played well at The St Jude Classic over the course can go well, with Dustin Johnson a two-time winner, sure to be popular. The field will be made up of most of the worlds top fifty so should be an absolute cracker. As a number of top Europeans will be playing, there is no event in Europe this week. We have a little dilemma this week as apart from Johnson, this was not a regular event for many of the top players. The course is a fair test but has many undulations and plenty of water, so accuracy will be an asset. It also remains to be seen who, if anyone, will still be feeling last week’s Open and possibly those that missed the cut, or who went out early in the last round, will have an advantage.
Dustin Johnson is the obvious starting place here as his course form will stand him in good stead, but he never really got going last week and this is not a “weaker field” as were his two victories here. Rory will be determined to bounce back from the disappointing first round in Northern Ireland but the 65 took a lot out of him mentally and as with Dustin, the price offers no value.
Nothing really happened for Brooks Koepka and he played well enough, even in the last round where he shot a solid enough 74 after starting with four bogeys. Of the others, Jon Rahm finished with a huge smile on his face at Portrush having clearly enjoyed his round with Tony Finau and both could also go well here although Finau missed the cut at the St Jude last year and I can find no record of Rahm ever playing here before. Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay are young Americans who will need to be on the ball straight away, but they all showed glimpses of form last week and will be there or thereabouts.