WGC FedEx St. Jude outright winners betting preview

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Field: 78 players /no cut
Defending Champion: Brooks Koepka
Green: Bermuda
Length: 7238 yards
Par: 70
Defending Champion: Brooks Koepka

3M recap

For the field not being as strong on paper, Sunday at the 3M Open provided a ton of entertainment with over a dozen golfers in contention late into the final round. For those who have been following the picks, we were given an equally enjoyable and stressful Sunday afternoon as Max Homa, our long shot of the week, made a run at the title. Unfortunately, he came up just short, missing a couple crucial putts down the stretch and finishing tied for 3rd. Michael Thompson played near perfect golf late to ultimately claim the victory.

The golfers now take on the stretch of golf that we’ve been anticipating since golf returned in May. We have a World Golf Championship event followed by the year’s first major in back to back weeks. This will bring out the strongest fields we’ve seen thus far and some of the more difficult courses as well.

We start out by heading to Memphis for the WGC FedEx St. Jude played at TPC Southwind. 2019 was the first time this course hosted a WGC event. Prior to that year, the St. Jude Classic was the annual event played here but the fields were not nearly as strong so some of the past conditions could be taken with a grain of salt.

The field

As with all WGC events, the tournament offers a field of  all the top 50 golfers in the world and then fills in the remaining 28 spots with members of last year’s President’s Cup team, PGA Tour winners in the past year, and winners of selected tournaments on other professional tours. Of the world’s top 50 golfers, the following will not be in attendance this year: Tiger Woods, Franceso Molinari, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, and Lee Westwood

I don’t need to dive into the featured golfers in the field this week because everyone who’s anyone (other than Tiger) will be in Memphis competing. The other thing to keep in mind when looking at matchups or outrights, there will be no cut for this week which means all golfers will play four rounds.

Course preview

TPC Southwind will be the host for this week. It is a 7238 yard par-70 course which, when adjusted to par, is one of the longer courses the golfers will face this year. The greens are made of bermuda grass and roll at a faster than average speed. The rough is average in length and the wind typically remains calm. As mentioned prior, 2019 was the first time the course hosted this WGC event and saw Brooks Koepka pull away down the stretch with a final round 65 to win the tournament, edging out Webb Simpson and Marc Leishman

Being a par 70, there are only two par 5s on the course so the majority of the holes will be par 4s with all of them ranging from 400 – 500 yards. The two easiest holes are in fact the par 5s which makes scoring on those crucial to finding success throughout the week. With the par 4s all being similar in length, the approach shots that the golfers will face typically fall within the range of 150 – 200 yards. 

Much like last week, water will again come into play on a lot of the holes. In fact, TPC Southwind has had more balls find the water than any other course on tour. Just take a look at this nice one-minute montage that the PGA website has provided us with.

Because of all the potential water trouble off the tee and around the greens, Ball Striking has been much more important than Scrambling. For those unfamiliar, Strokes Gained: Ball Striking is a stat that combines both Approach and Off the Tee. It allows us to look at these two key parts of the game together in one stat. This will be the main focal point when looking at golfers to target this week.

Notable stats

  • Strokes Gained: Ball Striking
  • Proximity from 150-175 yards
  • Par 4s: 450-500 yards
  • Strokes Gained: Putting (bermuda specific)

Golfer breakdowns

We certainly were close to a nice hit last week. Max Homa at +7000 was right there in contention. But that’s how golf betting goes. I discussed in the weekend preview article the idea of waiting for live odds to take during the Saturday and Sunday rounds. Micheal Thompson at one point saw his odds dip to 5/1 on Sunday. This would have been a great opportunity to hedge some of the potential Homa money onto another golfer near the top. Decisions like these are needed in order to be profitable over a long period of time with golf betting. I missed the boat on this play but we live and we learn.

Now onto the picks.

High end value


Justin Thomas is by far the best golfer for me when looking at the key stats for this week. I have a rule that I don’t take a golfer under +1500 and JT is coming in at +1100. With the star power in the field, I can’t rationalize taking someone in this range, but he is still a great play.

Xander Schauffele +2000

People often refer to Xander Schauffele as a big game hunter for his ability to show up and finish strong at premier events. Examples of this are him winning the 2017 Tour Championship, the 2018 WGC – HSBC, and the 2019 Tournament of Champions (similar to this week, these were also three events that did not have a cut). This WGC is the biggest event so far this season and the perfect place for him to bring his best. He is currently the 11th ranked golfer in the world and has been in good form since his return to the tour in June. Below are his finishes since he has been back:

7/12/2020Workday Charity Open14
6/21/2020RBC Heritage64
6/14/2020Charles Schwab3
Xander’s recent finishes

Other than the 64th at the RBC, he has yet to finish outside the top 20. Schauffele ranks strongly in all relevant stats for this week as well. When compared to the rest of the field, he is in the top 25 for all the major areas we are looking:

At +2000, Xander is a great place to start the card for the week.

Viktor Hovland +2500

Hovland has played perhaps the most golf out of anyone else since May. Other than the Memorial, he has finished no worse than 23rd since the tour came back. He is in the young crop of talented golfers often grouped together with Collin Morikawa and Matthew Wolff, both of which have won so far this season. With how well Hovland has been playing it is only a matter of time until he hoists a trophy as well. 

Throughout the past 36 rounds, Viktor ranks 4th in the field in Ball Striking, 8th in Approach, and 5th in Off the Tee. He has gained strokes Off the Tee in six of the past seven events he has played and Bermuda is one of his preferred putting surfaces with it comes to green type. He is also 4th in the field this week in Proximity from 175 – 200 yards which is a distance the golfers will see often. 

This will be the first WGC event for the former NCAA All-American and there is no reason why he can’t come away with the title at 25/1.

Jul 16, 2020; Dublin, Ohio, USA; Gary Woodland plays his shot from the fairway on the ninth hole during the first round of The Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Mid-tier value

Gary Woodland +4000

I actually had the opportunity to attend this event last year in Memphis. It was a fun-filled Saturday and one of the highlights was meeting Gary Woodland. None of that matters, of course, when betting outrights but I just wanted to add that in. 

The 2019 US Open champion has yet to find the winner’s circle after his lone major title but that doesn’t stop him from often being in contention in final rounds finishing in the top 10 in 3 of his last 6 events. He is an elite ball striker posting positive Strokes Gained numbers almost every week. The one piece of his game that has been a struggle as of late has been his Off the Tee game, which in the past was his strength. 

Average Strokes Gained Summary
TournamentsSG: TotalSG: T2GSG: OTTSG: APPSG: ARGSG: P
Last 54.61.3-1.93.4-0.23.4
Last 104.72.5-0.23.3-0.62.2
Last 2032.40.22.7-0.60.8
Last 2002.
Gary Woodland’s average strokes gained

Taking a larger sample size of 20 and even up to 200 events played, his Off the Tee game historically is fine. I also love to see the improvements with the Approach game recently. If he can once again find his form off the tee and keep his approach on the rise, there is no reason why Woodland shouldn’t be able to go low in Memphis this week. 

Sergio Garcia +6000

This is a slightly off the board play but somehow Sergio Garcia has looked great since he came back to the tour in mid June. Led by an elite Tee to Green game, he has posted respectable finishes of 5th, 32nd, and 32nd in his last three starts. His Ball Striking numbers back up his results.

Average Strokes Gained Summary
TournamentsSG: TotalSG: T2GSG: OTTSG: APP
Last 54.16.331.4
Sergio Garcia’s average strokes gained

Historically, he has always putt better on Bermuda than any other surface as well.

Throughout his career, Garcia has been a streaky golfer. He will seem to go on a stretch of solid finishes out of nowhere and then disappear from the scene. In 2019 he went on one of these runs with a 6th at the WGC, a 9th and the Honda, and then a top 22 finish at the prestigious Players Championship. He hasn’t won an event since the breakthrough victory at the 2017 Masters but he is in good form, he lives for big moments, and nearing the end of his career his main focus is WGC’s and Major Championships. I’ll take a shot on him at 60/1.

Long shots

World Golf Championship events typically go to big names in the golf world. It is very rare that a long shot can come through and win events of this stature. That being said, I alway like to take fliers on guys in this range and will definitely be betting them for top 10s as well. 

Correy Conners +10000

Back on Bermuda, solid Ball Striker, and a few solid finishes as of late. Corey Conners brings the stature that we are looking for coming into Memphis. He managed his way through the difficult track at Memorial and eventually finished 22nd proving that he can compete in star-studded fields. He has made the cut in four of his past five events with three of them being finishes of 22nd or better. Looking at his stats over time, he has been consistent with his Ball Striking.

Average Strokes Gained Summary
TournamentsSG: TotalSG: T2GSG: OTTSG: APP
Last 10131.62.4
Last 202.531.72.2
Last 800.621.51.2
Who is Correy Conners?

Much like Homa last week, Conners is a golfer who won on tour in 2019. Winning upside with stats that match the course in enough for me to take a shot at 100/1. Definitely will be firing off a top 10 here as well.

I will be betting Max Homa at +11500. You can’t stop me.

 A couple other numbers that stood out to me are the following:

  • Webb Simpson +2000
  • Daniel Berger +2800
  • Marc Leishman +6000

This should be a fun week in Memphis. World Golf Championship events are great to sweat out as a bettor. With there being no cut, everyone is live going into Sunday. Even if a golfer implodes on the first day they are still very much in the hunt come the weekend. Of course, this means live odds will be something to watch closely. If any of the golfers listed above struggle in the opening round we can potentially get a ton of value. I’m here for that.

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