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FedEx St. Jude Classic: Odds, Picks, and Prop Bets

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The PGA Tour is in Memphis this week for the FedEx St. Jude Classic, the final tune-up before the U.S. Open. Daniel Berger looks to defend his title as he joins headliners Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson at TPC Southwind. The stars are looking to prep for next week, but the real storylines revolve around the players hoping to capture the last spot in the second major of the year.

Anyone who moves into the top-60 in the Official World Golf Rankings qualifies for the U.S. Open; there are several players who could do it, but the most likely are Tony Finau and James Hahn, ranked Nos. 69 and 64, respectively. Finau didn’t have a great showing last week, but has been playing good golf this year with four top-10 finishes and seven top-25s. Hahn, on the other hand, has been up and down all year. In his last four starts he’s missed two cuts, but he’s also had two top-6 finishes.

  • Tournament Record: 258 by John Cook in 1996
  • 18-Hole Record at TPC Southwind: 61 shared by Jay Delsing (1993) and Bob Estes (2001).

The Course

The FedEx St. Jude Classic returns to TPC Southwind this week for the 29th time. The par-70 course will play at 7,244 yards. Accuracy off the tee and from the fairway will be placed at a premium as players look to navigate around the ponds and streams that weave through the course. No. 11, a par-3, is the hole to watch this week. It garners comparisons to No. 17 at TPC Sawgrass; it requires a short iron to an island green with bunkers protecting the front and back. The wind should be calm for all four rounds, but I still expect to see a few balls find the water.

Odds

Past Champs in the field:

  • Brian Gay +7500
  • Harris English +7500
  • Fabian Gomez +30000
  • Daniel Berger +2500

Favorites:

  • Rickie Fowler +750
  • Adam Scott +1200
  • Brooks Koepka +1200
  • Phil Mickelson +1600
  • Francesco Molinari +1800
  • Daniel Berger +2500
  • Kyle Stanley +2500
  • Billy Horschel +2800
  • Charl Schwartzel +2800
  • Russell Henley +2800

Picks

My Pick: I’m going with Brooks Koepka this week at +1200. He’s definitely a horse for the course with a 68.17 scoring average, and he has a T2 and T3 in his last two starts here. His accuracy off the tee gives me a little pause, but it hasn’t been an issue for him in the past. He ranks 9th in Birdie Average and 2nd in Bounce-Back Percentage. I’m confident he can make up for a couple stray tee shots to the water this week.

Value Pick: My value pick is Rafa Cabrera Bello at +5000. This will be his first start at TPC Southwind, so he won’t be as familiar with the course as I’d like, but he’s too good of a putter to pass on. He’s ranked 7th in Strokes Gained: Putting and his performance at The Players was shockingly impressive.

Long Shot: I’m going with Stewart Cink (+6600) as my dark horse this week. He’s made the cut in 7 of his 8 attempts at TPC Southwind, and he has been playing great golf lately with nine top-30 finishes in his last 12 starts. He ranks 12th in Shots Gained: Approach-the-Green, 35th in Strokes Gained: Putting and 18th in Shots Gained: Total. It’s only a matter of time before he gets back to the winner’s circle.

Props

Hole in One (Yes -125, No -105): Without question, there will be an ace this week. The 8th and the 11th play well under 200 yards. Both will only require a short iron off the tee and the calm weather should allow players to take dead aim at the pin.

Will there be a playoff? (Yes, +300, No -400): I’m going with “yes” this week. There hasn’t been a playoff here in the last five years, but this course usually lends itself to drama down the stretch. From 2008-2011 there were three playoffs, so it’s not out of the ordinary. We’re due for a close one at TPC Southwind.

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Tiger Woods fires second-round 76, will miss Genesis Open cut

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Tiger Woods’ trip to Los Angeles is over sooner than he’d hoped. Woods fired a 5-over 76 during the second round of the Genesis Open to miss the presumed cut at Riviera by four strokes (the second round won’t be completed until Saturday morning due to darkness).

Hopes were high Woods would continue to build on a T-23 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, as the driving woes that plagued him at Torrey Pines followed him to the Riv, despite changing shafts in his TaylorMade M3.

RELATED: Tiger Woods WITB

Wayward off the tee, Woods made eight bogeys Friday, unable to grind out a decent score as he did with his opening-round 1-over 72. He was unable to rely on his putter the way did in this first round, three-putting back-to-back holes (No. 11 and 12). A stretch of three straight bogeys sunk Woods’ hopes of hanging around for the weekend.

(c/o PGATour.com)

We won’t have to wait long to see the Big Cat back in action, however, as Woods committed to next week’s Honda Classic at PGA National in Florida. Woods most recently put a peg in the ground at the course in 2014, where he ultimately withdrew due to back spasms.

The 79-time PGA Tour winner hasn’t teed it in back-to-back weeks since 2015, so while fans may not be encouraged by his play, at least he continues to be free from any issues with his surgically repaired back.

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Tiger Woods shoots an opening-round 72 (1-over) at the 2018 Genesis Open

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After hitting just 17 fairways all week at the 2018 Farmers Insurance Open, where he finished T23, Tiger Woods switched driver shafts and added 0.75 degrees of loft in his TaylorMade M3 driver ahead of the 2018 Genesis Open this week. He went from using a Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 70TX shaft, to a Matrix TP6HDe shaft — he used a TP7HDe shaft back in 2015.

So how did the switch work out for him at Riviera CC on Thursday?

Well, he hit driver 9 times during his round of 72 strokes; four went right — one of which got lost in a tree and he had to re-tee — one went left, and four found the fairway. He hit 8-of-14 fairways in total; no Fred Funk, but an improvement. Woods’ bigger issue on Thursday, actually, was that he hit only 7 greens in regulation, leaving himself a few tricky up-and-downs. Despite hitting only 38 percent of greens, Woods managed to make 5 birdies, and he continues displaying prowess on the greens (1.784 Strokes Gained Putting, and 82 feet worth of putts made).

He also showed some flashes of old Tiger with Arnie-esque follow through.

Of course, that means he missed the fairway way right, and he did go onto bogey the hole, but the shot made for some excitement on golf twitter, at least.

According to @RandallMellGC, Tiger described his round in a post-round interview: “I fought hard. I made a few simple, silly mistakes, bad shots here and there, missed on the wrong side, made a few birdies as well. 1-over’s not bad.”

Yea, that’s about right.

Tiger currently sits at T66, and six shots off the leader. Lots of golf to play, but he’ll likely be contending with the cutline come Friday afternoon. How do you think Tiger will finish this week at the 2018 Genesis Open?

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Bill Haas injured in fatal car crash in Los Angeles

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Bill Haas was involved in a fatal car crash in Pacific Palisades, Calif., site of the Genesis Open, Tuesday night.

The 35-year-old was riding in the passenger seat of a Ferrari driven by a member of the family with whom Haas is staying this week. According to LA County fire officials, the Ferrari collided with a BMW driven by a 50-year-old woman. Haas and the driver of the BMW were transported to a local hospital. The 71-year-old male driver of the Ferrari was pronounced dead on the scene.

The Ferrari also reportedly “clipped” a vehicle driven by actor Luke Wilson prior to the rollover. Wilson was not injured, per a police report.

Per PGATour.com, Bill Haas’ manager, Allen Hobbs of Players Group Management, released the following statement Wednesday morning.

“Last night in Pacific Palisades, California, Bill Haas was involved in a serious car accident in which the driver—a member of the family with whom Haas and his family were staying for the Genesis Open—was killed. While Bill escaped serious injuries and has been released from the hospital, he is understandably shaken up and—more importantly—his deepest condolences go out to the host family during this tragic and difficult time.“

“Bill will withdraw from the Genesis Open and plans to head home to Greenville to recover. He appreciates the support of friends, family and the golf world as a whole, and he has asked for privacy as he processes what has happened.“

Geoff Shackelford tweeted this video of the KTLA coverage of the crash.

Bill Haas’ father, Jay, spoke with Todd Lewis on Golf Channel’s morning drive earlier in the day, saying his son was “very fortunate.” Beyond swelling in one of his legs and pain, Haas sustained no serious injuries, according to his father.

See the discussion in the forums here

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