With only one week remaining until the US Open gets underway, The FedEx St. Jude Classic has always been an event that has had a limited field. It is typically filled with players looking for one last shot at making the field in our national championship, and players still needing some work on their games before moving on to the big show.
Harris English notched his first PGA Tour victory last year, overcoming a final round filled with mistakes and emotions to beat Phil Mickelson, and Scott Stallings by two strokes at the end of the day. Harris will be in the field this year at TPC Fairwinds to defend his title and Mickelson will be continuing to get his game ready for Pinehurst next week.
TPC Fairwinds is located Southeast of Memphis, and has been the home of the St Jude Classic since 1989, and since being redesigned in 2004, is 7239 yards, and plays to a par of 70.
The origional 1987 design by Ron Pritchard played to a par of 71, and the 2004 redesign added some yardage and replaced the bentgrass with more heat-tolerant, bermudagrass. The course was built on a former dairy farm, and has taken advantage of the lakes, ponds and streams as it lays in the countryside.
The field in 2014 is not great, but Phil Mickelson is among six players currently in the top 25 in World Rankings who will tee it up Thursday morning for a share of the $5.8 Million Dollar purse, and the 500 FedEx Cup points available to the participants making the cut.
Victor Dubuisson, who came to fame at The Accenture Match Play Championships back in January, and lost in a playoff at the Nordea Masters last week will join a host of Europeans who are in the field this week to get ready for the US Open next week. In the history of this tournament, only five winners have ever came from outside the US.
Nick Price (1993, ’98), Gary Player (1974), Greg Norman (1997) and Lee Westwood (2010).
The FedEx St. Jude classic has always been played in the Memphis area since its innagural event back in 1958, and was known for years as the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic. Billy Maxwell won the first tournament, and took home a whopping $2800 dollars. A noticable difference from the $1.044 Million that the winner will pocket on Sunday afternoon.
For you trivia buffs, Tiger Woods’ Stanford teammate, Notah Begay III won this event in 2000, but remains one of the few events that Tiger never won. Jack Nicklaus won here only once in 1965.
TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS).