The FedEx Cup Playoffs begin Thursday in Memphis, and the stakes are high. Beyond the continued competition of LIV Golf, the PGA Tour has unleased its own Taylor Made purse with a $15 million prize pool at this week’s FedEx St. Jude Championship.
The 125 player event at TPC Southwind in Memphis will be cut down to the top 70 points leaders in the FedEx Cup Standings after Sunday’s final round on the 7,243 yard par 70 course. The points standings will be updated and moving throughout the tournament, and the 70 remaining players will move on to next week’s BMW Championship in Wilmington, Delaware.
The odds to win the FedEx St. Jude Championship will also move throughout the event with live wagering options and adjusted odds after each round.
One of hottest Julys on record in Memphis should see firm and fast conditions over the weekend as temperatures reach 90 degrees. The course was hit with heavy rain Tuesday, but should dry out. Along with reshaping, re-edging and removing some bunkers in the last two years, you can see the grounds crew was hard at work on the sand and grounds following significant rain ahead of the tournament.
With water in play on 11 holes and nearly 6,000 balls finding water on PGA Tour events at TPC Southwind since 2003 (most at any course on Tour), the emphasis on tee-to-green play, accuracy, approach play and putting on Bermuda greens will determine which players will contend in this year’s FedEx St. Jude Championship.
Leading Favorites Odds and Most Bet Golfers to Win in Memphis
In most weeks, we see the leading favorites at the top of the outright win market. This week there are many again, but at the very top are a few players with mid-range odds generating the most money bet at BetMGM – Viktor Hovland and Will Zalatoris.
- +1000 – Rory McIlroy
- +1400 – Scottie Scheffler
- +1600 – Cameron Smith, Patrick Cantlay
- +1800 – Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele
- +2200 – Jon Rahm, Tony Finau, Matt Fitzpatrick
- +2500 – Will Zalatoris
- +2800 – Jordan Spieth, Sam Burns
- +3000 – Cameron Young
- +3300 – Collin Morikawa, Shane Lowry, Sungjae Im
- +4000 – Viktor Hovland, Jooyung Kim
- +4500 – Billy Horschel
- +5000 – Joaquin Niemann, Russell Henley, Tyrrell Hatton, Corey Connors
- +5500 – Aaron Wise, Max Homa
Hovland has taken 10% of the handle to win with Zalatoris 9.4%. These percentages, along with the golf odds continue to change as bets come in ahead of the opening tee shots Thursday.
Zalatoris parted ways with his caddie this week, and the top-15 player in both the world rankings and FedEx Cup Standings is still firing for his first PGA Tour win. Zalatoris has eight top-10s this season including three runner-up finishes, and he’s a popular pick and bet to get his breakthrough win this week.
Six golfers have taken a combined 45% of the total handle to win the tournament at BetMGM:
The four favorites to win the event have all taken 5% or less of the total win handle – McIlroy, Scheffler, Smith and Cantlay, who has generated just 1.6% of the money to win.
Capable contenders but definite dark horses like Billy Horschel, Max Homa, Shane Lowery, Russell Henley, Joaquin Niemann, Davis Riley, Aaron Wise and Sebastian Munoz have all taken less than 1% of the total handle to win.
Looking at player performance results from recent events held at TPC Southwind when not a FedEx Cup Playoffs event and we see Justin Thomas won the 2020 FedEx St. Jude by 3-shots with a -13 under total of 267. Xander Schauffele, Shane Lowry and Matt Fitzpatrick finished T-6 while Scottie Scheffler and Collin Morikawa both finished top-20.
In the 2021 event at TPC Southwind, Abraham Ancer won in a 3-man playoff over Hideki Matsuyama and Sam Burns. Cam Smith finished T-5, Zalatoris 9th, McIlroy and Jordan Spieth T-12 and Scheffler finished in 14th place.
Matsuyama withdrew from this year’s FedEx St. Jude event on Wednesday with a neck injury, but he plans on playing next week and sits No. 11 in the current FedEx Cup Standings.
Featured Groups and Holes
Best friends Scottie Scheffler (No. 1 in world) and Sam Burns (11) are paired with world No. 2 Cameron Smith on Thursday and Friday with the Golf Channel carrying TV coverage from 3-7 p.m. ET. Other key groups to follow who are considered contenders include:
- Rory McIlroy, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele (No. 3, 4, 5 in the world)
- Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, Cameron Young
- Jordan Spieth, Matt Fitzpatrick, Max Homa
- Jon Rahm, Billy Horschel, Tom Hoge
- Will Zalatoris, Sungjae Im, Kramer Hickokss
- Viktor Hovland, Joaquin Niemann, J.T. Poston
The featured holes at TPC Southwind are also worth paying attention to as players navigate the course and water hazards. The end caps and par 4’s at holes No. 9 and 18 are both doglegs with water in play. The par 3’s at holes No. 11 and 14 also have water and No. 11 is a short iron over water to a small island green while 14 is long carry over water to a severely undulating green and one of the tougher holes on the course.
Scottie Scheffler has had a Player of the Year season with four wins including a major at The Masters. He’s the dominant points leader in the FedEx Cup Standings. But any of the top-10 golfers in the standings can pass Scheffler if he fails to finish top-10 in the FedEx St. Jude event. A playoff event win is worth 2,000 FedEx Cup points, and even a fourth place finish is worth 540 points – more than winning most tournaments on Tour (500).
Still, all the top players above will be moving onto next week’s BMW Championship playoff event due to their high points standing. But a win for Zalatoris in the FedEx St. Jude Championship would be more notable for him as his first on Tour. The 25-year-old has a pair of runner-up finishes in two majors this year, but a breakthrough win this week in Memphis will have many more bettors cashing in on the popular player.
You can bet on it.