PGA First Look: WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational

The PGA First Look is complete with a course preview, odds, salaries, Official World Golf Rankings, and course history.

If you’re looking for more in-depth golf betting picks strategy, check out our breakdown of the course and the Betting Picks for the 2019 FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

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Event Preview

Even though it was a brutal week of DFS for yours truly, I still love the Open Championship. There is nothing like setting an alarm for every hour to wake up and check on your golf scores. Northern Ireland put on a tremendous event and I’m excited to hear that Royal Portrush will likely be added to the Open rota moving forward. Shane Lowry slipped through the cracks for many last week, even though he had plenty of experience on links courses, he had three top 10s in his five events leading up to the Open, and he is from Ireland. While I would have liked a more competitive Sunday, Lowry was clearly the best golfer all week. It was an amazing moment when he was walking to the green on the 18th hole. My only complaint about the tournament is that we didn’t have any way to track golfers outside of their raw scores on each hole. The R&A needs to figure this out before next year.

We now head to Memphis for a new event, but a familiar venue on the PGA Tour. TPC Southwind will host the very first WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. I don’t know about you, but I think they could have done without the Invitational part of the name. If you are looking for course history, this event used to be the FedEx St. Jude Classic. The course is a Par 70 that measures 7,238 yards. It features two reachable par fives and seven par fours that measure at least 450 yards. The raw yardage number is a big misleading thanks to the fact that there are only two par fives and that they are both short. We will see plenty of long irons hit this week.

TPC Southwind is not a pushover by any means and we could see the lowest winning score in the last couple of months. The winner here is typically in the low teens, which is a nice change of pace from the birdie fests that we’ve seen recently. Seven of the last eight winners at this course have led the field in strokes gained tee to green. This seems fairly obvious, but it’s typically not the case at easier events like the John Deere Classic that turn into a putting contest. The greens and fairways are both tough to hit in Memphis, which gives a significant boost to the elite ball strikers. The fairways are made of zoysia grass (which seem to be an acquired taste) and the greens are made of champion bermuda grass.

When we look at past data from the course, most of the strokes gained here are on approach followed closely by off the tee. This plays into the ball striking narrative that I was talking about above. You’ll need to scramble often given the fact that these greens are tough to hit, but the scrambling success rate is 3% higher here than your average PGA Tour event. With so many par fours on the scorecard, I don’t mind looking at par four scoring, especially from the 450-500 yard range. I’m not putting a ton of emphasis on course history this week, as it hasn’t been all that predictive at TPC Southwind other than Daniel Berger winning here in back-to-back years.

There are only 64 golfers in the field this week, which means we don’t have a cut. This should change our approach to DFS. All golfers are guaranteed to play four rounds, which places a bigger emphasis on scoring than cut making. Furthermore, you aren’t going to cash with six golfers finishing outside the top 10. You will need the winner and a few guys in contention if you want to take a run at some of these top-heavy tournaments across the industry. The way I see it, we should be price inelastic this week. Rather than starting your lineups with the best point-per-dollar options, start your lineups with the golfer(s) that you think can win the tournament and build from there.

Cut Rule: There is no cut this week.

Recent Winners of this Event: Dustin Johnson (2018), Daniel Berger (2017 & 2016), Fabian Gomez (2015), Ben Crane (2014)

Key Statistics (In Order of Importance)

1) Strokes Gained Approach
2) Strokes Gained Off the Tee
3) Birdie or Better %
4) Strokes Gained Around the Green
5) Bogey Avoidance

Sports Betting Picks

Betting on golf can be incredibly frustrating at times, but it’s a nice way to complement your DFS lineups. You can use the two as a hedge, especially when it comes to highly owned golfers in DFS. As for last week, we hit Shane Lowry top five at 12/1 and Lee Westwood top 20 at 4.5/1. I wanted to bet Westwood top five, but never pulled the trigger. With five events left on the schedule, it looks like we’ll need an outright win to end the season with a profit. With only 64 golfers in the field, this could be a great week for top five and top 20 sleepers.

YTD: 5 wins, -13.5 units

Outright Bets

Rory McIlroy 10/1
Webb Simpson 33/1
Patrick Reed 40/1
Billy Horschel 55/1

Top 5 Bets

Paul Casey 7/1
Webb Simpson 7/1
Patrick Reed 9/1
Billy Horschel 11/1
Jim Furyk 18/1

Top 20 Bets

Jim Furyk 3/1
Keith Mitchell 4/1
Max Homa 6/1
Corey Conners 6/1

Salaries, Odds, and Course History (2014-2018)

Golfer DK Salary FD Salary Odds DK % FD % Cuts 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
Brooks Koepka $11,600 $11,900 10 -200% -50% 5/5 30 37 2 3 19
Dustin Johnson $11,400 $12,000 9 50% 0% 3/3 1 500 5 500 24
Rory McIlroy $11,100 $11,700 10 33% 33% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Justin Thomas $10,700 $11,100 14 -25% 0% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Jon Rahm $10,400 $11,200 12 20% 0% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Tommy Fleetwood $10,200 $10,700 22 -50% 0% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Patrick Cantlay $9,800 $10,900 19 14% 14% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Justin Rose $9,500 $11,000 20 13% -17% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Xander Schauffele $9,300 $10,800 21 11% 0% 1/1 500 52 500 500 500
Henrik Stenson $9,100 $10,600 26 0% 0% 1/1 26 500 500 500 500
Matt Kuchar $9,000 $10,000 32 -64% -13% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Hideki Matsuyama $8,900 $10,500 27 8% 0% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Bryson DeChambeau $8,800 $10,400 29 0% -8% 1/2 500 87 500 45 500
Adam Scott $8,700 $10,300 28 14% 8% 1/1 500 10 500 500 500
Jordan Spieth $8,600 $10,100 31 -7% -7% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Shane Lowry $8,500 $9,200 51 -56% -4% 1/1 30 500 500 500 500
Tony Finau $8,400 $9,900 31 18% 18% 0/1 73 500 500 500 500
Jason Day $8,300 $10,200 31 17% -7% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Webb Simpson $8,200 $9,500 32 11% 19% 1/2 500 500 500 96 3
Paul Casey $8,200 $9,600 37 0% 5% 1/1 500 500 500 500 24
Gary Woodland $8,100 $9,100 42 -5% 12% 0/1 500 500 91 500 500
Louis Oosthuizen $8,100 $9,400 42 0% 5% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Patrick Reed $8,000 $9,300 39 13% 13% 0/1 500 500 500 500 98
Tyrrell Hatton $8,000 $8,900 52 -17% 7% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Chez Reavie $7,900 $8,700 49 4% 27% 3/3 6 4 500 12 500
Rafael Cabrera-Bello $7,900 $8,600 52 -4% 26% 1/1 500 4 500 500 500
Sergio Garcia $7,800 $8,800 64 -22% -6% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Andrew Putnam $7,800 $8,900 49 15% 21% 1/2 2 500 500 149 500
Matthew Fitzpatrick $7,700 $9,700 60 0% -53% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Matt Wallace $7,700 $9,000 61 -3% -11% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Marc Leishman $7,600 $9,800 63 0% -72% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Danny Willett $7,600 $8,800 63 -3% -3% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Billy Horschel $7,500 $9,000 57 15% -4% 4/4 51 4 500 8 6
Matthew Wolff $7,500 $8,500 80 -15% -3% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Brandt Snedeker $7,400 $8,700 66 3% -3% 1/1 6 500 500 500 500
Ian Poulter $7,400 $8,500 76 -6% 0% 2/2 500 31 500 500 6
Alexander Noren $7,300 $8,400 98 -11% -5% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Phil Mickelson $7,300 $9,100 75 3% -44% 5/5 12 9 2 3 11
Kevin Kisner $7,200 $8,600 72 10% 0% 1/1 500 500 500 500 50
Eddie Pepperell $7,200 $8,300 100 -10% -5% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Bubba Watson $7,100 $8,200 98 -2% 2% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Cameron Smith $7,100 $8,400 94 5% 0% 0/1 500 500 153 500 500
Jim Furyk $7,000 $8,000 102 -2% 6% 0/1 500 87 500 500 500
J.B. Holmes $7,000 $8,000 103 -5% 4% 2/3 3 52 500 500 98
Keegan Bradley $6,900 $8,300 98 11% 2% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Lucas Bjerregaard $6,900 $7,900 122 -9% 0% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Kevin Na $6,800 $8,100 115 -2% -7% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
C.T. Pan $6,800 $7,600 163 -13% 0% 1/1 18 500 500 500 500
Thorbjorn Olesen $6,700 $8,200 107 4% -9% 0/1 500 500 500 500 107
Kevin Tway $6,700 $7,900 147 -4% -4% 1/3 90 31 500 500 136
Hao-Tong Li $6,600 $8,100 103 10% -2% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Justin Harding $6,600 $7,800 141 2% 2% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Nate Lashley $6,500 $7,700 163 -2% -4% 1/1 37 500 500 500 500
Keith Mitchell $6,500 $7,600 161 2% 2% 1/1 37 500 500 500 500
Max Homa $6,400 $7,300 241 -4% 0% 2/2 500 85 500 66 500
Sung Kang $6,400 $7,500 230 0% 0% 1/3 115 80 118 500 500
Corey Conners $6,300 $7,400 237 2% 0% 1/2 68 500 500 121 500
Adam Long $6,300 $7,200 255 -2% 0% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Poom Saksansin $6,200 $7,000 539 -5% -3% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Shugo Imahira $6,200 $7,100 313 -2% -2% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Aaron Rai $6,100 $7,000 295 3% 2% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Mikumu Horikawa $6,100 $7,000 568 -3% -5% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Kodai Ichihara $6,000 $7,000 503 3% -2% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500
Philip Eriksson $6,000 $7,000 924 -2% -7% 0/0 500 500 500 500 500

Color Coding
Course history in BLUE indicates a top ten finish.
Course history in GREEN indicates a top 25 finish.
Course history in YELLOW indicates a made cut with a finish outside the top 25.
Course history in RED indicates a missed cut.

Legend

Term Description
Site % Odds The percentage differential between a golfer’s salary rank and odds rank. The higher the %, the better.
OWGR Official World Golf Ranking
Cuts Cut record of each golfer at this course in the last five seasons.
2014 – 2018 Columns Course history at this event in the last five seasons.

Cover Image Credit: USA Today Sports Images

About the Author

  • Derek Farnsworth (Notorious)

  • Derek Farnsworth, aka Notorious, is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of DFS, thanks in large part to the great advice he gives on a daily basis in RotoGrinders.com’s Grind Down for NBA and MLB as well as the First Look column that gives a preview of the day’s games from a DFS perspective. Before joining the RotoGrinders team, Derek received a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. When he’s not busy providing content, he’s dominating the industry as evidenced by his consistent top rankings in multiple sports. Farnsworth provides expert analysis for RotoGrinders Premium members on a daily basis during the NBA season and has also been nominated for five different Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA) awards.

    Interview after $100,000 Win

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