Hey Jude. I like this event a lot and one thing that stands out to me is Brian Gay’s win last year. It was impressive and not that many players can go low and blast the field away. I’m really looking for guys that have gone low this year and can get a similar victory. Other people have said the field is weak, but I couldn’t disagree more. Anytime you’ve got Poulter, Westwood, McIlroy, Harrington, Villegas, Goosen and others in the mix, you can’t have a bad event.
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NIKE GOLF : Three to Watch
You have to figure it’s now or never for Leonard. History has been on his side the past few events but he hasn’t been able to put anything together. He’s a two-time winner at this event (’05 and ’08) and he needs to show up this week.
Ames has looked a bit shaky in his recent outings. He was very consistent up until The Players. His best finish at TPC Southwind was a T13 in ’08.
Charl Schwartzel (World Cup pick of the week)
While Charl hasn’t played here before he’s played well at the big events this year. T30 at The Masters, T9 at Match Play, 2nd at the CA and 3rd at the Houston Open. Coming off a T17 at the BMW PGA, he’s looking good. Also, he’s South African (where my parents are from) and there’s no way he will play poorly when South Africa plays Mexico friday morning.
THE FIELD : Four Who Are Hot
He’s the hottest player on the planet right now (maybe other than Luke Donald). He’s definitely been on this list more than anyone else and has the highest FedEx points tally of any player in this event. His last 3 starts have been T4, T7 and T3. T14 at this event last year.
Rors had a very quiet T10 last week at Memorial. Pair that with his win at Quail Hollow and that’s good. I wouldn’t worry about his MC at The Players. But he’ll be looking to go low and test his game before the US Open.
Westy will either win this week, or quite possibly at Pebble Beach. He had a T4 at the Players and a T10 at the BMW PGA and he’s always on his game. I think Westwood does better on very difficult courses though, as he’s never done that well when the winner’s scores are very low.
This pick is a stretch. I had Bo Van Pelt here, but he withdrew this morning. Villegas is hot after his opening round 77 at Muirfield. He rallied and finished 28th. This will also be the first time he’s played in a Tour event with his brother. The Columbian has also never missed a cut here in 4 outings.
THE FIELD : Four Who Have History
Toms is a two-time winner here (’03 and ’04) and has put together a T2 in ’09, T37 in ’08, 3rd in ’07, T10 in ’06, 2nd in ’05. That’s actually incredible. Coming off a T13 at Colonial, more eyes should be on Toms. He hasn’t won in awhile and he could be due.
With a string of 7 straight made cuts and a good history in Memphis (T10 in ’09, T24 in ’08, T12 in ’07, T4 in ’05) I think Slocum has a great chance to pick up his first win of the year.
The defending champ has some odds to overcome. Despite a stellar record here (1st in ’09, 4th in 07, T16 in ’06, T5 in ’04) I still don’t think he can consistently put it together, but his last two starts were Top 25’s. Take a chance, this could be good for him.
I believe he’s the popular pick to win this week. T4 here last year, T2 in ’08, T12 in ’07 and some other made cuts here is good. Playing well, averaging 15th place in the 9 tournaments he’s started.
FINAL FOUR : Rory McIlroy, Robert Allenby, Heath Slocum and Charl Schwartzel
It hurts me not to take Poulter, Crane, Westwood, Villegas or Toms in my Final Four. I can honestly see Westwood winning this week and at the US Open. No room for Poulter, ZJ, Goosen, Jacobsen, Paddy, Howell or Holmes on the list, but there’s still choices to be made. Someone may take a flier on Jordan “Fluke?” Spieth and I wouldn’t blame them.
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hit the jump for the full list of players >> St. Jude Classic Tournament Full Field
Pick with your heart,