The 2020/21 PGA TOUR season is winding down with a bang. A week after the Olympics, the game’s brightest stars will descend on Memphis for the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, the final WGC event of the campaign. And with just two weeks remaining before the FedEx Cup Playoffs and then the Ryder Cup, there is plenty at stake for every player in this week’s world-class field.
Here are our favorite bets for the 2021 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind.
Dustin Johnson (+1800)
The results will show that after an uncharacteristic three-month dark spell, DJ was trending in the right direction before hitting a speed bump in his most recent start at the 3M Open. Those who were watching that Friday afternoon might’ve noticed that – how can we put this nicely? – he might not have fully had his heart into advancing through the weekend in Minnesota, for whatever reason. I do believe, though, that he’s intent on kicking things into a higher gear for the remainder of this summer, even if he doesn’t quite voice those intentions as, well, intently as some other players.
This has always been a good track for him and even though those two victories came against more inferior fields than we’ll see this week, we all know that DJ is capable of lapping a group of even the world’s best players. His odds would be a couple of points longer if top-ranked Jon Rahm had entered this event, but even so, he’s sandbagged enough lately to offer us a solid discount at this price.
Course horses are nice. Course thoroughbreds are even better.
Scottie Scheffler (+3100)
Scheffler’s form is great heading into this event and he seems to play better in these strong fields. He’s racked up top-10 finishes in four of his last five starts on TOUR, and three of those came in majors. He’s close to breaking through it seems, but he’s also teetering on that Tony Finau territory where he’s always in contention but doesn’t actually win.
Viktor Hovland (+2500)
Hovland is one of several players that will make the long trip back to the States after participating in the Tokyo Olympics last week. I don’t love that he is going to have the jetlag factor, but the young Norwegian found some form in his game across his final round in Japan and should be a great fit this week at TPC Southwind.
He’ll be guaranteed four rounds, so even a sluggish start won’t end his week early, but I don’t expect that to happen.
Brooks Koepka (+1100)
Going to the top of the board to bet Brooks Koepka feels like a no-brainer this week. There are numerous signs pointing to the four-time major champion adding a second WGC win to his resume.
Already a winner at this track in 2019, Koepka boasts immaculate course history at TPC Southwind. In addition to the win, he has two runners-up (2016 and 2020) and a third-place finish (2015) in his past six trips to Memphis. As impressive as his course history is, Koepka’s recent form is just as spectacular.
The 31-year-old has four top-6 finishes in his past five starts where he has gained an average 7.8 strokes from tee to green on the field. In his past 24 rounds, Koepka ranks second in the field in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking, eighth in Strokes Gained: Approach, and eighth in Greens in Regulation: Gained.
The Bermuda greens at TPC Southwind should also be a nice fit for Brooks as Bermudagrass has historically been his preferred putting surface. The list of WGC winners in recent years is littered with almost exclusively elite players. Koepka has a great chance to log his name as a WGC-FedEx St. Jude champion once again.
Brooks Koepka (+1100)
I think betting the top of the board is usually a -EV proposition considering everything we know about golf and how hard it is to win, however, I believe Koepka stands out among the rest of his peers this week. Matt laid out the case for him above quite eloquently, but just to reiterate, Koepka is coming in red hot. He’s finished T-6 or better in four of his past five events and six of his last 10. We know he’s the preeminent big game hunter in the sport and when there’s a WGC or Major on the docket he absolutely has to be on the short list.
With Morikawa, Xander, Rory and JT all flying home from Tokyo, and DJ’s game all over the place at the moment, it’s just Spieth and Brooksy at the top for me. Koepka gets the nod, as his ball striking has been as locked in as anyone on TOUR all season. He ranks No. 1 in this field in that department over his past 16, 12 and eight rounds, and with his history at TPC Southwind reading T-2, WIN, T-2, T-3 in four of his seven trips, he’s our Huckleberry this week.
Louis Oosthuizen (+2200)
TPC Southwind is a course that is going to test every facet of a player’s game, so I’ll be avoiding the one-trick ponies and instead focusing on players who have solid all-around games that can navigate the trouble lurking all over this golf course.
Oosthuizen has been on an absolute tear of late, finishing inside the top-3 in four of his last five starts. Over the last 24 rounds, Louis ranks third in approach, 10th in birdie or better percentage and first in bogey avoidance. He finished sixth at this event last season, and is the kind of all-around player that I believe can get the job done. I’ll be starting my card here.