Queue the Jim Mora soundbite because theare officially upon us. Taking on a new look from just a year ago, it is no longer The Northern Trust that will kick off the postseason, rather the FedEx St. Jude Championship at TPC Southwind ushers in the festivites. A long-standing host venue on the PGA Tour, this par 70 design will welcome the top 121 players to Memphis, Tennessee, this week.
While the first playoff event is typically reserved for the top 125 players, with four players on the sidelines, the field is whittled down that much more. Eyes are drawn to the top of the standings, where world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler sits at the top of the mountain. Enjoying a strong spring that saw him capture the Masters and three other victories, he has built a large lead over the likes of Cameron Smith, Sam Burns, Xander Schauffele and reigning FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay.
With 2,000 points awarded to this week's winner, there will be plenty of movement not only at the top of the standings, but maybe at the bottom, more importantly. The top 125 will be chopped to the top 70 for next week's BMW Championship, which means Brandon Wu is this week's "bubble boy."
The PGA Tour first-timer is joined by fellow rookies Trey Mullinax and Taylor Moore as those narrowly inside the top 70. Hoping to displace them are numerous veterans, including No. 72 Gary Woodland, No. 76 Adam Scott and No. 93 Justin Rose.
Let's take a closer look at this week's tournament with odds provided via Caesars Sportsbook.
Event: St. Jude Championship | Dates: Aug. 11-14
Location: TPC Southwind -- Memphis, Tennessee
Par: 70 | Yardage: 7,243 | Purse: $15,000,000
2022 St. Jude Championship field, odds
- Rory McIlroy (10-1): The world No. 3 has not been seen since The Open where he was outmatched by Cameron Smith down the stretch. Still, McIlroy has been terrific this season and has all the makings of putting together a memorable postseason run. In total, he has 14 top-20 finishes in 16 worldwide starts, which is flat out ridiculous. He finished T4 here in 2019 in a duel against Brooks Koepka and should have a similar outing once again.
- Scottie Scheffler (14-1)
- Cameron Smith (16-1): The Champion Golfer of the Year was in position to win this tournament last season. Well, technically both tournaments, as he lost in a playoff to Tony Finau at The Northern Trust and came to the 72nd hole at TPC Southwind with a chance to win before hitting his approach shot out of bounds. With three trophies under his belt this season, if he can keep the ball in front of him, his irons and putter are capable of carrying the load.
- Xander Schauffele (18-1)
- Jon Rahm (18-1): Rahm has yet to replicate last year's magic and appeared to hit a speed bump in Scotland. Before the trip overseas, the former world No. 1 was in the penultimate group of the U.S. Open and eventually went backwards to finish T12. Oddly enough, this only marked Rahm's third real opportunity to claim a title in 2022 with the other two being his win at the Mexico Open and his runner-up at the Tournament of Champions.
- Justin Thomas (18-1)
- Patrick Cantlay (18-1): The reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year kicked off his race to the FedEx Cup with a T11 finish at The Northern Trust. Cantlay went onto win the next two playoff events, and given his current form, he may have a chance to repeat such an effort. In 17 starts in 2022, he has collected eight top-five finishes, including a runner-up result in his last start at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
- Tony Finau (20-1): He may technically be the defending champion, as Finau got off the schneid last season with his playoff victory at The Northern Trust. Fast forward to present day and he comes into the FedEx Cup Playoffs with a completely different tone surrounding him. Winning the 3M Open and the Rocket Mortgage Classic in his last two starts, he will now face stout competition from here on out.
- Matt Fitzpatrick (22-1)
- Will Zalatoris (25-1)
- Sam Burns (25-1)
2022 St. Jude Championship picks
|Winner (30-1): The bridesmaid at both the 3M Open and the Wyndham Championship, Im's resurgence on the greens has now led to consecutive quality results. The putter will once again tell the tale of his tournament, as Im ranks 10th in strokes gained tee to green over the last three months. The finishes haven't stacked up in two prior outings at TPC Southwind, but on paper it is a course tailor-made for him given the need to keep the ball in the short grass off the tee. The 24-year-old gained eight strokes putting here in 2020, and if he comes anywhere in the neighborhood of that figure this week, he will win.|
|Contender (33-1): The burly Irishman thought he was an early exit from the Wyndham Championship, only to find out the next day he had actually made the cut. Having already flown home, Lowry flew back Saturday morning and ultimately ranked 10th in strokes gained approach by week's end. That was about all that went right for him as he lost more than seven strokes on the greens. The putter has been a problem child for the entire summer, but I am cautiously optimistic it can show signs of life in Memphis as Lowry has taken to these greens in his last two appearances.|
|Sleeper (60-1): It was a vintage Conners performance in Greensboro as the Canadian ranked fifth in strokes gained tee to green, seventh in strokes gained off the tee and eighth in strokes gained approach. TPC Southwind has been known to cater to strong ball-strikers and there are few if any better than Conners in that respect. The short game is suspect, but at this price, it is worth the risk of finding out if he can figure things out on and around the greens.|
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