The Fed Ex St Jude preview with Skeeter McGillicuddy
One week to go before Oakmont and hardly surprising the big three decide to take the week off.
The Fed Ex is a victim of its proximity to the US Open, as all pre major events can be, but there is still a winner to be found.
Played at TPC Southwind this is the 59th incarnation of the tournament. A Par 70 of nearly 7,250 yards the course places a premium on hitting greens and making putts. Sound familiar?
Dustbin tops the betting and while he seems to contend more often than not its notable how often he has shirked the challenge when in contention. Under pressure his driving can get wayward – again surprise – but it’s the short putting that really lets him down. He looked to be swiping the blade across the ball at the Memorial and did well to finish third.
I’d rather back him against the big three simply because his price would be better.
Next comes Brooks Koepka, 3rd here last year on his second attempt he’s arguably a much improved player and coming off a runners up last time out it all bodes well. But 14/1? No.
Milky Phil is next up and again he’s been there or thereabouts recently only to throw in a triple and slip back down the ladder. He does like to play the week before a major and with a 2nd and 3rd over the last three years he clearly loves the place. I’d worry that he is tinkering with his swing trying to produce a less inside path. It looks like change for changes sake and the reality is he wins if he putts in the north of 2.0 strokes gained putting – which he is more than capable of.
Other options include Gary Woodland though he was somewhat wooden last week when in contention – though he did scramble well.
Ryan Palmer could have won the Colonial until he got steamrollered by Jordan’s putting and nerves and yet that 3rd was a season’s best.
This week we are returning to the stable.
Posted his maiden victory here in 2013 and averages 68.90 in 10 rounds which includes missing the cut in 2014. The improvement we anticipated earlier in the season manifest with a second at the Colonial when some mid round pressure could have seen a different result. Seven of his last eight rounds have been in the 60’s with the key to Harris’s improvement being his putting posting a season high 2.037 strokes gained putting at the Dean and Deluca which followed a 0.585 at the AT & T. Ranked 12th in strokes gained putting overall allied to 75% greens in regulation at the Dean and Deluca point to a player in form tee to green and on it. A two time winner with twenty top tens from 128 starts English is a class player and a chance in this somewhat weaker field.
The form player heading into the Dean and Deluca the big K man may just have run out of steam there having played four weeks on the trot. Interviewed there about Bryson DeChampagne he perhaps presciently touched on the differences in playing full time professional golf, as opposed to college golf – the sheer amount of it.
Playing 25-30 times a year takes time to acclimatise to and to learn how your game stands up and with the best will in the world Colt doesn’t strike me as a gym bunny – his surname being somewhat of a misnomer.
The physical side apart there is the mental drain associated with not just four weeks of tournament golf but of being in contention.
Refreshed from a week off and with killer driving and tee to green stats it all comes down to putting and while Knost has produced some variable results on the greens he is above average ranking 28th in the all important strokes gained putting category and can have hot weeks on the greens.