This week in golf is one of those weeks that is necessary but no one is paying attention to. With the US Open just around the corner, and Golf’s Longest Day occuring on Monday. everyone has their attention focused on Merion, and hardley anyone cares about the last tournament before the big event.
Such is the case this year for The FedEx St. Jude Classic which teed off on Thursday morning at The TPC Fairwinds Golf Course Southwest of Memphis. There are only three of the top 10 golfers in the word in the field, and five of the top 25.
At the top of the list are Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker, and defending 2012 champion, Dustin Johnson. Phil has been struggling with his game since the tour migrated to the East for the Florida Swing, and elected to not play last week at The Memorial, but bring his US Open warmup round to Memphis.
You might remember last year when Mickelson was upset at Muirfield Village when a fan’s cel phone rang during his backswing, and very un-Phil like, withdrew from the field after only one round. It’s probably not a coincidence that Lefty didn’t return to Dublin this year, but whatever.
Brandt Snedeker is at TPC Southwind this week trying to find the magic he had at the end of the 2012 season, and earlier this season when he was leading the FedEx Cup, and finishing in the top 10 in four of the five early events. Snedeker injured his ribs at The Humana Challenge, and toughed it out, getting a win at The Pebble Beach National Pro Am before taking time off to let his ribs heal.
Since Snedeker has returned, his golf game has been a disaster. He missed four cuts, including last week at Jack’s place, but had decent finishes at The Masters, and The Players Championship. If he want’s to contend at Merion next week, he will need to find some consistency this weekend in Memphis.
2012 St Jude Champion, Dustin Johnson is having a season that has somewhat mirroed his 2012 campagne, with back problems. He returned from a two and a half month layoff to win by one stroke in Memphis. Since his victory at The Hyundai Tournament of Champions for the 2013 season opener, he has continued to struggle with his back, and withdrew from some tournaments including the Players Championship last month.
Also retuning to the US this week to get some work in prior to going to Merion, are Ian Poulter, and Peter Hanson. They have been in Europe playing the Northern circuit including The BMW PGA Championship, and The Nordea Masters.
A large group of PGA players are getting in practice rounds at Merion, or taking a break this week, including Memorial Champion, Matt Kuchar. The Kuch held on for a two shot win at Muirfield Village on Sunday, outlasting Kevin Chappell. Kuchar became the only player not named Tiger Woods to be a multiple winne on tour this season.
As he did at The Accenture Match Play Championships back in February, Matt Kuchar braved the wind, and lightning fast greens in Dublin, Ohio to pick up the trophy, and winners paycheck. He beat defending champion, Tiger Woods by 20 strokes. Woods had a horrible time at Muirfield Village, after hitting 80% of his fairways, could never get the speed on the greens figured out.
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