We’ve reached the end of another week of research for the 2021 WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational. As is usually the case in a WGC, you don’t need to do a ton of research, because there’s not a ton of players to choose from. TPC Southwind is a more difficult track than we’ve seen on the PGA Tour circuit recently, which means a player with the best all around game is going to win this week, as opposed to other recent birdie fests which have come down to nothing more than putting contests. I settled on players with the best mix of Ball Striking and Course History, with the ability to get a hot putter on Bermuda greens to round out my card this week. Here’s a look back at where I landed!
WGC Outrights (3u)
- Dustin Johnson +2200
- Rory McIlroy +2500
- Webb Simpson +4000
- Billy Horschel +8000
- Phil Mickelson +10000
This was a really weird week for me to bet outrights. Every single player I bet this week is based on the value of numbers I was able to get, not necessarily because I think this group is the most likely bunch to win. Looking at the field, I have every reason to believe Collin Morikawa and Brooks Koepka will contend to win at the top, but I also think the margins between them and the rest of the elites this week are thin.
Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy are two players I’m always going to want to play at 20/1+, especially versus a limited field. These guys are talented to the point where we really should not be reading into recent form in the same way we do for 90% of Tour players. Their A games are the best A games in golf, and when they turn it on, they’re going to win. I’ll continue to be early on both of them if they continue to slip week over week, and there’s no reason to believe either of their games won’t translate to what TPC Southwind demands: good OTT game, great approaches, and a good putter.
Webb Simpson is a player with great course history at this event with a T12 and a T2 in his last two WGC FedEx St Jude appearances. His recent form has been poor as he’s battled through injuries, but a less busy recent schedule and a promising T19 finish in his last start at The Open are enough reason for me to take a chance on a guy in Webb who has something to prove, now likely on the outside looking in at a Ryder Cup spot. If he is healthy, 40/1 is a steal, and he should contend over the next 4 days.
Mickelson and Horschel are my tow favorite values of the week, and I’ve covered them extensively in Bombs & Values.
Barracuda Outrights (.5u)
- Akshay Bhatia +13000
- Andrew Landry +21000
Obviously I’m betting Akshay. He’s in a crap field with amazing odds, playing in his home state, coming off an epic Monday Qualifying 64 round to make the field. Akshay is going to eat the PGA Tour up when his career is all said and done 50 years from now, but just like Collin Morikawa did in 2019, the Barracuda Championship will be the tournament that jettisons Akshay into elite status from here on out.
I did absolutely no research on the course, but I also like Landry because he has the tendency to win tournaments for absolutely no reason, so if I’m not gonna research an event, he’s the type of player I want to back.
First Round Leader
- Justin Rose +6000
- Phil Mickelson +6500
- Kevin Na +7500
I had a nightmare last night that Sebastian Munoz actually was in the field this week and I forgot to bet him FRL. After sifting through the field three times over, I can confirm he is in fact not playing, so I’m trotting out these losers instead. Rose and Na are players who popped in my early research but didn’t quite make my card. They also have the ability to get a red hot putter any given round, which is what you’ll need to be the leader here after Thursday. Phil has a FRL to his name already this year at Wells Fargo, and there are enough comps to there this week for me to go straight back to him again.
One and Done
- Collin Morikawa
Collin Morikawa is going to be ridiculously high owned in OAD this week, but I don’t care. I’ve still got him left to use, I don’t see a better spot to play him looking at the events that remain on the season, and a majority of the people who are ahead of me in OAD likely already used him at The Open or WGC-Workday. So I’m not over-thinking this one and am going with the co-favorite to win this event, near Bronze medalist, Collin Morikawa.
- Tyrrell Hatton ($7,400)
- Billy Horschel ($7,100)
- Phil Mickelson ($6,600)
Going with a cheap core this week because there’s a lot of guys at the top of the board who I love, and there’s not many beyond these three at the bottom who I want to play to save salary. Hatton is supposed to be the chalk this week with this egregious price, and yet ownership projections have him at around 15%, which in a limited 66-man field, isn’t so bad. I’m confident in his T2G game coming in, and there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic he can find a hot putter this week. Horschel and Phil are two guys who’ve done nothing but rack up T10s year in, year out at TPC Southwind regardless of their form coming in. Their recent form is the reason they’re priced down here, but I’m of the opinion that this course suits their game better than any of the recent tracks we’ve seen them on, so I’m ready to buy low.