Fed Ex St. Jude Classic experts' picks

June, 4, 2014

Each week of the season, our experts share their insights into which players fit the criteria for our four categories: Horse for the Course (a golfer who knows the track inside and out), Birdie Buster (a guy who could take it low this week), Super Sleeper (a player who could unexpectedly contend) and Winner.

This week, the PGA Tour is at TPC Southwind for the Fed Ex St. Jude Classic.

Horse for the Course

Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf analyst: Lee Westwood
Even though he's missed the last two years, the two starts he's made at this course have netted a win followed by an 11th-place finish. That's good enough for me to earn HFTC honors. Good news: He'll finish top five. Bad news: It will mean nothing for the U.S. Open next week.

Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Harris English
At the 2013 FedEx St. Jude Classic, the 24-year-old former Georgia Bulldog had four rounds in the 60s, including a second-round 64, en route to a 2-shot win over Phil Mickelson and Scott Stallings.

Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Dustin Johnson
He won the tournament two years ago and followed up with a tie for 10th last year. There's a reason he keeps coming back.

Birdie Buster

Collins: Michael Putnam
Finally time breakout for the man who won the money title on the Web.com Tour last year. While his year hasn't been great (111th on FedEx Cup and just over $340k in earnings), it also hasn't been horrible (16 made cuts in 21 starts). For some it's all about finding the "comfort zone," this will be Putnam's week to find it.

Evans: Ben Curtis
One good week doesn't represent a hot streak, but Ben Curtis' tie for sixth at the Memorial was a very welcome sign of progress for the struggling former Open Champion. Coming into the Memorial, Curtis had missed four consecutive cuts.

Harig: Paul Casey
Fresh off qualifying for the U.S. Open, Casey continues his career resurgence. He opened the Memorial with rounds of 66-66, then cooled off, but he still tied for 13th and is well on his way to regaining PGA Tour exempt status.

Super Sleeper

Collins: J.B. Holmes
How quickly we forget. The guy who won at Quail Hollow went on the next week to miss only his second cut of the year at the Players, following that up with an uninspired three rounds at Memorial. But that's why it's called sleeper, isn't it?!

Evans: Phil Mickelson
With a federal probe into his alleged involvement in an insider trading scheme hanging over his head, it must be difficult for the 42-time tour winner to focus on golf. But with the U.S. Open on the horizon, Mickelson will use Memphis, where he finished in a tie for second in 2013, to sharpen his game for a chance at completing the career grand slam at Pinehurst.

Harig: Phil Mickelson
One of the rare times you'll see Lefty mentioned here. But he's not had a top 10 on the PGA Tour this year and is more about finding his game this week than he is about winning.


Collins: Robert Garrigus
A triple bogey on the final hole in 2010 kept him from victory. His record hasn't been close to stellar other than that playoff loss at this event. That being said, he put four solid rounds together last week and this course will play much easier for him in comparison.

Evans: Paul Casey
The 36-year-old Englishman had two 66s last week to start the Memorial, but he struggled on the weekend to finish in a tie for 13th. Expect Casey, who has been as high as No. 3 in the world ranking, to put it together for great rounds in Memphis to reinvigorate his slumping career. He has six top-25s in 10 events this season.

Harig: Zach Johnson
He's been a bit quiet lately, but Johnson has four top-10 finishes this season and another three in the top 20. A win would be just the boost he needs heading into the U.S. Open.





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