The U.S. Open is next week, so the Fedex St. Jude Classic is the final tune-up before the year’s second major championship. Many of the Tour’s biggest names are taking a rest, but there are still plenty of player’s to choose from.
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Dustin Johnson returns as defending champion and Brandt Snedeker is the highest ranked player in Memphis. Here are 10 players to watch this week:
1. Brandt Snedeker: This is an easy one. He’s the best player in the field and he should top the list. Don’t let the missed cut at the Memorial fool you. Still has six top-10s this year and is on a short list of favorites for next week at Merion.
2. Boo Weekley: Good ole Boo has had mixed results here in Memphis but the same cannot be said for results this year. No, it’s not likely he’ll follow up a victory at Colonial with a victory here, but he’s playing well enough to contend.
3. Phil Mickelson: Lefty was miffed that the Texas Open didn’t prepare him properly for the Masters, so here’s his chance to show that he needs to play the week before a major to play well at the major. Phil is like a box of chocolates …
4. Charles Howell III: He’s too good of a player, and playing too well this year, not to win an event. Tied for third here two years ago and is miffed that he hasn’t qualified for the U.S. Open. He’s on a mission.
5. Ryan Palmer: Like Howell, not too pleased that he’s not in the U.S. Open. Palmer comes to play each week on Tour and is more consistent than you realize. Look up his record this year.
6. D.A. Points: May not be a name that jumps to mind here – frankly, he hasn’t played here much – but Points is one of the eight best players in the field and a season that got off to a rough start is taking shape quite nicely.
7. Robert Karlsson: The Swede lost in a playoff here twice (2010, 2011) and, after struggling with the driver yips last summer, is seemingly more in control of his game. He qualified for the U.S. Open Monday and is riding high.
8. Dustin Johnson: The defending champion has to be on this list somewhere right? DJ’s year began with such promise but injuries have kept him from doing much of anything since the Masters. Poor showing last week at the Memorial ended with the weekend off.
9. Luke Guthrie: The 23-year-old claimed the final U.S. Open qualifying spot in Columbus (a stacked field) and he has so much talent that a victory is not far away. Tied for 19th here last year on one of only four PGA Tour starts.
10. Tim Clark: With five finishes in the top-11 this year, Clark quietly is having a decent season. He tied for seventh place two weeks ago at the Colonial and has made the cut here each of the last four years.