Only five players in the Official World Golf Ranking top 40 will tee it up at the Fedex St. Jude Classic in Memphis, which serves as the final tune-up for next week’s U.S. Open.
Here are four groups to watch during the first round at TPC Southwind:
8:27 a.m. ET (off No. 10 tee): Phil Mickelson-D.A. Points-Padraig Harrington
Mickelson is in the Memphis field for only the third time since 2001 (T-59 and MC in his previous two starts), and he’s hoping a schedule change might help reverse his fortunes at the Open. Harrington has just one top-10 here in six previous starts, while Points has mixed a pair of top-10s with eight missed cuts this season.
8:36 a.m. ET (off No. 1 tee): Boo Weekley-Ian Poulter-David Toms
Boo is making his first start since ending a five-year winless drought at Colonial. Poulter is trying to recapture some semblance of a game before Merion – in his last four starts, the Englishman has three missed cuts and an early exit at the World Match Play. Toms, meanwhile, has a great history in Memphis, his last two starts notwithstanding. From 2002-2009, he had two wins, two runners-up, a third- and a fourth-place finish in eight starts.
1:27 p.m. ET (off No. 1 tee): Dustin Johnson-Brandt Snedeker-Davis Love III
DJ is the defending champion here, as last year’s 9-under 271 was good enough for a one-shot victory in his first start at TPC Southwind. But he is now in desperate need of some reps before the year’s second major, having played only three rounds since the Masters. Snedeker is also coming off a missed cut last week at the Memorial, where he bombed out with a Friday 80.
1:36 p.m. ET (off No. 1 tee): Billy Horschel-Russell Henley-John Merrick
Henley is coming off a T-6 finish at the Memorial, which would have been better if not for a Friday 77. Horschel has cooled since his breakthrough victory in NOLA, posting a MC and T-41 in his last two starts, respectively. Merrick, a winner earlier this year at Riviera, finished solo second here in 2012.