The PGA Tour heads to Memphis this week for the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Here are three groups to watch at TPC Southwind (all times ET):
Dustin Johnson, Steven Bowditch, Ben Crane: 7:40 a.m. Thursday (10 tee), 12:40 p.m. Friday (1 tee)
Johnson, the 2012 champion, has been in good form of late with back-to-back top-15s. Since his win three years ago, DJ has followed it up with a top-10 in 2013 and a T-24 finish last year, when he was undone by a moving-day 75. Bowditch got off the schneid with a surprising victory at the Nelson, but he hasn’t found much success in Memphis. In six career starts, his best finish is T-68, with three missed cuts, a WD and a DQ. Crane is the defending champion, which was his first top-10 there since ’03. He doesn’t have a top-30 finish in a full-field event this season.
Phil Mickelson, Graeme McDowell, Retief Goosen: 7:50 a.m. Thursday (10 tee), 12:50 p.m. Friday (1 tee)
With only one week until the Open, Lefty can quiz his fellow playing competitors about what it takes to win the year’s second major. Mickelson continues to be unpredictable this season, going 2-MC-4-65 in his last four starts. He’s played well the last two years in Memphis, however, with a T-2 finish in 2013 and a T-11 a year ago. McDowell hasn’t had much to smile about this season, as the 2010 U.S. Open champion is still looking for his first top-25 finish since early February. Goosen, fresh off qualifying for Chambers Bay, is making only his fourth career appearance at this event. He tied for 24th last year.
Billy Horschel, Webb Simpson, Padraig Harrington: 12:50 p.m. Thursday (1 tee), 7:50 a.m. Friday (10 tee)
Horschel is a trendy pick to win this week, given his history at this event (back-to-back top-10s) and current form (consecutive top-15s). Simpson tied for second in his most recent start at Quail Hollow, and though his transition to the conventional putter remains a work in progress (he’s ranked 170th), he is a career-best fourth in the strokes gained-tee to green statistic. Harrington, meanwhile, doesn’t have a top-40 since his surprising victory at the Honda, but maybe a return to Memphis is just what he needs. He’s made his last five cuts here, including top-15s in 2012 and ’13.