FedEx St. Jude Championship picks 2023: Sam 'Bermuda' Burns or Tyrrell Hatton?
With only three events left in the golf season, we're running out of time to pad our stats and hit some more winners. Luckily, Stephen Hennessey got us a big one last week, hitting on Lucas Glover at 80-1 to win the Wyndham Championship.
The plan? Can't stop, won't stop. Our goal is to add at least one more as a group over these next few weeks, and the FedEx St. Jude Championship presents the last opportunity to hit a really juicy outright. Next week, the fields start to shrink, and the odds start to get worse and worse. Cherish this one, folks.
Scroll down to see who we like this week at the 2023 FedEx St. Jude Championship.
FedEx St. Jude Championship picks 2023: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions
Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Jon Rahm (9-1, DraftKings) — Rahm and Scheffler are neck-and-neck for PGA Tour Player of the Year, but Rahm is coming off the hot Open Championship, so I like his chances to get off to a hot start in the playoffs. I trust Rahm’s putter way more than Scheffler’s right now.
Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Tyrrell Hatton (22-1, DraftKings) — In a year that’s given you a blueprint for winners based on trending form, you’d think Hatton has to win one of the next few events. Since venturing to America for the first time at Waste Management in February, the Brit’s piled up seven top-six finishes in 15 events, and in total has finished outside the top 20 in only four of those events. He’s currently sitting top 10 in the field in driving and putting over the past 50 rounds, per Fantasy National, while gaining an average 2.4 strokes on approach over his last 10 starts.
Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Rickie Fowler (30-1, FanDuel) — We’ve seen Fowler stay consistently in the mix because of his elevated iron play. He’s also one of the best putters on tour this season. He’s had some good finishes at TPC Southwind in his career, too. In a week where value is very tight, starting the card away from the favorites is not a bad idea.
Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Sam Burns (35-1, DraftKings) — Burns is compiling a stat profile that shows both upside and timing. Let’s start with timing, he’s trending in the right direction with four top-20 finishes in his last seven starts. His upside comes from his rare ability to be great on approach and putting – as shown by finishing top 20 in both categories last week. He’s also played this event each of the last two years, finishing T-2 and T-20. By all accounts, Burns is brewing a big finish and this week is a logical spot.
Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Tyrrell Hatton (22-1, DraftKings) — As Rick pointed out in his content this week, TPC Southwind will reward players who exceed in both SG/approach and SG/putting, per his course regression model at RickRunGood.com. Tyrrell Hatton matches both of those buckets, as he ranks first in this field over the past 50 rounds putting on Bermudagrass, and he hasn’t lost strokes tee-to-green since last year’s BMW Championship. Hatton has top-10s in four of his past seven starts, and I think this week should give him another great opportunity for his second PGA Tour win.
Christopher Powers, Golf Digest staff writer: Sam Burns (35-1, DraftKings) — Burns’ Bermuda putting prowess is enough to take a flier on him at this number in a 70-man field, but his case is definitely helped by the fact he’s seriously trending. He has two top-20s in his last three starts, and he’s gained on approach and with the putter in four straight. Plus, his history here is strong, with a 20th and a second in his last two trips to TPC Southwind. And then there’s the fact he’s right on the Ryder Cup bubble, Burns currently sitting at 12th in the U.S. Team standings. With only two events left to accumulate points, Burns needs to slam his foot on the gas and make Zach Johnson’s choice an easy one.
Andy Lack, RickRunGood.com and Inside Golf podcast: Tyrrell Hatton (22-1, DraftKings) — Tyrrell Hatton has put together a remarkable PGA Tour season, with a victory as the lone hole in his resume. With a 20th-place finish at the Open Championship, the fiery Englishman recorded his 13th top-30 finish of the season in 18 starts. Hatton gained strokes ball-striking for the 21st straight start, and he now returns stateside to Bermuda grass greens, a surface he has been the number one putter in this field on over the last two years. He’s also turned into one of the best overall drivers on tour, featuring both plus distance and elite accuracy. TPC Southwind is a course that rewards total driving and elite short-to-middle iron play, two skills that Hatton excels at. Of the players with the proper ball-striking chops to win this tournament, Hatton has the most trustable flat stick, and a victory in Memphis would be the perfect capstone to an impressive season.
Past results: As we head into the playoffs, the panel remains as hot as ever, with 13 outright victories on the year as a group. Stephen Hennessey is our most recent winner, nailing Lucas Glover’s Wyndham Championship victory at 80-1 (!). Pat Mayo recently picked up his first of the season, cashing on Rickie Fowler’s comeback win at the Rocket Mortgage at 14-1. Rick Gehman was on Fowler, too, giving him two outright hits on the year. Brandon Gdula leads the way with SIX of his own, his last coming in the U.S. Open where Gdula touted Wyndham Clark at 85-1 (!!).
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FedEx St. Jude Championship picks 2023: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win
Caddie: Harris English (90-1, FanDuel) — English boasts the best course history at TPC Southwind with Daniel Berger not in the field. He loves this place, and I think that presents an opportunity at these big odds this week.
Mayo: J.J. Spaun (130-1, DraftKings) — No one really sticks out from the pack beyond 50-1, but despite just sneaking into the playoffs, J.J. Spaun’s ball striking has been on point the last two months … despite never finishing better than T-30 over that span. The dude just cannot putt at the moment. He’s never been great on the greens but he’s averaging -2.0 SG/putting per start over his last five. Not great. However, he was very much in the mix at this event a year ago before a final round 78 dropped him 40 spots on the leaderboard, so we know it’s possible for him to succeed here, albeit briefly. He’s likely a better bet as first round leader than outright winner, but from deep down the list, he’s my guy.
Gdula: Corey Conners (65-1, FanDuel) — Conners is one of the best ball-strikers in the field, and TPC Southwind has placed an emphasis on irons historically. He’s been solid at the course but hasn’t putted well enough to maximize his potential.
Gehman: Stephan Jaeger (80-1, DraftKings) — The numbers are popping off the chart for Jaeger who has gained multiple strokes ball-striking in five of his last seven events. That has resulted in three top-15 finishes and boosted his positioning heading in these FedEx Cup Playoffs. He’ll enter the week in 64th place in the standings, so he’ll need to play well if he wants to punch his ticket to the BMW Championship.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Sam Ryder (300-1, FanDuel) — It’s a playoff event, so odds are we don’t get a big underdog as a winner … but Ryder did best a big-time field at Torrey Pines this year. And he has gained more than five stokes on approach in his past two starts. Ryder has the ball-striking and the propensity for a hot putter to make some noise in this field. Bet him first-round leader, too.
Powers, Golf Digest: Harris English (90-1, FanDuel) — Since the playoffs were cut to three events, it’s really only the elite of the elite who seem to win them, so there’s really no sense in going too far down the board. However, between the fact he popped with his irons last week and his sparkling TPC Southwind history, Harris English is worth a serious look at 90-1. He’s also threatened to win numerous times over the last five months, picking up top-eight finishes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Wells Fargo and the U.S. Open.
Lack: Hideki Matsuyama (50-1, FanDuel) — This is a great opportunity to buy back in on Hideki Matsuyama coming off a disappointing missed cut last week at the Wyndham Championship where his result was a bit misleading. Matsuyama still hit the ball well, gaining over a stroke both off-the-tee and on approach and fell victim to a few bad short game shots that really skewed his outcome. Now he returns to a golf course that he has already finished second at in 2021, and he remains one of the best short-to-middle iron players in this field. Anytime a player of Matsuyama’s caliber enters the 50-1 territory, he has my full attention.
FedEx St. Jude Championship picks 2023: Players We’re Fading
Caddie: Jordan Spieth (28-1, BetRivers) — It’s easy to make a case for anyone else here, but Spieth has not been consistent over the last three-four months of this season.
Mayo: Max Homa (35-1, DraftKings) — No idea why exactly, but Homa has been brutal at this course in every appearance, regardless of field size or strength. In six starts at TPC Southwind he’s never finished better than T-42.
Gdula: Patrick Cantlay (16-1, FanDuel) — Early-week action on Cantlay has his odds too short. He’s always a threat to be in contention, but the odds just don’t check out this week.
Gehman: Tony Finau (35-1, DraftKings) — Admittedly, I’m not quite sold on Finau despite his T-7 at the 3M Open. That’s a course he’s played well at historically and he was reliant on his short-game during that event. He gained over five strokes on and around-the-green, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. That’s well above his expectation and regression is likely for Finau.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Viktor Hovland (18-1, Bet365) — Fading Hovland is scary, but his putting splits on Bermuda are enough to scare me away. I’d rather back the other favorites in this price range.
Powers, Golf Digest: Xander Schauffele (18-1, DraftKings) — Schauffele’s results show just how consistently good he’s been for a full year now, but a guy like Sam Burns, at double his odds, has just as much win equity. Save your 14-1 / 18-1 clicks for the BMW.
Lack: Xander Schauffele (18-1, DraftKings) — As much of a Xander Schauffele fan as I am, I have no justification for why he is still sub-20-1 in the betting markets. It has been over a calendar year since he was last holding a trophy. This betting price would be egregious for him on any golf course right now, but the fact that the former Olympic Gold Medalist has been so objectively poor at TPC Southwind adds insult to injury. Schauffele has lost strokes ball-striking in four of his five appearances at the Ron Pritchard design, including losing over five strokes ball-striking here last year. Until Schauffele starts contending again in a serious way, he’s an easy pass for me at this number.
FedEx St. Jude Championship picks 2023: Matchups
Caddie: Sam Burns (-110) over Jason Day (DraftKings) — Burns is coming off a solid showing in Greensboro last week and has some strong history at TPC Southwind. Whereas Jason Day has been hit or miss since his win earlier this year.
Mayo: Sam Burns (-110) over Jason Day (DraftKings) — It’s been quite an inconsistent year for Burns, but he’s one of a select few, at the least over the past few years, who can just pop up and snatch a win despite middling form. He’s posted excellent results at Southwind the last two years (T-20/runner-up in a playoff), and enters gaining on approach in six of his last seven starts while averaging almost a third of stroke per round on Bermuda greens.
Gdula: Emiliano Grillo (-110) over Lucas Glover (FanDuel) — Off the tee and around the green, these guys are pretty similar. Grillo has a slight edge with the irons and a big edge with the putter, so the process play here is pretty clear.
Gehman: Scottie Scheffler (-125) over Rory McIlroy (Bet365) — Scheffler’s long streak of top-12 finishes came to an end at The Open with a (gasp!) T-23 finish. He’s gained 7+ strokes ball-striking in a staggering 15 straight events. He’s been the best and most consistent golfer in the world this year and it’s not even close. If his putter shows any signs of life, he’ll win in a runaway.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Wyndham Clark (-121) over Jason Day (Pointsbet) — The stats show that Wyndham Clark is the more well-rounded golfer right now. Jason Day is 63rd in this 70-person field in SG/approach, whereas Clark ranks 20th over the past 36 rounds, per FantasyNational.com, and Clark is positive in all the important categories for me this week.
Powers, Golf Digest: Sungjae Im (+100) over Tony Finau (DraftKings) — We love even money on an elite vs. an elite. I also have it on good authority that Sungjae has been flushing it of late but just hasn’t been getting the most out of his rounds. Let’s see if that changes this week on Bermuda greens, his favorite surface. As for Finau, that seventh-place finish in the friendly confines of TPC Twin Cities is not enough to have me rushing back to bet him in any capacity.
Lack: Tom Kim (-120) over Brian Harman (DraftKings) — In a matchup between the winner and runner-up at the Open Championship, I have far more confidence in the bridesmaid. Harman is coming off the biggest week of his career, and with his Ryder Cup spot all but assured, I expect him to dine out on his magical week at Hoylake and coast through the rest of the season. Kim, on the other hand, now returns to a golf course where he finished second at last year, which not should not come as a surprise due to his supreme driving accuracy and short-to-middle iron play. I expect the 21-year-old to make some serious noise in the playoffs over the next few weeks.
Matchup Results from the Wyndham Championship: Powers: 1 for 1 (Scott (+100) over Burns); Caddie: 1 for 1 (An (-125) over Noren); Hennessey: 0 for 1; Gehman: 0 for 1; Lack: 0 for 1; Mayo: 0 for 1; Gdula: 0 for 1
Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Powers: 22-16-2 (up 5.81 units); Hennessey: 22-16-2 (up 4.62 units); Gehman: 22-16-2 (up 4.2 units); Caddie: 21-16-3 (up 3.65 units); Lack: 17-12-1 (up 3 units); Mayo: 16-21-0 (down 5.49 units); Gdula: 16-23-2 (down 8.23 units)
FedEx St. Jude Championship picks 2023: Top 10s
Caddie: Sam Burns (+280, DraftKings) — Give me the Bermuda specialist off a solid week ball-striking-wise at the Wyndham.
Mayo: Tommy Fleetwood (+240, DraftKings) — Yes, I’m the dope who also bet him to win, but the top 10 is likely the best strategy, you know, since he never wins. Fleetwood’s missed two cuts since the Masters and has a top 20 in the other seven starts, including top 10s in four of his past five.
Gdula: Russell Henley (+360, FanDuel) — Henley nearly won last week but has the accuracy and irons to push toward the top of the board again this week.
Gehman: Wyndham Clark (+275, Bet365) — Clark’s stat profile has been incredibly strong all year and it lines up well for TPC Southwind. He’s a menace off-the-tee and with the flat stick but has added a new element to his game this year – approach play. Since the start of the season, he’s gained 0.55 strokes per round to the field – the same rate as Viktor Hovland. There’s no reason to think he’ll slow down anytime soon.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Rickie Fowler (+260, DraftKings) — Our friend David Gordon of ESPN and double hammer fame is on Rickie has his lock of the week as a top-20 finish. I’ll sprinkle on the top-10 for him, too.
Powers, Golf Digest: Rickie Fowler (+260, DraftKings) — If you think I’m not also riding the Double Hammer bet you are sorely mistaken.
Lack: Collin Morikawa (+210, DraftKings) — It’s hard to believe that it’s been over two years since Collin Morikawa’s last PGA Tour victory, but I have long felt that TPC Southwind was the ideal fit for the two-time major champion’s game. Even coming off a disappointing missed cut at the Open Championship, Morikawa still gained over a stroke off-the-tee and enters this week as the No. 1 player in this field in good-drive percentage. Even during a prolonged absence from the winner’s circle, Morikawa has remained a top-five short-to-middle iron player in the world. In a vacuum, if we hold the belief that Southwind can be simplified to a total-driving and middle-iron test, there are few better options in this field than Collin Morikawa. His short game and putting are always a concern, but Southwind features some of the most benign greenside surrounds and putting surfaces on tour.
Top-10 results from the Wyndham Championship: Powers: 1 for 1 (Webb Simpson +850); Caddie: 1 for 1 (J.T. Poston +330); Everybody else: 0 for 1
Top-10 results from this season: Gehman: 12 for 40 (up 22.6 units); Hennessey: 7 for 40 (up 2.95 units); Gdula: 9 for 40 (up 2.2 units); Lack: 8 for 30 (up 2.4 units); Caddie: 9 for 40 (down 2.1 units); Powers: 5 for 40 (down 4.4 units); Mayo: 7 for 37 (down 5.3 units)
FedEx St. Jude Championship picks 2023: One and Done
Gehman: Max Homa — Homa has quietly rounded into form with a T-21 in Detroit, T-12 at the Scottish Open and T-10 at The Open Championship. His ball-striking has popped twice during that three week stretch, gaining 7.35 in Detroit and 8.5 in Hoylake. I believe he’s one of the most risky options with sour course history, but options are slim and his upside is appealing.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Emiliano Grillo. Sanderson Farms Championship: Sam Burns. Shriners: Taylor Montgomery. Zozo: Sungjae Im. CJ Cup: Matt Fitzpatrick. Bermuda: Denny McCarthy. Mayakoba: Viktor Hovland. Houston Open: Aaron Wise. RSM Classic: Brian Harman. Sentry TOC: Cameron Young. Sony Open: Hideki Matsuyama. American Express: Brian Harman. Farmers: Jason Day. AT&T Pebble Beach: Maverick McNealy. WMPO: Scottie Scheffler. Genesis: Justin Thomas. Honda: Sungjae Im. API: Rory McIlroy. Players: Jon Rahm. Valspar: Justin Rose. WGC-Match Play: Cameron Young. Valero: Rickie Fowler. Masters: Jordan Spieth. RBC Heritage: Collin Morikawa. Zurich: Kurt Kitayama. Mexico Open: Ben Martin. Wells Fargo: Viktor Hovland. Byron Nelson: K.H. Lee. PGA Championship: Xander Schauffele. Charles Schwab Challenge: Min Woo Lee. Memorial: Patrick Cantlay. RBC Canadian Open: Tyrrell Hatton. U.S. Open: Brooks Koepka. Travelers: Tony Finau. Rocket Mortgage: Cameron Davis. John Deere: Denny McCarthy. Scottish: Matt Fitzpatrick. Open: Dustin Johnson. 3M: Emiliano Grillo. Wyndham: Si Woo Kim.
Hennessey: Wyndham Clark — I’m not sure how I feel rolling out Wyndham at a playoff event, but he’s the player with the best outright betting odds I have available.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Cam Davis. Sanderson Farms Championship: Denny McCarthy. Shriners: Emiliano Grillo. Zozo: Hideki Matsuyama. CJ Cup: Sungjae Im. Bermuda: Mark Hubbard. Mayakoba: Viktor Hovland. Houston Open: Jason Day. RSM Classic: Brendon Todd. Sentry TOC: Patrick Cantlay. Sony Open: Matt Kuchar. American Express: Brian Harman. Farmers: Will Zalatoris. AT&T Pebble Beach: Seamus Power. WMPO: Collin Morikawa. Genesis: Justin Thomas. Honda: Chris Kirk. API: Keith Mitchell. Players: Rory McIlroy. Valspar: Adam Hadwin. WGC-Match Play: Tyrrell Hatton. Valero: Nick Taylor. Masters: Scottie Scheffler. RBC Heritage: Jordan Spieth. Zurich: Sahith Theegala. Mexico Open: Gary Woodland. Wells Fargo: Xander Schauffele. Byron Nelson: Tyrrell Hatton. PGA Championship: Jon Rahm. Charles Schwab Challenge: Justin Rose. Memorial: Corey Conners. RBC Canadian Open: Tommy Fleetwood. U.S. Open: Max Homa. Travelers: Tom Kim. Rocket Mortgage: Rickie Fowler. John Deere: Adam Schenk. Scottish: Min Woo Lee. Open: Brooks Koepka. 3M: Cameron Young. Wyndham: Russell Henley.
Powers: Sam Burns — We’re riding Bermuda Burns who needs a big week for his Ryder Cup chances. Narratives only.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Sahith Theegala. Sanderson Farms Championship: J.T. Poston. Shriners: Sungjae Im. Zozo: Hideki Matsuyama. CJ Cup: Tyrrell Hatton. Bermuda: Russell Knox. Mayakoba: Thomas Detry. Houston Open: Sepp Straka. RSM Classic: Davis Riley. Sentry TOC: Xander Schauffele. Sony Open: Gary Woodland. American Express: Cameron Young. Farmers: Taylor Montgomery. AT&T Pebble Beach: Maverick McNealy. WMPO: Sungjae Im. Genesis: Collin Morikawa. Honda: Chris Kirk. API: Will Zalatoris. Players: Patrick Cantlay. Valspar: Justin Suh. WGC-Match Play: Tom Kim. Valero: Matt Kuchar. Masters: Tony Finau. RBC Heritage: Rickie Fowler. Zurich: Robby Shelton. Mexico Open: Luke List. Wells Fargo: Viktor Hovland. Byron Nelson: Tom Hoge. PGA Championship: Brooks Koepka. Charles Schwab Challenge: Tommy Fleetwood. Memorial: Shane Lowry. RBC Canadian Open: Justin Rose. U.S. Open: Dustin Johnson. Travelers: Tom Kim. Rocket Mortgage: Ludvig Aberg. John Deere: Denny McCarthy. Scottish: Adam Scott. Open: Rory McIlroy. 3M: Sepp Straka. Wyndham: Aaron Rai.
About our experts
Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. Mayo helped create the golf stats and research website Fantasy National along with the Race for the Mayo Cup One and Done contest. Mayo won the 2022 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and is a finalist for three FSWA Awards in 2023 (Best Podcast, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 27 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are second-most all-time. Follow him on Twitter: @ThePME.
Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for NumberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @gdula13.
Rick Gehman is the founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.
Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from New York City who now resides in Los Angeles. He hosts Inside Golf, a twice weekly podcast focused on the PGA Tour, betting, daily fantasy, golf course architecture, and interviews, as part of the BlueWire podcast network. As well as contributing to Golf Digest, Andy is also a data analyst and writer for RickRunGood.com, where he covers PGA Tour betting and daily fantasy. He came to Golf Digest’s betting panel after previously writing for Golf.com, the Score and GolfWRX. In his free time, Andy can likely be found on a golf course. Follow him on Twitter: @adplacksports