The PGA tour professionals are heading to TPC Southwind in Tennessee for the St. Jude Classic. Most of the big name players are taking the week off to prepare for the U.S. Open next week, but there are some big names in this weeks tournament. The key to this weeks tournament will be who can control their drives on this course. TPC Southwind is one of the tougher courses on tour but there will be a lot of low scoring. After last week, the young guns on tour made a statement that they are the future for the PGA, the only question is going to be if they are going to be able to keep it up.
After taking a look at the field for this tournament, I have my picks:
1. Ian Poulter: he is ranked 6th in the world but has not been playing like the player that everyone knows that he can be. After winning the World Golf Championship-Accenture Match Play Championship, he has not played well. But I think it is time for Poulter to start playing like he did in the beginning of the year. I look for him to make a strong push to finish in the top 5 and get his second victory of the season.
2. Lee Westwood: after finishing 2nd at the Masters, Westwood has been play well finishing in the middle of the pack in the last few tournaments. I look for him to put together a strong 4 days this week and make a strong push to win this week. He has one of the best driving accuracy on tour which is going to be key for this week.
3. Rory McIlroy: one of the young guns that played well last week, the only question is going to be if he can continue his strong play in back to back weeks. After he won his first PGA tournament, he missed the cut the next week. If he wants to be one the next great players on tour, he is going to have to be able to play consistent week after week. But I do not see any reason why he is not going to finish in the top 5 this week.
4. Camilo Villegas: he is another player that has not done much since he won his first tournament of the season, but he is one of the best ball strikers in the field this week. I look for him to play smart this week by playing the safe shot instead of forcing shots that could hurt him. Smart playing and good putting is the key for a top 5 finish this week for Villegas.
5. Padraig Harrington: he has not won a tournament since 2008 but he has been finishing in the middle of the pack in most of the tournaments his season. He is another player that has one of the best driving accuracy on tour but he is going to need to make more greens in regulation and stop setting for pars. The key for Harrington is going to be ball placement on his drives if he can control his driver, I look for him to finish in the top 5 this week.
Brian Gay: he has been playing well this season but he has not been able to make a strong push on the weekends to win. Maybe this week could be the week that he puts together a strong 4 days and get his first victory.
J.B. Holmes: he is the longest hitter on tour and makes it look easy reaching the greens in two on par 5, but he is one of the worst putters on tour. If he can just make half of his birdie and eagle putts then I look for him to finish in the top 10.
Zach Johnson: after winning the Crowne Plaza Invitational he has been making the cuts but not making any push on the weekends to be on the leader board. Maybe this week he can make that push and finish in the top 10.
John Daly: he has been working hard on his putting and maybe this week all of his hard work will payoff and he could get in the top 10. We all know that he can hit the ball far, but it is the putting that wins tournaments, not the long ball.