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Monday, June 3, 2013

FedEx St. Jude Classic - Power Ranking

With some time to mull over the options for the FedEx St. Jude Classic under our belt, it’s time for our weekly look at the Power Rankings. Normal metrics of course history, current form and a smattering of relevant stats were considered. In fact, this week’s Power Rankings took on a little more mathematical/scientific approach.

The findings indicate that there isn't a perfect answer this week. I could make a case for about six guys leading off the rankings.

When we ran the numbers, here’s what the magic box spit out. This week’s Dandy Dozen:

  1. Freddie Jacobson – In his 10 starts at TPC Southwind, he’s missed just one cut and finished inside the top 25 on half of his attempts. He also owns three top 10s. The knock on him would be that he doesn't have a top 10 since the Match Play, but he does own five top 25s in that span. This would be the perfect example of Power Rankings not necessarily being used to “predict” a winner, rather identifying a guy that plays well across many fantasy formats as a “safe” play.
  2. Scott Stallings – Arguably the hottest guy in the field this week, Stallings enters off back-to-back T4s. He’s only played here twice, missing the cut and sharing 25th, but at 52nd in Par 4 Birdie or Better Percentage there’s every indication that he could be a factor for a third week. In short, if you are a believer in form over everything else; he’s your guy.
  3. Dustin Johnson – Who really knows, right? Last year was his first stop in this event and he won, but he enters off a missed cut last week. What pushed me over the edge in favor of bumping him this high up were several key stats. He’s fourth in Par 4 Birdie or Better and a respectable 37th in SGP.
  4. Russell Henley – Last year we had a first-timer win here and if there is to be a repeat of that feat, my money’s on Henley. (Spoiler….I actually love him at the U.S. Open next week too!) While Henley doesn't have any course history, his play on tracks of less than a par 72 is stellar. He won at the Sony Open (par 70) and tied for sixth at the RBC Heritage(par 71, but let’s be honest...the par-5 second there is basically a par 4). He also was T13 at The Honda (Par 70). Form is solid, entering off a T6 at the Memorial. He’s fourth (tied with DJ) in Par 4 Birdie or Better, 10th in SGP and 31st in Proximity. If I had any positive history at all to pull from, he might top the rankings.
  5. Brandt Snedeker – He’s 5/6 here, including a T15 in 2011 and a T5 way back in ’07. He missed the cut at the Memorial, but secured top eights in two of his three starts before that dating back to the Masters. I can live with that form. His stats are perfect, but must be tempered to reflect how front-end heavy they are to the start of the season.
  6. Robert Karlsson – There’s no way he’s this high without two runner-ups in his three trips to TPC Southwind, but his form is also pretty good. He tied for fourth at the Wells Fargo about a month ago, then opened with a 3-under 69 at the Memorial before a third-round 76 eventually dropped him down to a share of 34th. I could think of much worse one-and-done options.
  7. Boo Weekley – Boo’s the kind of guy that has me a little cautions immediately following a win. His history here is respectable (5/7, 1 top 10, 2 top 25s), and his 17th ranking in Proximity and 26th in Par 4 Birdie or Better play really well here. Be a little careful with your expectations. If you need a top 25 out of him, I’d say invest. Top 10 or better? Not so sure.
  8. Phil Mickelson – He’s only played here twice with no real success, and it’s obvious that this is a tune up for the U.S. Open. Still, he’s “accidentally” won the week before a major on multiple occasions and his par-4 prowess is surprisingly strong. He ranks 10th in Par 4 Birdie or Better and eighth in SGP. He’s a lot like Dustin Johnson this week (minus the win). I wouldn't be surprised by a win or a debacle. He’s the perfect example of a guy that might be worth a Yahoo! bench spot just in case.
  9. Charles Howell III – He’s entering the week under the radar, but could be a steal. He’s 4/6 here , with a T3 in ’11 serving as one of his two top 10s. His current form is sneaky-good. If you subtract a T66 at THE PLAYERS, he was T10 at the Wells Fargo, T17 at the Byron Nelson and T21 at the Memorial. He gained strokes putting in each of those four events, including more than 1.5 strokes in each of his last two starts.
  10. Bob Estes – Here’s the skinny….20/24 with a win, a second and a third among seven top 10s and 12 top 25s. If you’ve been paying attention, he’s had his share of respectable weeks on TOUR this season highlighted by a T7 at the Valero Texas Open and is coming of a T42 at Colonial. Ranking 10th in Proximity should also play well this week.
  11. Tim Clark – Uninspiring course history drops him to this spot (4/5 but with just one top 25), but ranking inside the top 50 in SGP, Proximity and Par 4 Birdie or Better is enough to make a case. He also tied for seventh at Colonial in his last start.
  12. Ryan Palmer – He’s been risk/reward here, making two of five cuts with both going for top 10s (T3 and T10). Ranking 16th in Par 4 Birdie or Better and making each of his last six cuts with three top 15s, he’s worthy of this spot.

Next 5: Brian Davis, John Rollins, Billy Horschel, Jimmy Walker and David Toms

Feeling Risky?

(Remember, this is for gamers looking for a flier or a deep sleeper. These guys have major flaws, but could produce big if things come together.)

  • Camilo Villegas – He tied for third here in ’11 and has made 6/7 cuts. He ranks third in Proximity this year. Remember from yesterday’s power rankings that they guy who led the field in Proximity the last two trips to TPC Southwind also won the tournament.
  • Tim Herron – 13/15 with a second and two thirds. That’s enough of a reason for a flier.
  • Brendon Todd – Tied for 12th here in ’09 and missed the cut in ’12. He’s made some noise lately with a Web.com Tour win and a T17 at the Byron Nelson.
  • Stephen Ames – 7/11 with 1 top 10 and 4 top 25s here. Ranks third in SGP and 23 in Par 4 Birdie or Better, but play is declining with age.

We’ll check back tomorrow with a roundup of the various gaming formats.


  1. Like the rankings. Our 10-team league snake drafts every week, so we have to build a little bit of value into our rankings (i.e., you wouldn't draft someone in the 2nd round that you could most likely get in the 3rd or 4th, even if you have them ranked higher).

    Agree fully on a combination of form, history at the course and Par 4 scoring are going to be key here. Even in this bad field with 22 of the top 100, that kicks out Peter Hanson and probably Guthrie unless you think his 19th here last year means the course may fit his eye.

    Two absent from your lists that I have in my top 12: Jeff Overton (27th in both Par 4 and Par 3 performance, two top 15's in last two trips here); and Jordan Spieth (in solid form, 10th on tour in Par 4 Performance, only trip here was a MC as a 16-year-old amateur)

    Good luck!

    1. Thanks for the note.

      Guthrie's an interesting watch this week, if for no other reason than this is the first time we actually have course history to compare. We'll learn something one way or the other.

      Spieth W/D after successfully qualifying for the U.S. Open. I did not know that at the time of yesterday's post, but wanted to make sure you are aware. Overton's burned a ton of people over the years when they think they have him pegged. He's a better season-long own.

      Best of luck this week!

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