2018 FedEx St. Jude Classic: Tournament History

By Ryan Watson

 

The 2018 FedEx St. Jude Classic is hosted by Memphis, Tennessee’s TPC Southwind course June 7-10. The course, designed by Ron Prichard, is known for its difficulty with over 90 bunkers and 10 water hazards. Daniel Berger is the two-time defending champion and many fans are wondering if he can become the first consecutive three-time winner.

 

History

The tournament was founded in 1958 as the Memphis Open and hosted by the Colonial Country Club. The tournament began its relationship with the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 1969, when comedian and St. Jude founder Danny Thomas agreed to host the tournament in exchange for St. Jude being the event's main charity. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital provides both free care to patients and the best facilities to researchers of pediatric medicine. In 1989, the tournament switched venues to the TPC Southwind where it has remained. 

The tournament proved a popular stop on the PGA Tour and Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Curtis Strange and Dustin Johnson can all be counted as winners of this prestigious event. The record for most titles goes to Dave Hill, who won all 4 of his titles in only 6 years. Other famous instances include a hole-in-one from former president Gerald Ford in 1977’s St. Jude Classic celebrity pro-am. 1966 winner Bert Yancey had a close call when he nearly missed his final round tee-time only to be saved by a phone call from his caddy. The 2018 edition will also be the last of the event’s June slot as it will move to late summer in 2019 as an official World Golf Championship event to be known as the WGC-St. Jude Invitational.

 

2017 Champion Daniel Berger

Defending champion Daniel Berger remains an enigmatic golfer. He is chasing his third consecutive win at the only course at which he has tasted victory. Berger won the event last year after shooting a final round 66, taking the lead after a long birdie on the 15th hole. The result was anything but guaranteed as 9 players shared the lead at one point on the final day. Berger remains a young golfer, who at 25 is entering only his fourth season on the PGA Tour. The son of tennis professional Jay Berger, Daniel would instead pursue golf becoming a leading college golfer at Florida State University. Berger turned professional in 2013 and spent a year on the developmental Web.com tour, finishing high enough to earn his PGA Tour card. If Berger can pull of his third victory he will only be sixth golfer in the last 40 years to win three events in a row at the same venue. In his way will be Phil Mickelson, tuning up in the final event before next week’s U.S. Open, and Swedish golfer Henrik Stenson. The ever-colorful John Daly is also expected to compete on the PGA Tour for the first time since 2014. 

 


Resources

 

 

About The Author

Ryan Watson is a freelance sportswriter and history professor. He has been an avid fan of golf since his father signed him up for golf camp as a young child. Ryan enjoys following the professional game and learning about new equipment and gadgets.

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