photo courtesy TPC Southwind
The World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational begins its stay in Memphis this weekend, July 25-28, at the TPC Southwind. The event is the 3rd World Golf Championships (WGC) event of the year and its reduced field of around 75 players ensures a strong field. The field this year will contain 45 of the top 50 ranked golf world, including Brooks Koepka, last year’s champion Justin Thomas, Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson. Not in the field is freshly crowned British Open champion Shane Lowry, who has withdrawn from the event presumably to continue his celebrations, though most of the WGC-FedEx Invitational field will have played in last week's major.
In many ways, the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational is the marrying of two events. Officially, it is the continuation of the WGC-Invitational founded in 1999. The event is sanctioned by both the PGA Tour and the European Tour and was known previously as both the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the WGC-NEC Invitational. From 1999-2018, it was held at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, with the exception of one year spent in Washington state. By moving to Memphis and adopting the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as its charity, the tournament is also taking over the legacy of the FedEx St. Jude Classic. The St. Jude Classic was held in Memphis from 1958 until last year and was one of the best attended events on the PGA Tour. The association with St. Jude grew from comedian and actor Danny Thomas, founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, who began a relationship with the tournament in 1969 and this is honored in the the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
Defending Champion Justin Thomas. photo credit: Keyur Khamar/PGA Tour
Danny Thomas, best known for his role in the classic sitcom “Make Room for Daddy” of the 1950s and 60s, once made a vow as a struggling comedian that if he ever found success he would fund a shrine to St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes. Thomas was good to his word and founded the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital after he achieved stardom. The charity helps sick children regardless of their financial situation, and to do that the hospital does not charge for treatment, travel, housing or food. The hospital focuses on treating, researching, and developing new treatments for childhood cancers and other life-threatening diseases. Over the lifetime of the hospital, it has helped see childhood cancer survival rates go from 20% to more than 80% currently. Through its partnership with the PGA Tour, the charity has now raised over $43 million and looks set to raise millions more.
Tickets are still available for the event and can be purchased at the gate or online through the link provided under Resources. Daily grounds tickets range from $25-$65 depending on the day, with a weekly pass costing $145. There are numerous other options providing for upgraded amenities and access to hospitality venues starting with Ultra Club. Daily tickets to the Ultra Club are $80 and provide access to a climate-controlled venue on the signature par-three 11th hole, as well as upgraded food and bar options for purchase. Spectators can also choose to get Clubhouse tickets for access to the TPC Southwind’s clubhouse for great views with complimentary food, snacks and full bar service included. Clubhouse tickets range from $375-$400 for daily tickets, or $1,200 for a weekly ticket. Daily grounds tickets are also free for children 18 and under when accompanied by a paying adult. All Active Duty, Military Retiree, Military Reserve, National Guard, and Military Spouses and their registered dependents also can receive complimentary tickets for each day of the tournament, while Veterans are eligible for reduced ticket prices. Last, college students are able to purchase discounted grounds ticket at the entrance with a valid college ID for only $25.
For those unable to make it to beautiful Memphis, television coverage is provided by the Golf Channel and CBS. Coverage of the first 2 rounds of tournament are on the Golf Channel Thursday and Friday, 9am-7pm ET. Coverage on Saturday and Sunday begins on the Golf Channel from 12-1:45pm ET before switching to CBS from 2-6pm ET. Selected groups and holes are also available through the PGA Tour’s streaming service PGA Tour Live. Radio coverage is provided by PGA Tour Radio on SiriusXM and online at PGATour.com .