Bet PGA: Mike Kern picks FedEx St. Jude Invitational, Brooks Koepka, Paul Casey, Daniel Berger, longshots
The season is winding down. Coming off the Olympics, the PGA Tour now goes to Memphis for the FedEx St. Jude Invitational, which became a World Golf Championship in 2018. It’s the last event before the start of the four-tournament FedEx Cup playoffs. So there.
Dustin Johnson is the co-fave, at 11-1. He won this in 2018, but his recent tie for eighth at the British Open was his highest finish in a major this year. So I can’t go there.
Xander Schauffele is coming off a Gold Medal performance in Tokyo, the first time he’s won anything in awhile. But he’s usually in the hunt, especially in the bigger tournaments. He’s also 11-1.
Brooks Koepka, who usually does better in majors, is 12-1. He won this in 2019 and was second last year. He also had two top threes when this was a regular tour stop. In his last six starts he’s been second, missed the cut, fourth, fifth and sixth (British Open). But I have him in my yearlong pool. Make of that what you want.
Colin Morikawa is 12-1 as well. He of course just won his second major, at the British Open. And was in contention at the Olympics. Louis Oosthuizen, who was in position to win three majors this year, is 12 too.
Jordan Spieth is 14-1. He almost won in Britain, and has been playing well but has only won once. Justin Thomas, the defending champ, is 16-1. But he’s been 40th or worse in four of his last six starts. Paul Casey is 20-1, as are Viktor Hovland and Rory McIlroy. Not sure I trust Rory yet. Casey was in the seven-man playoff for last week’s Bronze medal.
Daniel Berger is 22-1. He won this in ’16 and ’17 and tied for second a year ago. Patrick Cantlay and Hideki Matsuyama are 25-1. Bryson DeChambeau, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Scottie Scheffler are each 28-1.
Abraham Ancer, Corey Conner, Tony Finau, Patrick Reed, Joaquin Niemann and Webb Simpson are 33-1. Cam Smith is 40-1, Shane Lowry 45-1. Sergio Garcia, Tyrell Hatton and Jason Kokrak are 50-1.
Will Zalatoris is 55-1. Tommy Fleetwood and Brian Harman are 66-1. Harman hasn’t played here since 2015 but has nine top 20s in his last 11 starts. Sungjae Im is 60-1, Adam Scott 70-1, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose 80-1. And this being a Ryder Cup year, you never know what that could do to the Euros who are teeing it up.
There are others. Phil Mickelson is 100-1. And Stewart Cink, who’s won twice this season, is 125-1. Nobody has yet to defend a title this season, in case you were wondering.
So which way are we going? If I were going to take one of the faves, which I usually don’t, I think I’d learn toward Brooks Koepka, against my better judgement. And he’s +250 to get a top five, which might be a good investment despite the low odds.
I’ll give you two guys in the next tier: Paul Casey and Daniel Berger, at 20-1 and 22-1 respectively. And +400 for a top five. For a longshot, and I’m not really in love with anyone, but I would take a look at Brian Harman at 66-1 (and 5-1 for a top 10 as insurance backup) and maybe even Ian Poulter at 80-1. But in Poulter’s case I’d look more at the 6-1 for a top 10 or the 12-1 for a five.
Enjoy. Hope you have something to root for come Sunday. Go Koepka, which of course means he has little shot. A man has to know his limitations. See you next week for the start of the playoff run.