As the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club moves ever closer, the PGA Tour makes a pit stop in Tennessee for the FedEx St. Jude Classic. This is the last event before the U.S. Open and many of the big boys are taking the week off to prepare for the incredibly difficult test they will find just outside of Philadelphia next week.
TPC Southwind is a 7,239 yard par 70 that was designed in 1987 and designer Ron Prichard made it a point to work around the existing landscape with his design. That is made evident by the rolling hills and natural lakes and streams the pepper the course. Southwind’s most famous hole, the 11th, has been compared to the celebrated 17th at TPC Sawgrass.
Dustin Johnson will be looking to defend his title against a somewhat depleted field. The majority of events that take place before major championships fail to draw the marquee names because those individuals like to take a week or two off to get completely focused on the major that lies ahead. Only five of the top 30 golfers in the world will be playing this week. John Daly is playing this event for the 16th consecutive year and 23rd overall, having missed the cut just twice. It would be incredible to see him take a run at the title this week.
Somewhat surprisingly, Phil Mickelson is teeing up this week for the first time since the PLAYERS Championship, where he missed the cut. I guess he felt he needed to get a few competitive rounds in before Merion. Johnson, himself, has only played three competitive rounds of golf since the Masters in April. He bowed out after one round at the PLAYERS Championship and missed the cut at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance. I’d venture to say that it’s probably a good idea for him to play this week, in the hopes of shaking of some of the rust that is surely present.
While it’s obvious that everyone who has entered this event wants to play well, the guys looking ahead to next week might want to make sure that they don’t take a home a victory here. No winner of this event has gone on to win the U.S. Open in the same year.