If a player wants to win the FedEx St. Jude Classic, he must be prepared to produce a total in the 260s. . .and lower. Ted Tryba was ready last year, shooting a 265 that was the third lowest winning score in the decade of the ‘90s in Memphis.
Tryba’s final-round, 5-under-par 66 brought him his second PGA TOUR title, by one stroke over Tim Herron and Tom Lehman. Now that a new decade has arrived, what will it take to win at the Tournament Players Club at Southwind?
The highest winning score in the ‘90s was 269, by Tom Kite (1990) and Fred Couples (1991). Jay Haas bettered Tryba by two strokes, shooting 263 in 1992.
John Cook’s tournament-record 258 in 1996 is the second-lowest total in TOUR history, matched by Donnie Hammond (1989 Texas Open) and Steve Jones (1997 Phoenix Open) and bettered only by Mike Souchak’s 257 at the 1955 Texas Open.
Tryba almost doubled his career earnings in 1999, finishing 20th on the money list with $1,533,636. The last player to defend successfully in Memphis was Lee Trevino in 1972.
FROST TIES 36-HOLE MARK: For the second time in four years, the PGA TOUR record for low opening 36 holes was matched during the 1999 FedEx St. Jude Classic. This time it was David Frost, who posted a 126 total by opening with rounds of 63-63. In 1996, John Cook also carded a 16-under-par 126 total in Memphis. The other players to shoot 126 for their opening 36 holes are Tommy Bolt in the 1954 Virginia Beach Open, Paul Azinger in the 1989 Texas Open, Rick Fehr in the 1996 Las Vegas Invitational and Steve Jones in 1997 Phoenix Open.
RECORD BOOKS: Several of the FedEx St. Jude Classic scoring
records have been set in the last five years. In 1996, John Cook
established the 72-hole scoring record with a 26-under-par 258.
Cook also tied the PGA TOUR record for low opening 36 holes
(126) on his way to victory that year. One has to go back more
than 20 years to find the most significant TOUR record set in
Memphis. The 59 fired by Al Geiberger in the second round of
the 1977 Danny Thomas Memphis Classic at Colonial CC still
stands as the lowest round in TOUR history (matched twice).
Other FESJC records include:
– Best second 36 holes: 128 Jay Haas (1992)
– Largest margin of victory: 7 John Cook (1996)
– Best come-from-behind win: 8 Hal Sutton (1985)
– Consecutive cuts made: 17 Gene Littler (1958-71)
KEEPING IT UNDER PAR: Eight of the past 10 FedEx St. Jude Classic winners have posted all four rounds under par at the Tournament Players Club at Southwind. The lone exceptions have been 1995 champion Jim Gallagher, Jr. and 1990 winner Tom Kite. However, it was 1996 champion John Cook who set a new standard at the course with a tournament record 26- under-par 258.
EXTRA TIME: There have been 11 playoffs, 10 of the sudden-death variety, in the 42-year history of the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Interestingly, none of the 10 has required more than two extra holes to decide the winner. Seven sudden-deaths have finished after one hole, while three have gone to the second hole. There were three playoffs in the 1990s, the most recent coming in 1998, when Nick Price birdied the second hole to defeat Jeff Sluman.
HONOUR ROLL: Nick Price, a two-time winner of the FedEx St. Jude Classic (1993, 1998), has enjoyed the most success since 1970 at the PGA TOUR event. Price has placed in the top 10 six times and earned a tournament-best $803,632 in 13 starts. His scoring average of 69.00 in those 13 appearances is the lowest among players who have participated in the event at least 10 times. Following is a breakdown of the scoring average leaders over the past five years who have participated in at least three events: John Cook (67.93), Tim Herron (68.00), Gene Sauers (68.20), Price (68.21) and Kirk Triplett (68.44).
LEADERS OF THE PACK: Third-round leaders have enjoyed relatively good success at past FedEx St. Jude Classics. Going back to 1970, 20 of the past 30 champions (66.7 percent) have held at least a share of the lead heading into the final round. The success rate increases significantly over the past 10 years, when eight third-round leaders/co-leaders (80 percent) have gone on to victory.