Timing Is Everything as McIlroy Headlines ICG Fantasy Five in Memphis

Rory McIlroy

By Michael Weigand, PGA, ICG

The golf world is abuzz right now after Tiger Woods’ dramatic chip-in and subsequent victory at the Memorial Tournament this past Sunday. Unfortunately, the general population will have to wait a couple of weeks until the U.S. Open at Olympic Club in San Francisco to see Woods compete again. For this week, the FedEx St. Jude classic will have to suffice for golf entertainment.

The FedEx St. Jude has been a mainstay on the PGA Tour since 1958 with the St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., being a favorite charity of the PGA. TPC Southwind has been the host site for the event since 1989 and typically ranks as one of the easier courses on the tour schedule. This propensity for low scores and lots of birdies bodes well, especially for our iCHOOSEGOLF fantasy golf participants.

Here now, our iCHOOSEGOLF Fantasy Five picks for the FedEx St. Jude Classic.

Rory McIlroy: Rory comes to Memphis in an odd spot. The world's No. 2 ranked player has missed three straight cuts, his last round a forgettable 7-over-par 79 at Muirfield Village in Ohio. That being said, this week is a good week to pick McIlroy. In golf, as in life, motivation is a powerful thing. At TPC Southwind, McIlroy is motivated to get things moving in the right direction as he prepares for the U.S. Open the following week. On a good note, Rory is still ranked seventh in scoring, fourth in birdie average and second in the all-around category. There aren't a ton of superstar names in the field this week, either. In all, McIlroy should be a guy that gets a lot of golf attention -- fantasy and otherwise -- this week in Memphis.

Graeme McDowell: Like Rory, G-Mac is coming off missed cuts in his last two professional starts. Unlike McIlroy, however, McDowell has a runner-up finish (at the Volvo World Match Play Championship) on the European Tour prior to those two events. On a positive note, the missed cut at the Players Championship is his only MC on the PGA Tour this year. He's ranked first in driving accuracy, 18th in greens In regulation, 15th in birdie average and 24th in scoring. Motivation and the lack of other top-ranked players in this week's field also play into the formula for selecting McDowell at the FedEx St. Jude. Don’t be surprised if G-Mac ends up on the first page of the leaderboard by Sunday.

Spencer Levin: Coming off a final round 75 and an eventual T4 finish at the Memorial this past weekend, Levin will be a sentimental pick this week. Spencer, however, brings much more to the table in Memphis. He has three top 10s and six top 25s in the 2012 Tour season against only three missed cuts. He finished T15 in the FedEx St. Jude event last season including finishing with a final round 64. It's no secret that the key to Levin's success is centered around his putting stroke (he's ranked 20th in strokes gained putting on the tour). Ride the hot hand and hot putting stroke and get Spencer into your fantasy golf lineup this week.

Cameron Tringale: Okay, we've been touting Cameron as one of the "next big things" on the PGA Tour for a few months now. And this week is a good time to move him up into the starting lineup. Tringale has four top 10s and six top 25s on his record for 2012 including a T25 finish against a stellar field on a tough golf course at the Memorial last weekend. He's ranked 19th in total driving, 31st in strokes gained putting and 37th in birdie average on the tour. He also posted three sub-70 rounds at the FedEx St. Jude last year en route to a T8 finish. Many other fantasy golf competitors will overlook Cameron this week but the smart ones (like you) will happily put him in the lineup.

Charles Howell III: We've talked Howell a couple of times this year in our ICG Fantasy Five and, it's time to revisit the Augusta, Ga., native. Howell has five top 25 finishes in 2012 but has been a bit inconsistent over the past few weeks. Two uncharacteristic rounds -- a second round 79 at the Wells Fargo and a first round 76 at the Players -- each led to missed cuts. Look for Charles to get things back on track this week in Memphis where he finished T3 last year. Howell is currently 36th in driving distance, 44th in GIR and 28th in scoring. He's also a good "dark horse" pick for your fantasy golf squad this week.

Coverage of the FedEx St. Jude Classic begins on the Golf Channel on Thursday at 3:00pm EDT / 2:00pm CDT.


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