FedEx St. Jude Classic — Golfing in Memphis

Done with the Memorial, and it’s time for the FedEx St. Jude Classic! This week, all the players will be:

About the Sponsor

I was going to mention how Federal Express is the name sponsor of the tournament. But turns out, it isn’t. The name of the company is actually FedEx. A 66% decrease in characters! And since the name change in 2000, share price has increased well over 66%. I’m sensing a trend. Maybe I should switch this blog’s name to GOTM instead of Golf on the Mind. Maybe that’ll get the same increase in readership. Too bad buying a four letter domain is gonna be expensive as hell.

I wrote that first sentence, then did a little research on FedEx, and there’s a lot more to the story of FedEx / Federal Express than just a name change. Federal Express is the name for the original airline for shipping packages. That name was changed to FedEx Express around 1997 when FedEx, a new holding company was founded to own FedEx Express and all the other shipping companies they bought. Imagine how much the FedEx lawyers make off this whole deal. Currently, there are a ton of different, yet separate companies that use the FedEx name / branding. Check out the list here if you’re so inclined. It’s not all that interesting, so don’t feel like you have to look at the list.

Best part of the whole research was this line from wikipedia.

Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 3.45.32 PM

Literally nobody ever confused the two.

 

“Not to be confused with the Philippine Basketball Association team that played under the “FedEx Express” name, now known as the Barako Bull Energy Cola.”

Now I really wish I had confused the two FedEx expresses and wrote this section about the Barako Bull Energy Cola team. I feel like I really missed out.

Finally, I feel like I need to use this time to mention one of my all time favorite movies, Castaway. A fat Tom Hanks turns into a homeless skinny man after his FedEx plane crashes somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. This movie proves Tom Hanks is the best actor of all time considering he’s the only human in the movie for the majority of the time.

fedex-castaway-tom-hanks-brand-story

Notice the box doesn’t say “Barako Bull Energy Cola” though.

 

Oh, and Castaway was also released in 2000 as well. I began to sense a trend about 2000 here.

About the Tournament

Started as the Memphis Open in 1958, the FedEx St. Jude classic also has an interesting (well, at least a little) history of names throughout the years. In 1969, the Memphis Open became the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic, named after an actor from the Memphis area. Never knew that there was precedent for having a PGA Tour event’s title sponsor be a person. So now I’ll be waiting until Donald Trump throws his name on the WGC Cadillac event.

FedEx took over in 1989, then it became the Stanford Financial Group took over and it the name became the Stanford St. Jude Classic. Stanford was dropped as sponsor in 2009 after they were accused of being a ponzi scheme (which I really wish was the sponsor since they would have been fun to write about). Finally in 2011, FedEx came crawling back to put their name back on the event’s title.

The winner of the event also gets a Seersucker jacket! Seriously… At least it isn’t tartan. I think these tournaments would be a lot more fun if the winner got something from the sponsor. Like a year’s worth of free shipping of packages with FedEx. Or maybe a year of free child medical care at St. Jude’s hospital. Make it more interesting than another jacket.

Think he's ever put this on again?

Think he’s ever put this on again?

About the Course

We’re back to another TPC course. This one being TPC Southwind. Apparently back in 1989, this was the first course on the PGA Tour to be over 7,000 yards. Fun to see how far we’ve come since then, with every course on tour being listed well over that number. I can’t imagine the scores if these guys were playing a course with yardage that started with a 6. All those wedges, they’ll start shooting in the 50s soon enough.

As many courses in this area, the fairways are Zoysia (pronounced Zoyzja or something like that). Besides being lots of fun to say, it’s really fun to play on because you’ll never have a bad lie! The blades of grass form a little tee all over the fairway.

The course’s website mentions that it’s ranked “No. 23 in Golf World magazine’s Exclusive PGA Tour Course Rankings.” I’m pretty sure they’re mentioning that this course is average, but are going about it in a sneaky way. If you’re going to say the course is average, then this is a pretty good way to do it.

Last Year

Ben Crane choked it to a one shot victory after a final round 3 over 73. Funny how the first thing I look at is the final round and whether or not the winner played well at the end. I’m completely ignoring that he was -12 through the first 2 rounds. Keep in mind folks, a tournament can apparently be won on Thursday and Friday. Kind of how Spieth won the Masters this year.

What to Watch For

US Open Qualifiers — The Monday before the FESJC (kind of works as an abbreviation?) are the 36 hole qualifiers for the US Open that’s the week after. There’ll be enough stories by the media from now until next week where they talk about the feel good stories of qualifiers. Club pros, amateurs, old guys, I’m sure the media will make enough stories to fill their quotas.

FedEx Cup Talk — If you didn’t figure it out by now, FedEx is also the sponsor of the season long FedEx Cup. Given that both are sponsored by FedEx, I’m sure this’ll be played up. I will say it’s an interesting thing watching the FedEx Cup evolve since 2007. Back then, I remember thinking that Tiger would win it literally every year. Now, with some changes to how the playoff system works, we’re seeing really exciting tournaments and meaningful rounds every year. And apparently, there are players who are prioritizing FedEx Cup positioning over qualifying for US Open.

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