St. Jude Classic
|Established||1958, 59 years ago|
|Length||7,244 yards (6,624 m)|
|Prize fund||$6.2 million|
|Tournament record score|
|Aggregate||258 John Cook (1996)|
|To par||−26 John Cook (1996)|
The FedEx St. Jude Classic is a professional golf tournament in Memphis, Tennessee, a regular event on the PGA Tour. It has been held annually since 1958, and is currently played in June at TPC Southwind, its home since 1989.
The tournament debuted 59 years ago in May 1958 as the Memphis Open and was played annually at Colonial Country Club in Memphis through 1971, then at the club's new home in Cordova through 1988. The late Vernon Bell, a Memphis restaurateur, co-founded the tournament and served as the tournament's general chairman for 22 years. He is also the father of the late Chris Bell.
In 1969, entertainer Danny Thomas (1912–1991) agreed to lend his name to the tournament in exchange for his St. Jude Children's Research Hospital becoming the tournament's charity. Accordingly, the tournament changed its name the next year to the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic.
In 1977, President Gerald Ford, who had left office in January, made a hole-in-one during the tournament's celebrity pro-am while playing with Thomas and Ben Crenshaw. Two days later, Al Geiberger shot a PGA Tour record 59 (−13) in the second round with eleven birdies and an eagle. He needed a rally on Sunday to win by three strokes at 273 (–15).
In 1986, Federal Express became the title sponsor. For the first three years of their sponsorship, FedEx increased the purse one dollar for each package they shipped on the Friday of the tournament. The purses went from $500,000 to $605,912 in 1986, from $600,000 to $724,043 in 1987, and from $750,000 to $953,842 in 1988.
The Stanford Financial Group took over as the tournament's title sponsor in 2007, and it was renamed Stanford St. Jude Championship. In 2009, the tournament changed its name to St. Jude Classic, following accusations that the Stanford Financial Group was a Ponzi scheme. FedEx returned as title sponsor in 2011.
Five men have won the St. Jude Classic more than once through 2016.
- 4 wins: Dave Hill (1967, 1969, 1970, 1973)
- 3 wins: Lee Trevino (1971, 1972, 1980)
- 2 wins: Nick Price (1993, 1998), David Toms (2003, 2004), Justin Leonard (2005, 2008)
- 1958: Billy Maxwell wins the first Memphis Open. He beats Cary Middlecoff by one shot.
- 1961: Local favorite Cary Middlecoff beats Gardner Dickinson and Mike Souchak by five shots.
- 1965: Jack Nicklaus, who played in Memphis very infrequently, beats Johnny Pott on the first hole of a sudden death playoff.
- 1966: Bert Yancey wins by five shots over Gene Littler but only after nearly missing his Sunday tee time. A last moment phone call from his caddy kept Yancey from being disqualified.
- 1967: Dave Hill goes wire-to-wire for his first Memphis win. He defeats Johnny Pott by two shots.
- 1970: Dave Hill becomes the first Memphis winner to successfully defend his title. He defeats Homero Blancas, Frank Beard, and Bob Charles by one shot.
- 1971: Lee Trevino wins in Memphis for the first time. He defeats Jerry Heard, Hale Irwin, Lee Elder and Randy Wolff by four shots.
- 1973: Dave Hill earns his 4th and final Memphis win. He beats Allen Miller and Lee Trevino by one shot.
- 1977: Al Geiberger shoots a second round 59 (the first 59 in a PGA Tour event), then holds on to win the tournament by three shots over Gary Player and Jerry McGee.
- 1980: Lee Trevino triumphs in Memphis for the third and final time. He beats Tom Purtzer by one shot.
- 1981: After making a birdie on the 72nd hole to win by two shots over Tom Kite and Bruce Lietzke, Jerry Pate leaps into the lake adjoining the 18th green.
- 1986: Mike Hulbert birdies the 72nd hole for his first ever PGA Tour win. He wins by one shot over his roommate for the week, Joey Sindelar.
- 1992: Jay Haas shoots 64–64 over the last 36 holes to win by three shots over Dan Forsman and Robert Gamez.
- 1994: PGA Tour rookie Dicky Pride beats Gene Sauers and Hal Sutton in a playoff with a birdie on the first hole.
- 1996: John Cook shoots a PGA Tour record 189 for 54 holes on his way to a seven shot win over John Adams.
- 1997: Greg Norman birdies the final three holes to beat Dudley Hart by one shot.
- 2000: Notah Begay III beats Bob May and Chris DiMarco by one shot. It is his first win after being convicted of drunken driving in March of the same year and having to spend seven days in jail.
- 2003: David Toms shoots a final round 64 to get his first of back-to-back Memphis titles. He beats Nick Price by three shots.
- 2005: Justin Leonard ties the record for the highest final round score by a Memphis winner, a 73, on his way to a one-shot victory over David Toms.
- 2010: Lee Westwood defeats Robert Karlsson and Robert Garrigus in a sudden-death playoff after Garrigus comes to the 72nd hole with a three-shot lead before finishing with a triple bogey.
- 2011: After thirteen years and 355 starts, Harrison Frazar won his first PGA Tour event after beating Robert Karlsson in a playoff. Frazar was playing on a medical extension after hip surgery and was actually considering retirement before his win. Karlsson lost in a playoff for the second consecutive season.
- A brief history
- "Inside the course:TPC Southwind". PGA Tour. June 4, 2012. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
- "Course: TPC Southwind". PGA Tour. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
- "Vernon Bell profile". Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
- Mehr, Bob (December 28, 2008). "Chris Bell's passion for music still rings true". The Commercial Appeal. Memphis, Tennessee.
- "Sports briefing: Ford finds ace in the hole". Chicago Tribune. June 9, 1977. p. 1, section 10.
- "Sure shot". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. (AP wirephoto). June 9, 1977. p. 4.
- "'Incredible' 59 for Geiberger". Chicago Tribune. wire services. June 11, 1977. p. 1, section 2.
- "Geiberger fires PGA mark 59, 11 birds, eagle". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. June 11, 1977. p. 11.
- "Geiberger needs rally to win". Chicago Tribune. wire services. June 13, 1977. p. 5, section 6.
- "Length bothers Zoeller". Rome News-Tribune. Rome, Georgia. Associated Press. August 28, 1986. p. 5-B. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
- "Strange, Dillard share St. Jude lead". The Modesto Bee. Modesto, California. August 2, 1987. p. F-3. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
- "Mudd Leading by Stroke in Bid for First Tour Victory". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. August 7, 1988. p. 8. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
- "Memphis' 2009 Tour stop renamed St. Jude Classic". PGA Tour. March 19, 2009. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
- Ross, Helen (December 2, 2010). "2011 schedule includes key change during the Playoffs". PGA Tour. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
- FedEx St. Jude Classic – Winners – at www.stjudeclassic.com
- FedEx St. Jude Classic – Winners – at www.pgatour.com
- Memphis Tourney Won by Maxwell win
- Middlecoff Finds Form
- Nicklaus Wins 'Jackpot' in Memphis
- Yancey Captures Memphis Open Golf
- Dave Hill Wins Memphis Open
- Dave Hill Memphis Winner
- Lee Trevino coasts to Memphis victory
- Dave Hill wins Memphis Classic
- Happy ending for Geiberger
- Trevino outlasts storms for triumph in Memphis
- Pate takes million-dollar dive
- Hulbert scores one-shot Memphis win
- Haas finally ends tourney drought
- Cook breezes at St. Jude
- Norman nabs first tour win of season
- Begay Is Steady At the End
- Toms pulls away from crowded leaderboard at St. Jude
- Leonard hangs on to win St. Jude Classic
- Lee Westwood wins St Jude Classic in Memphis
- Official website
- History of Vernon Bell co-founding the event
- Coverage on PGA Tour's official site
- St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
- TPC Southwind