Memphis, TN-A late-afternoon phone call Friday created major excitement for FedEx St. Jude Classic officials when PGA TOUR star Matt Kuchar entered next week’s $5.8 million championship at TPC Southwind shortly before the entry deadline.
“This is just triple icing on the cake,” said tournament director Phil Cannon, noting Kuchar’s current No. 4 position in the Official World Golf Ranking and the recent winner of the RBV Heritage event at Holton Head, SC.
Tournament Week starts Monday with the Danny Thomas Pro-Am. Championship play will start Thursday and continue through Seersucker Sunday.
Kuchar, a seven-time career winner on TOUR who is currently third in FedExCup points, provided a major boost to a stellar field that already included such crowd favorites as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson, Justin Leonard, Davis Love III, and David Toms along with rising newcomers Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed and defending champion Harris English.
Dustin Johnson currently is fourth in FedExCup points, Reed is sixth, English is seventh and Zach Johnson is 10th.
The field includes a strong foreign contingent including former World No. 1 Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington, Retief Goosen, Darren Clarke and Ian Poulter.
At the entry deadline, 150 of the 156-player field was set. The field included 83 professionals who have won 326 events on TOUR, including 16 major championships, 16 TOUR events this season, and nine former winners in Memphis.
“Wow, just an incredible field for next week’s championship,” said Cannon. “It’s a deep field with lots of star power at the top.”
Only six spots remain to be filled – four Open qualifiers who will be determined on Sunday at Windyke Country Club, and two of the eight sponsor exemptions.
Major championship winners in the field are Stewart Cink, Darren Clarke, Ben Curtis, David Duvall, Retief Goosen, Padraig Harrington, Trevor Immelman, Zach Johnson, Justin Leonard, Davis Love III, Graeme McDowell, Phil Mickelson, Geoff Ogilvy, Webb Simpson, David Toms and Mike Weir.
Winners this season are Dustin Johnson, Chris Kirk, Harris English, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed, Scott Stallings, Kevin Stadler, Russell Henley, Chesson Hadley, John Senden, Matt Every, Webb Simpson, Steven Bowditch, Seung-Yul Noh, J. B. Holmes, and Matt Kuchar.
Former FESJC champions include two-time winners Leonard and Toms along with Woody Austin, Harrison Frazar, Brian Gay, Jeff Maggert, Lee Westwood, Dustin Johnson and English. Winners of the last 11 Memphis tournaments are in the field.