The FedEx St. Jude Classic is like a party on a golf course. Thousands and thousands of people gather around to watch the world’s best golfers play at TPC Southwind at Winchester and Hacks Cross. This year was no different as thousands flooded the grounds to watch Dustin Johnson win the 2018 FedEx St. Jude Classic.
The People. The Fans.
Memphians love those who are loyal to Memphis. They love the homegrown kids who make it to golf’s biggest stage, and they like to stare in awe at the best. At TPC Southwind, you’ll find the bulk of the crowds lounging in big grandstands around the last three holes, but many wander the grounds following a particular group. For some, they follow players like Braden Thornberry and Grant Hirschman. Both grew up in the area, both went on to win state championships in high school golf, and both won National Championships at the NCAA level. Memphis is proud of their hometown products, and the galleries following these players prove it.
Then there are those that follow Phil Mickelson. Whether he’s playing his best or his worst, people love to watch Phil play. He interacts with the crowd better than anybody and creates an enjoyable experience for all of those who see him up close and personal. More importantly, he has spoken about how much he loves this tournament, and he backs it up by coming to Memphis year in and year out. Memphis likes the guys who stick to their promises and show up for every St. Jude Classic.
Of course, some simply come to see the best. Dustin Johnson, by definition (he’s the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world), is the best and he proved it on Sunday. Thousands followed the big-hitting Johnson as he cruised to a six-shot victory and hole out from the fairway on 18 to end the tournament.
Most PGA Tour events are run largely by volunteers when it comes to tournament time. The cart-drivers, concession workers, and “Hush Y’all” sign holders are all volunteers. They are truly part of the fan experience. They will all point you in the right direction, greet you with a smile, and sit and chat with you on the air-conditioned benches scattered around the grounds. Walk up to anyone with a St. Jude Classic polo on and they will make your day just a little better.
The 18th Hole.
The entire course is a treat to stroll around. However, if you decide to stay in one place, there is no better place than the 18th hole. Lining the right side of the hole are hospitality tents, food, games, the PGA Fan Shop and a rather noticeable “Welcome Y’all sign”.
Start near the tee box and stop by the kids’ zone and bounce around in the bounce house and roll a few putts on the miniature greens. Then, hop over to the Bridgestone Performance Center and the swing aids to work on your own game right alongside the pros. The next stop is the shop to grab some FedEx St. Jude Classic swag. Finally, take a seat next to the 18th green and watch it all unfold. It doesn’t get any better.
The FedEx St. Jude Classic is one big party. Good golf, a few pronto pups, a few drinks and a lot of Memphis golf fans. The tournament is a part of the Memphis summer just like Beale Street Music Festival or BBQ Fest is. Most importantly, it’s a Memphis event that you don’t want to miss.