Jon Rahm grabbed the No. 1 spot in the FedEx Cup points standings in January and never let go.
But the two-time major winner from Spain has a lot of work to do in order to lift his first FedEx Cup, starting this week with the first leg of the playoffs, the FedEx St. Jude Championship in Memphis, Tenn.
"Obviously you want to win every time we tee it up, but yeah, the goal is to try to get to East Lake as No. 1 and enjoy that two-shot lead," Rahm said of the playoff format. "It's always made a difference. It made a difference when I finished second place."
Rahm was the FedEx Cup runner-up to Patrick Cantlay in 2021. In 2022, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland bested world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler down the stretch in Atlanta.
But before we get that far, the top 70 players in points standings tee it up at the St. Jude starting Thursday. Those on the outside of the top 50 will try to fight their way in, not only to make next week's BMW Championship, but also to earn exemptions into the PGA Tour's new signature events in 2024.
Our golf experts break down the FedEx St. Jude Championship, which begins Thursday at TPC Southwind, and provide their favorite prop picks along with best bets to win this week.
FEDEX ST. JUDE CHAMPIONSHIP
Location: Memphis, Tenn.
Course: TPC Southwind (Par 70, 7,243 yards)
Purse: $20M (Winner: $3.6M)
Defending Champion: Will Zalatoris
FedEx Cup leader: Jon Rahm
HOW TO FOLLOW
TV: Thursday-Friday, 2-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Saturday, 1-3 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS); Sunday, 12-2 p.m. (GC), 2-6 p.m. (CBS)
Streaming (ESPN+): Thursday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
—Scheffler, Rahm or McIlroy to win vs. The Field (+200 at DraftKings): DraftKings Sportsbook is pitching this tournament special as "Big Guns v The Field," and rightfully so. Scheffler, Rahm and McIlroy have played at another level this year, creating a gulf between the PGA Tour's big three and the next echelon. Believe it or not, none of these three have won at TPC Southwind in their careers, but to get a trio with a combined eight victories this season at +200 is too good to pass up.
—Byeong Hun An to finish Top Asian Player (+400 at BetMGM): This time last year, An didn't even have his PGA Tour card, having to re-earn it via the Korn Ferry Tour in 2022. Now he's entering the FedEx Cup playoffs in terrific form. For this prop to hit, An just needs to beat four other Asian players. Tom Kim (+250) is the favorite, but we haven't seen him since he fought through an ankle sprain to tie for second at The Open. Hideki Matsuyama and Sungjae Im (both +333) are in shaky form, while An's last three starts resulted in T3, T23 and T2 finishes.
—Jason Day to finish Top 10 (+260 at DraftKings): Only five players have earned more top-10 finishes this season than Day's eight. The former World No. 1 had a rough stretch in June but is back in top form with a T2 at The Open in his last start. And as a veteran player, he's far more familiar by now with TPC Southwind than many of the first-time playoff qualifiers in the field; Day finished T6 at this course as recently as 2020.
2023 Prop Picks Record: 37-46-2
—Scheffler (+650 at BetMGM) is the favorite despite a speed bump in his dominant season. His T23 finish at The Open Championship in his last start was his first time finishing outside the top five of an event since April. Scheffler hasn't won since The Players Championship in March.
—Rahm (+900) tied for fifth here last year and came in seventh at the 2019 WGC event at this venue. He's cooled off since his Masters victory but a third-round 63 his last time out helped him tie for second at The Open.
—McIlroy (+900) has been just as spectacular since his surprising missed cut at the Masters. He has finished in the top 10 of seven straight events, including a win in Scotland last month.
—Cantlay (+1600), the 2021 FedEx Cup champion, has yet to win in Memphis, but three of his past four wins on tour have come at playoff events, including back-to-back BMW Championships.
—Brian Harman (+4500) will make his first start since his runaway win at The Open. He has finished in the top 12 of four straight starts, and at TPC Southwind last year he finished T3.
—Sepp Straka (+5000) lost a heartbreaking playoff to Zalatoris at the St. Jude last year, involving a water ball on the third playoff hole. The Austrian has shown some terrific form this summer, winning the John Deere Classic and tying for second at The Open.
—The top 70 players in the FedEx Cup standings qualified for the St. Jude, the first leg of the playoffs, down from a field of 125 last year. The top 50 players in points after Sunday will make it to next week's BMW Championship, along with qualifying for all signature events in 2024.
—Rahm enters the playoffs with a 174-point lead over Scheffler. Each player is looking to win his first FedEx Cup, which comes with an $18 million bonus.
—In third place entering the week is McIlroy, who beat out Scheffler to win the 2022 FedEx Cup, the third of his career. Max Homa and U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark are fourth and fifth in points.
—The only player to move from outside the top 70 into the playoff field last week was Glover, who earned his fifth career PGA Tour title by beating Russell Henley and others down the stretch. Glover leapt from No. 112 to No. 49 in the standings.
—For the second straight week on tour, a tournament's 2022 champion will not be on hand to defend. Zalatoris underwent back surgery earlier this season and will not return to competition before October.
—Field Level Media