- John Hawkins
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The PGA Tour's unofficial spring break concludes with the Fed-Ex St. Jude Classic, the last of half a dozen or so thin-field events that follow the Masters. This week's commitment list makes last month's gathering in New Orleans look like a Players Championship. Two-time champion David Toms is as close as it gets to a superstar.
Coming off missed cuts at the Nelson and Colonial, I'm not messing around in Memphis. Fredrik Jacobson has played the FedEx three times and never finished worse than T-6. A quiet solo fourth at Doral is the Swede's best showing in 2006, and though he has yet to win in America, Jacobson's tee-to-green stats have improved considerably since staking his claim to one of the best short games on the planet.
The Junkman ranked 181st on the tour last season in ball-striking. He is 72nd in '06, and at no cost to his putting, where he ranks 28th. His stock is definitely rising.
At top-tier events and on tight courses, Jacobson never drove the ball consistently enough to contend, as was the case three weeks ago in Charlotte -- he hit 28.6 percent of the fairways and missed the cut -- but the TPC of Southwind isn't as challenging off the tee as Quail Hollow. Big numbers won't be a problem for Jacobson in Memphis, and neither will any big names.
John Hawkins is a senior writer for Golf World magazine.
6dMike Fish and David Purdum