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St Jude Championship

St Jude Championship

The St Jude Championship is a 72-hole stroke play tournament on the PGA Tour that has undergone many name changes since originally starting out as the Westchester Classic in 1967, when it was first played on the West course at Westchester Country Club in Harrison, New York.

Forty-one consecutive editions took place at that venue up until 2007, though the name of the competition changed to the Buick Classic in 1990 before it became first the Barclays Classic in 2005 then The Barclays two years later. From 2017 to 2021 the event was known as The Northern Trust.

Name changes have been an unfortunate side effect of title sponsorship with many PGA Tour stops down the years as large corporations seek to maximise their profile in return for underwriting the operating costs of these large golf events. Nevertheless, for many fans, this tournament will always be “The Westchester”.

Jack Nicklaus won the $50,000 first prize for the rain-delayed inaugural event back in 1967 (which finished, incredibly, on a Wednesday) when his 272 aggregate score was enough to give him the title by one stroke from runner-up Dan Sikes, who won the Jacksonville Open and Philadelphia Golf Classic that same season.

The Golden Bear shot the same score 12 months later but it was only good enough to secure joint second place, along with Sikes and Bob Murphy, as Julius Boros won. Two years down the line, Jack finished runner-up again but he came out on top for the second time in 1972 when his aggregate total of 270 beat Jim Colbert by three strokes.

There was early success for overseas players in the competition as Australians Bruce Crampton (1970) and David Graham (1976) both lifted the trophy before Seve Ballesteros followed up with a Spanish double in 1983 and 1988, winning the latter event after a 4-man playoff.

In the 1990s, South Africans David Frost and Ernie Els captured three Classics between them then Spain’s Sergio Garcia stepped in at the start of the new millennium to make his mark by winning in 2001 and 2004; the second victory coming after he’d birdied the third extra playoff hole against Rory Sabbatini.

In 2008, The Barclays, as the renamed tournament was then called, moved to Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey and it ended in a three-way tie after four rounds, with Vijay Singh overcoming Sergio Garcia when he birdied the second playoff hole, following Kevin Sutherland’s elimination at the previous hole. This gave the Fijian his fourth title in sixteen years, which remains a record.

Liberty National in New Jersey was the next venue for the championship in 2009 and Heath Slocum did ever so well to win his third PGA Tour title by holding off the combined talents of Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker, Padraig Harrington and Ernie Els to beat all of them by one shot.

Plainfield Country Club was the next New Jersey golfing destination to host the tournament in 2011 and Dustin Johnson claimed the first of three titles he would win over the ensuing ten-year span by shooting a nineteen-under-par total of 194 to take the weather-shortened first prize ahead of nearest rival Matt Kuchar.

A year later, the Black course at Bethpage State Park in New York joined the tournament roster and Californian Nick Watney came out on top after four days of competition, his ten-under-par total good enough to snare the $1.44 million first prize from closest rival Brandt Snedeker.

Glen Oaks became the sixth club to stage the championship in 2017, as Dustin Johnston edged ahead of Jordan Speith in the playoff to win with a birdie on the first extra hole. Three years further on, TPC Boston became the seventh club to host the competition and two years later TPC Southwind in Tennessee became the latest club to hold the event.

Since 2007, the championship is played as the first event in the playoff system for the FedEx Cup, with the field limited to the top 125 players on the FedEx points list for the regular season. After 36 holes, the top 70 players plus ties progress to the final two 18-hole rounds.

After 72 holes, professionals in the top seventy positions in the FedEx points table continue on to the next playoff event, the BMW Championship, which evolved from the Western Open in 2007.

View:
01
Bethpage (Black)

Bethpage (Black)

Farmingdale, New York

02
Glen Oaks Club (White & Blue)

Glen Oaks Club (White & Blue)

Old Westbury, New York

03
Liberty National

Liberty National

Jersey City, New Jersey

04
Plainfield

Plainfield

Edison, New Jersey

05
Ridgewood (East & West)

Ridgewood (East & West)

Paramus, New Jersey

06

TPC Boston

Norton, Massachusetts

07

TPC Southwind

Memphis, Tennessee

08

Westchester (West)

Rye, New York

St Jude Championship Top 100 Leaderboard

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