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McIlroy aims to arrest slump at St Jude

Josh Williams June 6, 2012
David Toms has won the St Jude Classic twice before © Getty Images
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Click here to bet on the St Jude Classic at bet365

Tiger Woods is now resting ahead of the US Open, and he can sit back and congratulate himself for working his way into an auspicious position ahead of the year's second major.

Woods' victory at Memorial over the weekend has seen him emerge as the clear favourite for the Olympic Club tournament, with his odds being sliced down to 6/1.

Meanwhile, on the PGA Tour, quite the contrast as defending US Open champion Rory McIlroy is involved in a frantic scramble to try and find some form at this week's St Jude Classic.

The Ulsterman, who has missed three straight cuts, now has one last chance to tidy himself up before he begins the defence of that major.

Williams' wagers

  • David Toms E/W - 20/1 at bet365

On the face of it, the TPC Southwind event is well-suited to McIlroy: it's a massive test from tee to green, with bogey avoidance crucial. Ordinarily, you wouldn't think twice before backing the Ulsterman in those circumstances - however, he just looks a bit of a mess at the minute, and I wouldn't feel comfortable placing any faith in any one aspect of his game.

He'll turn it around at some point, of course - but this week? I'm not convinced, and nor are the bookmakers: former Masters champion Zach Johnson - who is, in fairness, in playing brilliantly at present - goes off as favourite.

The man I like is David Toms, a two-time St Jude winner and the man who has pocketed the most money at this event down the years. Toms, the US PGA Championship victor in 2001, has huge appeal for those of you with a statistical slant: second on the PGA Tour in fairways hit, and 22nd in both greens in regulation and bogey avoidance.

There won't be many birdies at TPC Southwind given its status as a par 70, so a fairways-and-greens grinder is always likely to feature towards the top of the leaderboard - and that sounds like Toms to me.

Please note that odds are correct at time of publication and are subject to change.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Josh Williams is an assistant editor of ESPN.co.uk