World Golf Championships FedEx St. Jude Invitational excitement builds, as does expected economic impact

Local Sports

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Memphis is the center of the golf universe this week as the Bluff City hosts the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

It’s a much deeper field than in years past, which means more fans, more TV viewers, and what’s expected to be a much bigger bottom line.

Since there’s only four WGC events a year, tournament organizers said this event is expected to pull in a much larger pool of fans from across the country.

This as a new era of more prestigious golf begins in Memphis.

“It’s a field that we’ve ever seen in Memphis,” WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational Executive Director Darrell Smith said.

From Phil Mickelson to Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk to Sergio Garcia, the buzz is building at TPC Southwind as Memphis hosts its first WGC event.

“45 of the top 50 players in the world being here in Memphis, you know, speaks for itself,” Smith said.

And that star power is paying off. Tournament leaders said the event already sold more tickets than any pro golf tournament in Memphis history.

“There’s no question we are going to have increased attendance to past years and there’s going to be areas of the golf course that feel extremely crowded,” Smith said.

Bigger crowds mean big bucks. Organizers estimate the WGC event will bring in between $40 to $60 million to the Memphis area economy. That’s potentially more than double the $25 million economic impact when Southwind hosted the former FedEx-St. Jude Classic.

“We know that people are coming in from Nashville, Chicago, St. Louis, Birmingham, Atlanta,” Kevin Kern with Memphis Tourism said.

Kern said the event also gives Memphis free global advertising to as many as one billion households.

“The city of Memphis as a whole, this is a great opportunity to showcase our city to the rest of the world,” Kern said.

Organizers expect more last minute ticket sales once the tournament starts Thursday.

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