FedEx St. Jude Classic welcomes professionals, local celebrities ahead of tournament

Ricky Barnes signs autographs for young fans (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
Ricky Barnes signs autographs for young fans (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The 60th annual FedEx St. Jude Classic welcomed both PGA Tour professionals and golf amateurs to the course at TPC Southwind Wednesday. Those participating in the tournament, alongside the Memphis community, worked to raise money and awareness for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Wednesday morning the top names in the golf industry toured the course with local celebrities and learned more about the course they'll try to master this weekend.

A new setup this year pairs the professionals into groups so they play only 9 holes each. This allows for the pros to mingle with their celebrity counterparts, including former Memphis Tiger and NBA star Anfernee Hardaway, as well as NASCAR drivers Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Denny Hamlin.

Other big names participating in the tournament include Jim Furyk, a former FedEx Cup champion and PGA Player of the Year, and Daniel Berger, last year's FedEx St. Jude Classic champion.

Irishman Graeme McDowell, the winner of the 2010 Masters, finished up his match early and said he's happy to beat the heat this year.

"I normally check on the long range forecast just to see what I need to pack," McDowell said. "And I have to say I had a little smile on my face when I didn't see any mid-to-high 90's here in Memphis."

The FedEx St. Jude Classic officially starts Thursday and runs through Sunday at TPC Southwind.

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