How one pro is betting on his birdie-making skills (legally!) in Memphis

Daniel Berger is betting on himself at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

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It is an unassailable rule of golf: never root for another player to miss a birdie putt. Beyond being simply bad juju, it’s also against the heart of the game. It’s hard enough to be successful in one’s own right; adding in the karmic influence of an ill-wishing opponent? Consider the deck stacked against you.

At this weekend’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, rooting for birdies isn’t just the *right* thing to do, it’s a good thing to do. That’s because one of the participants in the field at this week’s event, Daniel Berger, will be donating $1,000 to St. Jude for every birdie make throughout the week. 

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This won’t be the first tournament with a charitable wager involving Berger, who plays with the St. Jude logo on his bag. At last year’s event, he raised $17,000 after making 17 birdies throughout the week. 

Berger and St. Jude’s relationship dates back to 2016 and 2017, back-to-back years in which the Florida native claimed his first two PGA Tour wins at the Invitational. His signed bag from this year’s event will also be auctioned off at the end of the PGA Tour season.

The money raised from Berger’s birdie-off will be donated directly toward St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, which pioneers treatments on children’s cancer and other pediatric diseases. The hospital is headquartered in nearby Memphis, but has eight satellite locations across the United States. 

The tournament (originally called the FedEx St. Jude Classic before it was later adjusted to join the World Golf Championships schedule) has been a Memphis staple for years, tracing its roots back to the late-80s. In the time since its inception, the PGA Tour and FedEx have helped to raise more than $38 million for the hospital.

The continued fundraising efforts of thousands of other charitable benefactors like Berger ensures families will never receive a bill from St. Jude for their child’s treatment. Fans who wish to join in the fundraising efforts can do so through St. Jude’s official website here.

James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and utilizes his broadcast experience across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James — and evidently, his golf game — is still defrosting from four years in the snow. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at