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Johnson and Koepka humbled by hospital visits

Johnson and Koepka humbled by hospital visits

The World Golf Championships makes its debut at TPC Southwind this week and is helping raise funds for a very special cause at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

Dustin Johnson

The St Jude Children's Research Hospital was founded in 1962 and since then has worked tirelessly to prevent and cure children's cancer and other serious conditions.

The World Golf Championships may be making its first trip to Memphis this week but the US PGA Tour event played here has helped support the hospital since 1989.

That has involved some of the world's best visiting the hospital to see the kids over the years, and World Number One Brooks Koepka is honoured to have been able to help.

"St. Jude, what they've done for this community, what they do for kids is unbelievable," he said.

Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson

"We've gone into the hospital, taken the tour of it I believe three years ago, and ever since you walk in there it changes you, it really does. It changes your view on life, it changes your view on how you approach things and how fortunate and lucky we actually are.

"So every time I can get a chance to go in there, it's something that I've enjoyed doing and it's always special for me."

World Number Two Dustin Johnson also has a special relationship with the hospital and the event, having won when it was the St. Jude Classic in 2012 and last season.

"It's great anytime I can get down there," he said. "This tournament raises a lot of money and what St. Jude does, it's unbelievable what they do and how many people they help.

"It's incredible so it's something that definitely means a lot to me."

Brooks Koepka

It could be argued this week's event has two defending champions with Johnson defending his St. Jude Classic title and Justin Thomas having won last season's WGC-Invitational in Akron.

Johnson is second only to Tiger Woods in terms of WGC victories and is feeling confident at a layout he loves.

"It's always nice to come back to a place where you've won, or I've won a couple of times," he said.

"It's always nice to come back here. I've got good vibes here and I like the golf course. I feel like I know the golf course very well, I know what you have to do to succeed here. So it's a place where I enjoy coming back to and I look forward to this week.

"Having a World Golf Championships here, it's big for the town, it's big for FedEx and it's big for this community. We've got a great field this week and I think it will be a lot of fun to be a part of for the first time."