As players begin to gear up for The U.S. Open at Erin Hills in two weeks, they get a tremendous preparation tournament here this week in The Memorial. Hosted by The Golden Bear himself at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio.
One of the best non-major events each year on The PGA Tour schedule is The Memorial and it is the brainchild of non-other than this week’s tournament host, Mr. Jack Nicklaus.
Nicklaus built this week’s site, Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio and first held The Memorial Tournament back in 1976. Some of golf’s greatest stars have gone on to win here, including Tiger Woods, a record five times. Perhaps Jack’s favorite tournament of all is The Masters and when he built Muirfield Village, he did so with Augusta National in mind. The greens are lightning quick and undulated like Augusta. The fairways are relatively large and the greens are a bit smaller. Different from The Masters, there is a healthy cut of rough off of the fairways. Water comes into play often on the course like Augusta and the eleventh hole, a par 3, very much resembles the iconic par 3 12th hole at The Masters.
Like The Masters, driving the ball a long way is a plus but in recent years, Driving Accuracy has also become a key stat for the tournament winners. True to Nicklaus design, Muirfield Village is a second shot golf course, so placing your drive in the proper spot in the fairway, sets up the rest of the hole for scoring opportunities. Scrambling will be a factor with the smaller than standard greens and with the great deal of undulation, getting the ball close to the hole on approach shots will make a big difference in one’s putting success. With just two weeks remaining until The U.S. Open, The Memorial will provide a great test in getting the field ready for the season’s second Major Championship.
Dustin Johnson (+7.25 Pinnacle) Johnson missed The Masters this year but now he gets another shot at a similar golf course where he has finished 3rd and 13th the last two years. Coming off of a 12th and 13th in his last two starts, almost a slip for Johnson who hasn’t missed a Top 10 since late January.
Jordan Spieth (+1369 Bookmaker) In four attempts at The Memorial, Spieth has a Top 20 and a 3rd place finish in 2015. His form could be returning in time for The U.S. Open after taking 2nd last week at Colonial.
Jon Rahm (+12.47 Pinnacle) Rahm performed very well as a Masters rookie back in April. This could be another version of that success we witnessed at Augusta. Rahm has two Top 5’s this month including a 2nd last week in Texas.The Contenders
Jason Day (+14.79 Pinnacle) Things seem to be turning around for the former World Number One. He took 22nd at The Masters, started The PLAYERS off excellent, and just lost in a playoff at The Byron Nelson two weeks ago. He has never cracked the Top 25 at The Memorial, his home course.
Hideki Matsuyama (+2031 Bookmaker) Matsuyama won here in 2014 and returned to take 5th in 2015. He missed the cut last year and is without a Top 10 finish this season since his red-hot run ended in Phoenix back in February.
Adam Scott (+24.91 Pinnacle) The former Masters Champion is another that seems to be rounding into form with a 9th at The Masters and a 6th at The PLAYERS. He has not played here in two seasons but took 4th in 2014.
The Long Shots
Emiliano Grillo (+6000 5Dimes) A very accurate driver of the golf ball who also hits it close to the hole, Grillo hasn’t missed a cut since mid January. This may not be the perfect course for him but as well as he’s going, the price is very nice.. and he did take 11th in his debut here last year.
Tony Finau (+42.04 Pinnacle) The long bomber from Utah took 11th here last year and 8th the year before that in his first appearance. He hits a ton of greens in regulation but will need to shore up the short game to advance past a Top 10 finish.
Scott Piercy (+9000 5Dimes) Piercy is another bomber who hits a lot of greens and also gets it close to the hole. After missing three straight cuts beginning with The Masters, he’s finished 20th and 7th the last two weeks.
Matt Kuchar (+34.51 Pinnacle) Kooch won here in 2013, has three additional Top 5 finishes, two other Top 10’s, and a Top 15 in his career at The Memorial. Kuchar was 4th at The Masters this year and has gone 9th and 12th the last two weeks in Texas. He does everything very well. Not the longest off of the tee but is very accurate and has a top notch short game. His history both here and at The Masters shows how this layout suits his eye. It will be all smiles on Sunday if Jack is to greet Matt Kuchar as the tournament winner when he comes off of the 18th green.Betting On Golf? Join The Conversation With Other Bettors in SBR's Forum