The PGA Tour in the coming two weeks attempts back to back tournament on the famously Jack Nicklaus designed Muirfield Village Golf Club.
Workday Charity Open
July 9-12, Muirfield Village Golf Club – Dublin, Ohio
Par 72, 7456 yards
The Workday Charity Open is a replacement on the PGA Tour schedule for the John Deere Classic while the long-standing Memorial Tournament presented by Jack Nicklaus will follow the week after. How will the course cope with two weeks of continuous-play I hear you ask? A memo has already been sent to PGA Tour players saying the Workday Open will feature shorter rough and slower speed greens that will use newer pin positions. They will also utilize a variety of tee boxes (total yardage increase by 64 yards) with the intention of protecting the golf course for the following week.
I think from that information the Workday Charity Open, $6,2 million purse will play easier than the better known Memorial Tournament, $9.3 million purse. Still, though an ability to handle the heavily contoured greens will be paramount but that may depend on how severe the pin positions are set. Precision iron play has always been a premium requirement at Muirfield Golf Village and accuracy rather than distance from the tee. I cannot imagine it will play harder than the Memorial Tournament, the week after, and therefore a score around twenty under par will be possibly needed.
Is Defending Champion Patrick Cantlay a Strong Look This Week?
Yes, I believe he is a strong look but his price is poor in comparison to last year’s +2300. Patrick Cantlay opted to skip the restart events in Colonial and Hilton Head so his resumption came at River Highlands TPC where he looked straight back into the consistent groove that has accounted for a phenomenal top 10 strike rate on the PGA Tour of 33%. His win at Muirfield Golf Village came as no surprise last year having finished 4th the preceding year. No doubt he looks a strong favorite this week and if he doesn’t win it would be a surprise not to see him in the higher echelons of the leaderboard.
One guy who will be pleased to see back to back tournaments at Muirfield Golf Village is Kevin Streelman who two weeks ago followed home Dustin Johnson for the runners up spot at the Travelers Championship. He was a player I expected to start the PGA Tour resumption strongly having kept himself sharp in minor events in Arizona. That didn’t materialize at first when he missed the cuts at the Charles Schwab Challenge and Heritage Classic which are too events suited to his game.
It is entirely plausible that two missed cuts in those events can be ignored easier because of the unusual strength in depth of the fields at both and he probably took the opportunity to use those extra days to hone the rustiness out of his game. This was prevalent at the Travelers Championship where he admitted to putting superbly and this being the core ingredient of his good week’s work. He was a previous champion at River Highlands as well as a course specialist, and he is also a course specialist here at Dublin, Ohio.
The one difference is he has never won here but that is understandable when you know this tournament has always attracted the sports very best, Tiger Woods is a five-time champion. I wonder if this week’s tournament will suit him more than normal if the course is set up a little easier, making it more of a putting contest that would play into Streelman’s strengths. I advise a small bet on the win market and he is our Banker bet this week in the Top 20 market.
PGA Golf Banker:
- Kevin Streelman – Top 20 @ +300
PGA Golf Picks and Predictions
Byeong Hun An was runner up here in 2018 and was placed in the top 25 for the last four years so no doubt Muirfield Golf Village fits his eye. He is still awaiting his first win on the PGA Tour despite winning the European Tour flagship tournament; the BMW PGA Championship in 2015. That rubber stamps his class and ability to perform at the highest level and just before the Covid-19 break he was in fine form with strong top 10 efforts at a difficult Honda Classic and Phoenix Open. He has started slowly since the restart but looked to be trending in the right direction at the Travelers Championship in his last event. His putting has been an issue at times so if the greens play slightly easier and slower this week it is a small factor in the Korean’s favor.
Last week’s off the pace effort from Canadian Adam Hadwin drew my attention especially when noticing that in 2016 at Muirfield Golf Village he held every chance of winning before a final round of 74 scuppered his chance. He went on to win on the PGA Tour in 2017 at the Valspar Championship and that experience of 2016 could help him well this week. His baby daughter Maddox was born in early January and that has been a form of inspiration for many golfers over the years. Hadwin could be another this week who wins due to the Nappy Factor theory in golf.
PGA Golf Picks and Predictions:
- Kevin Streelman – Win @ +6600
- Byeong Hun An – Win @ +6600
- Adam Hadwin – Win @ +5000
- Byeong Hun An – Top 20 @ +250
PGA Golf Longshots
If we are to have a Longshot winner perhaps it will be Jason Dufner who we have been following since before the Covid-19 break. He played solid rather than spectacular at Colonial and Heritage but he has new equipment this season and that experience can only help. He is a previous winner here in 2017 and was 7th last season proving he likes playing golf at this Jack Nicklaus designed course. He is my idea of a guy who could close out a victory if he gets in contention.
Lanto Griffin won his maiden PGA Tour title at the Houston Open in the fall and it is difficult not to notice a progression in his game the last two weeks. Despite possibly not being ideally suited by the small greens in Detroit last week he putted exceptionally in round 3 eventually finishing just outside the Top 20. This week he makes his course debut and the test with bigger greens should suit Griffin slightly better. He is a proven winner at all levels when trending into form and worthy of longshot selection in Ohio.
PGA Golf Longshot:
- Jason Dufner – Win @ +17500
- Lanto Griffin – Win @ +10000
- Lanto Griffin – Top 20 @ +500