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Golf

The Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village

The Memorial Tournament: The Fifth Major in the minds of Golf fans

 

Course Review (Muirfield Village Golf Club – Dublin, OH)

Muirfield Village Golf Course was the brainchild of Jack Nicklaus back in 1976. Nicklaus grew up in the area and there’s even a statue of Jack at the course. The event is one of five on tour with the invitational status. Muirfield Village has difficult greens and large sand traps. It was designed with Augusta in-mind, serving as an inspiration for Jack to construct a legendary course in the heart of America.

 

Charles Schwab Challenge Review & Memorial Preview

Kevin Na was our lone win last week, snapping our three week winning streak. Im, Berger, and Gooch were all relatively close, but the week was a sound loss overall. We’re still in the positive over the last month, but last week was a tricky one. After all, who’d have thought Mito could keep it going, and Scottie Scheffler would relinquish a lead like that?

The field this week is even more loaded than last week’s Charles Schwab Challenge. Part of that is just a result of the season points race, but a bigger part is the reverence and respect the players have for this event. Even though the course really probably isn’t an elite course compared to the rest of the country, it’s the aura of Jack that brings everyone back.

 

Metrics to track this week

The fairways have a lot of bend to them, there are a high number of slopes across the course, a river running through the middle, and the greens feature a lot of contours. Shot-making is critical here, along with Approach and putting. The course isn’t quite as difficult as last week’s so we expect to see the winning score ranging from -8 to -12.

  1. Strokes Gained: Total
  2. Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
  3. Previous Success at Muirfield
  4. Recent Form
  5. Strokes Gained: Putting

 

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

 

Middle of the Fairway – Three Players to finish in the Top 20

 

Ryan Palmer +230

Palmer finished second here back in 2020. He’s on the older side of the field, easily, but the 45 year old has two Top 20 finishes in his last four events. Palmer may not be a Top 75 player anymore, but he’s playing well and has proven he can finish well here before. Stamina is a bit of a question here, as Palmer will be playing in his fourth event in the last four weeks.

Palmer is 36th in GIRP, 40th in Driving Distance, 17th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 37th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 67th in Strokes Gained: Total. Overall, I don’t love the pick for the ceiling, but it’s a decent, conservative pick with slightly favorable odds.

 

Kevin Streelman +350

Kevin Streelman is another old but solid player we’re leaning-on this week. The 43 year old is 115th in the FedEx Cup standings, but has finished inside the Top 20 of this event in five of his last seven attempts. Streelman hasn’t finished inside the Top 20 since the Valero Texas Open back on April 2nd, but we’re optimistic he uses this event to boost his points and keep him on the PGA Tour for 2023.

Streelman is 68th in Sand Save percentage, 8th in Driving Accuracy, 51st in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 87th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 86th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 89th in Strokes Gained: Total. Don’t look too much into his advanced numbers this season. Streelman’s past performances here alone are good reason to throw some cash down on him this week.

 

Brendan Steele +350

Our picks for the card this week are gradually getting younger. 39 year old Brendan Steele (50th in the FedEx Cup) has a similar profile to Kevin Streelman. Both are solid off the tee and both are below average in most Strokes Gained metrics this season. For years here, Steele has cashed (8 out of 10), but two of his three best finishes here have come in the last two years. Steele is also coming-in hot, finishing 9th at the PGA Championship and 7th at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

Steele is 66th in Scoring Average, 46th in GIRP, 42nd in Driving Distance, 8th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 40th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 86th in Strokes Gained: Total.

 

 

Edge of the Green – Two Players to finish in the Top 10

 

Cameron Young +330

Cameron Young is our weekly “Cameron” pick of the week (totally kidding). We did prefer Cameron Young to Cameron Smith this week, but the reasoning is justified. Cameron Young has been absolutely on fire as of late. His last three events are: 3rd at RBC Heritage, 2nd at Wells Fargo, and 3rd at the PGA Championship. Cameron has yet to play this event before, but the 25 year old, 12th ranked player in the FedEx Cup standings is on an absolute scorcher.

Young is 7th in Scoring Average, 5th in Birdie Average, 8th in Driving Distance, 2nd in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 56th in Strokes Gained: Putting, 14th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 10th in Strokes Gained: Total. He is very strong with the advanced numbers and elite on current form. We love the +330 odds this week.

 

Matthew Fitzpatrick +275 and +2500 to Win

Matthew Fitzpatrick is almost as hot as Cameron Young at the moment. At the Wells Fargo Championship, he finished in 2nd. In his next event (The PGA Championship), Matt finished 5th. Fitz took last week off, but his tremendous finishes as of late have catapulted the 27 year old into 27th in the FedEx Cup standings. Matthew has played this event three times and finished 3rd here back in 2020.

Fitzpatrick is 7th in Sand Save percentage, 4th in Scoring Average, 43rd in Driving Accuracy, 13th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 29th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 11th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 10th in Strokes Gained: Putting, 5th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 1st in Strokes Gained: Total. He is on fire, has a history of success here, and is the top overall player in Strokes Gained: Total. For the stat nerds out there looking for a delightful double, take Fitz T-10 and to Win.

 

 

Short Putt – Three Players to finish in the Top 5

 

Will Zalatoris +600

Will Zalatoris has been both a blessing and a curse for us over the past two seasons. We’ve had nice hits but also had some slight misses. Since the breakthrough 2021 season, Zalatoris has improved even more. This season, he has seven Top 7 finishes, including four Top 6 finishes in his last six events. Last season, Will was cut from this event (his only attempt here). That’s really the only reason he’s +600 to finish Top 5.

Will Zalatoris is 23rd in Scoring Average, 36th in Birdie Average, 6th in GIRP, 14th in Driving Distance, 10th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 3rd in Strokes Gained: Approach, 69th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 1st in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 14th in Strokes Gained: Total. Last year was disappointing, but Will has made a spectacle of most big events and we expect him to do the same here.

 

Hideki Matsuyama +550

Hideki Matsuyama has been a sour spot for us, ever since winning the Sony Open in our first article of this season at 18 to 1 odds. We were overjoyed and a little lovestruck after that, and we spent the last few months chasing that joy, only to suffer repeated heartbreaks. Matsuyama has been hit or miss as of late. He finished 3rd at the AT&T Byron Nelson, but followed that with a disappointing 60th place at the PGA Championship.

Matsuyama is coming off a bad performance, but his history here is encouraging. Hideki won this event in 2014 and finished 5th a year later. He’s 19th in Scoring Average, 8th in Birdie Average, 19th in Eagles (holes per), 12th in GIRP, 47th in Driving Distance, 58th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 6th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 54th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 19th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 27th in Strokes Gained: Total.

 

SungJae Im +700

Sungjae barely missed for us last week. He was one stroke from a Top 10 finish but simply couldn’t break a 70 on his final round Sunday. Over the last four events, he’s finished inside the Top 21 each time. Though his ceiling doesn’t appear to be high, I’m absolutely taking a guy like Im who gets close, rather than take a guy with shorter odds who likely won’t be close on Sunday. He’s never really done well here, but his current form is great and the value is absolutely good.

Sungjae is 17th in Sand Save percentage, 14th in Scoring Average, 26th in Birdie Average, 4th in Eagles (hole per), 5th in GIRP, 38th in Driving Accuracy, 11th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 4th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 10th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 12th in Strokes Gained: Total.

 

 

Hole in One – Three Players to Win

 

Rory McIlroy +1100

Rory is simply amazing when he’s locked-in. His odds always reflect his own ceiling, which is why we typically avoid him. In reality, Rory is 14th in the FedEx Cup standings, and now 33 years old. He has only one victory on the season, but that 2nd place finish at The Masters apparently still carries a lot of weight. The thing is, Rory is carrying a lot of momentum right now. He has three Top 8 finishes over the last three events (Masters, Wells Fargo, and PGA Championship).

Rory is 19th in Sand Save percentage, 1st in Scoring Average, 24th in Birdie Average, 5th in Eagles (holes per), 3rd in Driving Distance, 3rd in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 38th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 30th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 34th in Strokes Gained: Putting, 3rd in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 2nd in Strokes Gained: Total. Overall, Rory is on a heater, playing in a bigger event, and two Top 5 finishes there in his career.

 

Jon Rahm +800

Jon Rahm has been fools gold for much of this season. He’s been the favorite for many events this season, but has only managed one victory (Mexico Open at Vidanta). It was one of this season’s weakest fields. However, Rahm has still been pretty solid, even without the putter working particularly well. Also, we should note Jon Rahm won this event last season. He’s not in amazing form, but his resume makes this a decent insurance play.

Rahm is 13th in Scoring Average, 15th in Birdie Average, 1st in GIRP, 26th in Driving Accuracy percentage, 5th in Driving Distance, 1st in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 22nd in Strokes Gained: Approach, 2nd in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 5th in Strokes Gained: Total.

 

Xander Schauffele +1600

Maybe X will finally give it to us this week. We’ve only hit once with Xander, but he’s the kind of enigma who appears to be a strong play this week. Xander is now 28 years old and 17th in the FedEx Cup standings. Xander has finished inside the Top 14 in each of his last three attempts. Over his last three events total, Xander has one victory (Zurich), a 5th place finish at AT&T Byron Nelson, and 13th at the PGA Championship.

Xander is 1st in Sand Save Percentage, 20th in Scoring Average, 9th in Birdie Average, 10th in GIRP, 49th in Driving Accuracy, 31st in Driving Distance, 22nd in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 16th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 37th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 54th in Strokes Gained: Putting, 9th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 9th in Strokes Gained: Total.

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