The PGA Tour moves to Ohio in the mid-West state for a long-established event, the Memorial Tournament.
Even despite recent circumstances this tournament would attract a good field, but this year’s renewal is stronger than most with a host of big names teeing-it up in Columbus.
The Memorial Tournament
Like other eponymous golf tournaments – the Arnold Palmer Invitational or the Byron Nelson Classic – this is effectively the “Jack Nicklaus Open”, it simply doesn’t have the name of the man himself in the title. It was first played in 1976, when contrary to the script Nicklaus didn’t win (he did the next year). Because of its connection to the record Major-winning player it always draws a strong field. And that’s very much the case this week as defending champion Jon Rahm lines up along with a number of Major winners (Spieth, McIlroy, DeChambeau, Thomas, Morikawa, Matsuyama, Reed – the list goes on!).
The Memorial Tournament: The Course
To use the over-worn phrase, the tournament is played on “the course that Jack built”. It’s Muirfield Village, an impressive 7,392 yard layout (par 72) located in Dublin on the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio. Built in 1974 it’s set in lush parkland, with relatively wide fairways but penal rough for those who stray off the tee. Water is also present on 11 holes around the course. A famous venue, it has staged the Ryder Cup, Solheim Cup and Presidents Cup and was originally designed by Nicklaus himself… meaning the golfers can expect no easy ride this week!
268, Tom Lehman (1994)
61, John Huston (1996)
The Memorial Tournament: Past Winners
2020: Jon Rahm
2019: Patrick Cantlay
2018: Bryson DeChambeau
2017: Jason Dufner
2016: William McGirt
The Memorial Tournament: The Field
This week’s tournament is an invitational event, so expect around 130 players to go to post. Jon Rahm is the $14 favourite with TopSport.
The Memorial Tournament: The Weather
Thursday has thunderstorms in the forecast and an 80% chance of rain. But thereafter, the next three days are set-fair, improving by the day. Temperatures will rise into the 80s, with light cloud cover and gentle winds, making for perfect playing conditions.
The Memorial: Value Bets
These are two value bets from the Golf Insider. Members receive all of his best bets for all markets – win and each-way, Top 10, Top 20, Round 1 Leader and 3-Ball groups. He covers every tournament on the PGA and European Tours.
Louis Oosthuizen (currently $44 with TopSport)
Oosthuizen showed us once again that he’s the man for the big occasions when he finished 2nd at the USPGA Championship a fortnight ago. His Kiawah Island result made it no less than five runner-up finishes at Majors – which is incredibly impressive and somewhat unfortunate. He definitely knows how to deliver at the biggest events, and he looks a solid bet this week to continue where he left off in South Carolina. Oosthuizen has finished 8th and 2nd on his last two starts, and his long game is getting sharper by the week. He’s gained 14 strokes from tee-to-green over those two events, and nearly 12 of those have just been down to his approach play, which again is the key component this week. His putter now seems to be a strength of his rather than a weakness, and if he continues to pepper the flags it can’t be long until he’s in the winners circle again. His record at this event isn’t great, but on current form he looks big each-way value.
Charley Hoffman (currently $44 with TopSport)
Hoffman continues to knock on the door for a second PGA Tour title, and has played some superb golf over the last four months. He’s registered four Top 10s and eight Top 20s since Pebble Beach in February, and has made all 10 cuts. His approach play has almost been unrivalled during this time, having ranked in the Top 10 for Strokes Gained: Approach on seven of those 10 occasions. His Muirfield Village form is solid, if unspectacular, but he did record his best finish last year when he came 7th at the Workday Charity Open. He finished 3rd last week in Texas, thanks to more supreme tee-to-green play, and he looks set to have another great week on a well-suited venue. He ranks 2nd on my sheet this week so he’s a auto-play at just about any price, but the 40/1+ on offer looks wide of the mark IMO. He ticks all the boxes this week and looks great each-way value.
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