For this week the PGA Tour stays in the state of Ohio, remaining at Muirfield Village for an established event on the circuit, the Memorial Tournament.
It would usually attract a decent field despite recent circumstances, but this year’s renewal is stronger than ever with a host of big names teeing it up in the mid-West.
Here’s the Golf Insider’s preview of the action…
The Memorial Tournament
Somewhat like tournaments such as 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. That applies especially this year, as post-lockdown there’s a lot of players looking for form, prize money and ranking points heading into the main part of the re-scheduled season, which includes multiple majors.
To use the over-worn phrase, the Memorial Tournament is played on “the course that Jack built”. It’s Muirfield Village, an impressive 7,392-yard, par 72 layout located in Dublin on the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio. Built in 1974, it’s set in lush parkland with relatively wide fairways. Water is also present on eleven 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. So the golfers can expect no easy ride this week!
268: Tom Lehman (1994)
61: John Huston (1996)
The Memorial Tournament is an invitational event, so expect around 130 players to go to post. Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas are the $11 equal outright favourites with TopSport.
Bring a coat! There’s a decent chance of rain on all four days (around 50%), although most is expected to fall in the morning. Temperatures though remain in the low 90s (F), wind speeds peaking at around 12mph.
Outright Value Bets from The Golf Insider
Tiger Woods – currently $21 with TopSport
Woods has an incredible record at many courses, and Muirfield Village is no exception. The GOAT has won here five times which included three victories in a row between 1999 and 2001. Woods loves this place, and despite not having played a PGA Tour event since the re-start looks too enticing at the price to leave out. He played in the charity event with Mickelson, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in May, and has been playing plenty of practice rounds in the build-up to this event.
Woods looks in great shape physically and he seems in a good place mentally. Since his comeback from surgery his numbers are class. He’s won three times from his last 30 starts, which includes the Tour Championship and the US Masters last year. He’s also placed a further seven times, making the price this week look huge despite the strong field. Obviously we are taking a bit of a gamble as he may be rusty with the lack of competitive rounds under his belt, but he looks more and more like the Tiger of old, and I’m happy to take a gamble on him at the biggest price I’ve seen on him for a good 12 months.
Chez Reavie – currently $151 with TopSport
Reavie’s form is trending nicely with form figures of 74-46-17. He finished 46th at the Travelers, where he was defending his title. But he played much better than the 46th place suggests. He played solid enough from tee-to-green, but was pretty hopeless on the greens, and playing in the marquee groups on Thursday and Friday did little to help his cause. Last week at the Workday he improved again by finishing 17th, and ranking 13th in Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green. His putter warmed up which resulted in him gaining strokes on the green for the first time since the re-start. Reavie is a quality operator who’s game suits tough tracks like Muirfield Village. The warm-up last week will be a great benefit for the likes of Reavie. I expect him to play well again at a huge price and give us a run for our money.