The PGA Tour starts its two-week residency in the state of Ohio. This week’s Workday Charity Open and next week’s Memorial are both being held at the prestigious Muirfield Village facility.
A world-renowned venue, and one stamped with the seal of one of the game’s true greats, Jack Nicklaus.
Here’s the Golf Insider’s preview of the action in the “Buckeye State”…
Workday Charity Open
With the PGA Tour having to reschedule a number of events due to COVID-19, the John Deere Classic has been omitted from the 2019-20 calendar. It will however return during the 2020-21 rotation. So in its place we have the Workday Charity Open. This is a brand new event in what is a unprecedented time for world sport, let alone US golf. As such there’s no previous form to go on other than the fact that it’s being held at Muirfield Village, which boasts a huge amount of course form. We also see a lot of familiar faces line up in a strong field for what is technically a mid-season non-major.
To use the over-worn phrase, the Workday Charity Open 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!
61: John Huston (1996)
A standard PGA Tour line-up in Ohio this week with 150+ players on show. Justin Thomas is the $11 outright favourite with TopSport.
There’s every chance of thunderstorms as the event progresses, with Friday (80%) looking the worst of the four days. The temperatures will remain high throughout, hitting the high 90s (F), and this will also affect the humidity. Wind speeds will at least be low, generally peaking at under 10mph.
Outright Value Bets from The Golf Insider
Justin Rose – currently $20 with TopSport
Since the restart Rose has looked more like his old self. It’s no coincidence that this re-discovery of form has coincided with him ditching the Honma clubs and going back to Taylor Made. Rose was third at the Charles Schwab Challenge and then finished 14th a week later at Harbour Town. It could have been much better if his putter had co-operated, as he ranked fourth in the field from tee-to-green. As we know, Rose missed the cut at the Travelers Championship. But like many of the big names he took last week off and he looks primed to go well at a venue he loves – and that probably owes him a win.
Rose has a victory and six other Top 10s to his name at Muirfield Village. And he probably should have had two victories here (after a poor Sunday in 2015, Rose went on to lose in a play-off to David Lingmerth). His form here is superb and this course is set up to reward tee-to-green supremacy. This is where Rose usually thrives. Rose is starting to find his long game again and the putter, which was once a weakness, is becoming another of his strengths. There are not many negatives for Rose this week and at around 20/1 he looks a good each-way bet.
Marc Leishman – currently $34 with TopSport
Since the restart Leishman’s form has been very indifferent, with a missed cut and a 58th place finish last time out at the Travelers Championship. However, what stands out to me is that despite his poor finishes his ball-striking numbers are very impressive. He gained four strokes on the field over two rounds with his approach play at the Charles Schwab Challenge, despite missing the cut. Then at the Travelers he gained the same over four days ranking 18th in the field. It’s the usually reliable short game that has been hindering the big Aussie. But I fancy that could change at a venue he’s shown a real liking for over the last few years.
Leishman hasn’t missed a cut here since 2010, and has four Top 15 finishes here in the last five years – which includes two Top 5s. Leishman is a serial winner on the PGA Tour, and his price this week looks generous if you look closely at his numbers and add in his recent course form.