The Memorial Tournament Predictions
When: May 31 – June 3, 2018
Where: Muirfield Village GC – Dublin, OH
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by Evergreen, Golf Handicapper, Predictem.com
Among the most special moments a golfer or golf fan could experience would be a handshake from the great Jack Nicklaus. How much better would that be if he were congratulating you on winning his tournament? Someone is going to find out how that feels this week as Jacks Memorial Tournament takes center stage on the PGA Tour. Inspired by the Masters, Nicklaus set out to create his own signature event, right in his backyard. The Memorial has been a landmark stop on the PGA Tour for more than a generation now and the best players in the world will be teeing it up at Muirfield Village. The defending champion, Jason Dufner, will have a tough time making it two in a row with Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas all in attendance. Five time Memorial champ Tiger Woods is also in the field as is Justin Rose. Fan favorites like Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler round out what is a very top heavy field. The Memorial has risen to a near-Major level with more exemptions on the line than most Tour stops. That, plus the invite-only status, puts the Memorial on the level of the Tour Championship or any of the WGC events. A win can change a players short and long term career prospects so there is more than enough on the line for everyone this week.
Muirfield Village would be a spectacular piece of golf architecture even without Jacks involvement but having Nicklaus constantly tweak the course over the years just adds to the special nature of the property. The 7,392 yard, par-72 layout is not overly long or difficult but there are subtle challenges on nearly every hole. The most common mistake a golfer can make is likely to be punished the most at Muirfield so players will not be able to simply bail out or play safe in most cases. The challenge of playing the right shot at the right moment adds a level of difficulty that is not tangible but is still very real. Players will need a tight recovery game to save par off missed greens and it just wouldnt be Jacks tournament if every shot in the bag wasnt demanded at some point. It has been unusually hot through the midwest over the last week so the course should be playing hard and fast with the roughs in full growth. Winning totals have been in the 12-to-16 under par range for much of the past decade. That score could very well win again but Muirfield certainly has the chance to play a few strokes harder in 2018 than in recent years.
Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight the best values on the board. We make some picks to win and breakdown a couple of head-to-head matches that are featured widely at various golf betting outlets. Here are our picks to win the 2018 Memorial Tournament.
Henrik Stenson (28 to 1 odds to win)
After you wade through all the guys that are supposed to win, you will see a much better value in Stenson. Just the knee-jerk thoughts that come to mind when you think about his playing ability to should identify him as a contender but his stats bring that gut feeling home. He currently leads the Tour in fairways and greens hit and is the #1 scrambler. He doesnt have the extra gear in terms of length off the tee but Muirfield doesnt demand that and Stenson top-5 overall tee-to-green metrics is a fine predictor of potential success. Henrik has four top-10 finishes in his seven starts this season, including three such finishes in big events like The Palmer, The Masters and the WGC-HSBC to start the year. He has no fear going against the best in the world and seems nearly guaranteed to be a factor.
Emiliano Grillo (45 to 1)
Grillo isnt one of the first names on the ever-expanding young stars list but he should be. The 25-year old from Argentina has risen to 52nd in the OWGR and has missed just one cut in 16 starts this season. He is fresh off his second T3 finish of the year and his week in Fort Worth included two rounds of 64. Grillo is inside the top-20 in both fairways and greens with a top-15 putter. That work on the greens has helped produce the 20th best birdie percentage and the 18th ranked scoring mark. He scrambles well beyond his experience level, showing a veteran presence very early in his career. He will need that and more to wade through the talented field but a win this week will not be a shocker.
Louis Oosthuizen (75 to 1)
It has been a bit of a wild ride for Louis this season and just his last four events speak to that volatility. Those last four feature two missed cuts but also two top-5 finishes. Basically, Oosthuizen has been all-or-nothing. I think this week has the potential to have it all as Louis still sneaks in the top-5 in proximity on approach despite being outside the top-150 in greens hit overall. He is missing a ton of greens by his standards yet manages to be just over 35 feet away from the pin on average. Again, he is either knocking the flag down or missing the green entirely. His scoring average remains a respectable 32nd despite the scuffles and that is buoyed by a 5th best scrambling stat. Limiting the damage is important at Jacks place as is the ability to hit it close. Oosthuizen has both and a plus week with the irons should have him stalking the top of the leaderboard.
Picks to win based on predicted score after all four rounds. Check with your favorite online betting site for single round matches and variety of prop bets.
Patrick Reed v. Bubba Watson (pick to win: Reed)
Before anything else gets in the way, I think you have to stick with Reed based simply on the fact that he has not posted a round above par since March. Reeds numbers are still held back to some degree due to his slow start but he has been hot leading up to and following the win at Augusta. Watson has won twice in 2018 but he it a bit crooked off the tee to be a legit threat at Muirfield on paper. Reed is the better putter of the two and that leads to edges in birdies and scoring with Reed also the better par-saver by percentage. Bubba is one of the best tee-to-green players when he is right but Reed is a bulldog when he is trending upward like he is now.
Rory McIlroy v. Justin Rose (pick to win: Rose)
Rory is 2-1 in this head-to-head in the last three when these two have both played but no one has been hotter than Rose when you consider his wordwide results over the last year and a half or more. Rose was special in winning last week and enters the Memorial inside the top-3 in both birdies and scoring. Rory is not far behind there and not really that far off in fairways and greens either but Rose has been the more consistent overall. The ceiling is probably higher for McIlroy as one of the best pure talents but his misses are often more penalizing than player like Rose. There is really no one that can compete with the version of Rose that showed up last week in Forth Worth. If Rory is off his game at all, Justin could cruise to a win. No one would be surprised in the least if Rory won this week but it seems like Rose is a sure-fire bet to be in the top-10 and that is something you dont ignore when picking a head-to-head winner. Take what seems like the sure thing and make Rory beat what is likely to be a high finish.
Good luck and good golf!