The Memorial Tournament Preview and Picks
Date: June 4-7, 2015
Course: Muirfield Village Golf Club Dublin, OH
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by Evergreen, Professional Golf Handicapper, Predictem.com
Everyone loves a good origin story and this weeks PGA Tour stop has a pretty good one. It was 1966 and Jack Nicklaus liked what the Masters was doing so much that he announced he was going to have his own tournament. It took ten years to design and build a course but, sure enough, in 1976 the Memorial Tournament was born. Now, Jack didnt just put on the tournament because he thought it was a neat idea. He did it to honor the very best things about golf and even 39 years later, the Memorial stands so one of golfs legends can give back to the game and the global golf community.
The PGA has seen that Jacks tournament has a little more prestige than a normal stop by making it an invitation-only event. 120 players will tee it up this week rather than the standard 150+ and the field is comprised of the top-75 from last years money list and filled out with former champs and winners from around the various world tours. Hideki Matsuyama bested the field last year and his relative lack of stardom is an outlier for this event that has regularly seen only the biggest names hoist the trophy. Tiger has won five times here and that tends to skew the numbers a bit but you would have to go back to 2005 and 2006 to find the non-household names of Carl Pettersson and Bart Bryant on the winners list. Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson join Tiger and the rest of the field this week in hopes of securing one of golfs more sought after tournament wins.
Muirfield Village is exactly what you would expect from a Jack Nicklaus design. You need just a quick image search online to see the way that the local terrain is expertly incorporated into the 7,366-yard, par-72 course. There is plenty of sand, water and tree trouble for the players to navigate and Nicklaus re-tools the course nearly every fall to ensure the layout represents the cutting edge of championship golf. Successful players will employ a multi-faceted approach that calls for both aggression and patience. There are spots on this course that can be attacked, but often require a specific approach, and there are other holes that simply require that a player swallow his pride, take a par and move on. A quality short game is a must as well, as Jack has made the green complexes very difficult to pitch and chip on and around. Bottom line is that the scoring pace will be medium-fast but there will also be players that will be lucky to escape not having shot 80.
Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight the players that we think are the best bets to win. We make some picks to win the event outright and breakdown some head to head matches that you can find at any online sportsbook that offers golf betting. We have been devilishly close the last two weeks with two runner-up finishes so lets see if we cant find that extra gear this week. Here are our picks to win the 2015 Memorial Tournament. For the absolute BEST golf betting odds and most wagering options and bet your Memorial Tournament picks at the web’s best golf bookie: 5Dimes.
Rickie Fowler (20 to 1 odds to win)
The young Mr. Fowler moved himself to 7thin the OWGR after his PLAYERS Championship win and he has performed well in the biggest events of the year with solid finishes in both the WGC-CIMB and the Masters. He needs to navigate another strong field this week but he has proven it is not out of the question at Muirfield with a runner-up in 2010 as part of his Memorial record. A varied approach is preferred this week so it bodes well that Rickie does enough across the board to earn the 18thbest all-around rank and his 22ndtotal driving stat proves he can be long when necessary and accurate as well. Fowlers putting is average at best in terms of strokes gained but he has the 7thbest overall putting average so when he is going well, he has an edge on the field and pushes for wins. 20 to 1 is actually very good value and Rickie is probably a few spots lower than he should be considering his good play of late.
Kevin Na (40 to 1)
It really has been nice to see Na resurrect his career after nearly bowing out to what amounted to the mental yips and he has quietly got himself inside the top-25 in the world rankings. He has missed just one cut this year and even that has an asterisk as his came during the third round at Pebble Beach. He has seven straight top-20 or better finishes in stroke play events and was a playoff runner-up here last year as he stormed the course with a Sunday 64. In the more premier events of this year, Na has been T6 at the Palmer, T12 at Augusta and T6 at the PLAYERS so there should be no wondering if he can compete against the strongest fields. He is 25thin birdie average, 16thin scoring and adds a top-20 scrambling game as well. His putter is his best friend on many occasions and all that adds up to a pretty good recipe for Muirfield.
Jason Dufner (50 to 1)
It has been a rough go for Dufner both on and off the course as hes battled injuries and dealt with the end of his marriage but he turned in a nice T8 last week and is built for this course. Jason was T19 here last year and routinely hits the fairway so if nothing else, he will be in prime position to attack these tricky greens. He does need to get off to a good start as hes currently 199thin first-round scoring average. If he was even half as good there, he would have a tremendously better record so far this year and likely have been in position for a win or two along the way. A good measure for success is a scoring average that is significantly better than a raw birdie average and Dufner manages a top-50 scoring mark while his birdies per round are outside the top-100. He makes few mistakes and can really get the most out of his rounds which is helpful on courses with limited scoring opportunities.
Steve Stricker (66 to 1)
Stricker might be deep into what amounts to his farewell tour but dont count out this former top-5 player in the world. He is healthy, he is playing when he wants and for his own motivations and that typically lets a player simply go out and apply his talents. Stricker is the 2011 Memorial champion, hasnt missed a cut here since 2008 and finished T6 just last year. He has only played four times since his back surgery but finished T28 and T27 at the Masters and Crowne Plaza despite considerable rust. That rust is why he is so far down the board but he has the accuracy to navigate the trouble here and his putter has been world-class through his whole career. I can easily see a full bounce back for Steve at a course he has good familiarity with and also demands a deft touch on the greens.
Head to Head Matches
Picks to win based on final score after all four rounds. Check with your favorite online betting site for single round matches and a variety of prop bets.
Matt Kuchar v. Phil Mickelson (pick to win: Kuchar)
First things first is that Matt is the 2013 Memorial champ and Phil has never won here. Lefty is becoming more trouble than he is worth from a betting standpoint as he rises up when he appears to be a bad bet and falters where he should statistically do well. I will give the nod to Kuchar this week as Phil doesnt appear to be hitting on all cylinders and Matt owns solid advantages in fairways hit and scrambling. You cant really mess around outside the fairways here and you need those key up-and-downs as well so this course dictates Matt as the better pick according to those categories. Phil is still among the best when it comes to netting birdies but his bogey numbers are up and this course will each your lunch if you let it. Stick with the more consistent and patient Kuchar.
Chris Kirk v. Bill Haas (pick to win: Haas)
Haas and Kirk are so statistically equal that you would have a hard time calling this match anything other than a 50/50 from a numbers perspective. Haas has consecutive top-10s at Muirfield and everyone from the sportsbooks to the fantasy geeks have him as a sleeper pick this week. The biggest thing to point to for me is Haas edge in greens hit. Kirk makes more birdies than Haas on average but this layout requires good setups and approaches so Kirk wont necessarily be getting the looks he is used to if his ballstriking doesnt improve from his average. Haas is steadier and a better bet this week. Bet your Memorial Touranment predictions for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 50% sign-up bonus at one of the web’s biggest and best sportsbooks: Bovada Sportsbook.
Good luck and good golf!