The Memorial Tournament
When: June 3rd-6th, 2010
Where: Muirfield Village GC Dublin, OH
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
byEvergreen of Predictem.com
After three weeks in Texas, its time the PGA hit the road and what better place to land than at Jacks place for the Memorial. Jack Nicklaus certainly has the name power alone to draw star studded fields, but his Muirfield Village design is one of the premier courses on Tour to boot. Most everyone is playing this week, including defending champion Tiger Woods, who is returning from a short absence due to an inflamed neck joint. The neck is reportedly less than 100% and Woods will also have to fend off a Major-like field and course to win what would be his fifth Memorial title. Phil Mickelson is also among those in attendance as he takes another crack at passing Tiger in the World rankings, earning the top spot should he win.
Muirfield Village will be a stern test across the board for the players as the 7,265 yard, par 72 layout played as the 6th most difficult in the 2009 rotation. The pros will have to deal with a bit of everything this week as the course features 70+ bunkers, 13 water hazards and some of the quickest greens on Tour. Still, those who can find the fairways and control their approaches can shoot good scores here, just dont expect too many in the low 60s. Winning totals have ranged from 8 to 17-under in recent years with weather becoming a factor should the conditions be hot and dry which will make the course play very fast and make the greens very difficult to hold. Players must take advantage of numbers five and seven as the two front nine par-5s are the easiest holes on the entire course. The finishing two holes are exceptionally difficult; accounting for more than 900 yards of par-4s just waiting to ruin solid rounds.
Each week, we take a look at the online golf sportsbooks and highlight a few players that we think will contend for the win. Well make a short, middle and long odds pick and breakdown a few head to head matches as well.
Here are our picks for the 2010 Memorial Tournament.
Short Favorite: Phil Mickelson (10 to 1 odds to win)
The 2010 Masters champion returned from a lengthy rest and promptly missed the cut at the Crowne Plaza Invitational but that does stand as his only trunk slam of the season to date so well just chalk that up to rust. Mickelson is the second favorite on nearly every board that contains Tiger this week and does have some success at this event with a T20 and T4 in his last three Muirfield starts. Lefty has plenty of distance to handle the course, but will need to improve on his 185th rank in fairways hit to seriously contend. Even with that sub-par driving accuracy, Phil has been able to notch a 6th best birdie and scoring average, mostly due to stellar play on the par-5s where he ranks 1st in birdie or better percentage. Mickelson is still one of the best around the greens and that is always handy, especially on a Nicklaus design.
Middle of the Road: K.J. Choi (25 to 1 odds to win)
The 2007 winner of this event has not missed a cut in 12 starts this year, notching seven finishes in the top-25 including a runner-up at the Transitions as his best overall. Choi has done well at the Memorial outside of 2007 with top-15s in 2005 and 2009 and brings one of the better overall stat sheets into this week. K.J. is ranked 3rd in the all around on the strength of top-30 ranks in putting, total driving, birdie average and ballstriking. Add to that top-10 ranks in scrambling and greens hit and you have as likely a candidate to win as any.
Longshot: Bo Van Pelt (40 to 1 odds to win)
When picking a longshot, you always like to have at least one key stat to justify your pick. This week, you can take your pick from several. Van Pelt comes into the week as the top ballstriker on Tour and also ranks first in total birdies. Add in top-5 marks in total driving, greens hit and birdie average and you have the 10th ranked all around player who is also riding a streak that has produced four top-10s in five starts. Bo also has a little to fall back on at Muirfield with a T3 in the 2005 Memorial, so the stars look to be lining up for this underdog.
Head to Head Matches (our pick) *listed matches are for entire event. Check with your offshore bookmaker for single round matches and prop bets.
Ernie Els (-115) v. Jim Furyk (-115) (Els)
The 2002 and 2004 Memorial champs go head to head in this one with both having player of the year type seasons. Els has the edge in driving distance with Furyk hitting more fairways but Ernie still owns GIR%, birdie and scoring averages despite not always finding the middle. A good week with the driver and the Big Easy might be looking for a heads up win against everyone.
Rory McIlroy (-115) v. Geoff Ogilvy (-115) (McIlroy)
Young McIlroy proved he can finish by carding a Sunday 62 to win at Quail Hollow and the sky seems the limit for this huge talent. Ogilvy is solid on any track, but has been quiet since the early stages of the season. Geoff owns the stat advantage almost across the board here, but that is mostly due to McIlroy playing in limited events, and playing very tough courses when he does tee it up in the U.S.