PGA Tour Picks: The Memorial Tournament Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 5/28/2014
The final round of the 2014 Masters was rather drama-free. Thus, I have no problem saying the most exciting day of golf so far this year was last Sunday. In his first tournament as the world's No. 1 player Adam Scott won the Colonial, a tournament he only entered late because he wanted to make sure he played at least one event as the world's top-ranked player. Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy came from seven shots back on Sunday to win the European Tour's top event, the BMW PGA Championship, in the wake of his very public split with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.
Scott sure didn't look like the world No. 1 on his first nine holes of the Colonial as he was 4-over. But on the back-nine Sunday he was a bogey-free 3-under and beat Jason Dufner on the third hole of a playoff (Scott birdied two of those). Scott was the sixth consecutive come-from-behind winner at the Colonial; he and Dufner started the final round tied for 11th. The victory assured Scott remained at No. 1 for this week as he could have lost it to Henrik Stenson. Scott is also the first player to win all four PGA Tour events staged in Texas in his career.
Scott was 16/1 to win, and I didn't think he would play that well, to be honest, what with the pressure of being No. 1 and a bit of rust. Plus, he hadn't played Colonial in a while. I went with Zach Johnson to win as he owns that course, but he was a monumentally disappointing 73rd. I liked Matt Kuchar for yet another Top 10, but he shockingly missed the cut. I think he's just tired as Kuchar plays practically every week. I didn't get much right last week other than expecting Ryan Palmer to have a good tournament, and he finished T5.
Now the Tour heads to Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. This will be the final warm-up tournament for many top players ahead of the U.S. Open, although a few will play next week in Memphis. The Memorial is one of Tiger Woods' favorite non-major tournaments, and he usually dominates the event. But he's still nowhere near ready to return. Usually this is a terrific field, one of the best non-majors on Tour, and it is again with eight of the world's Top 12 and 18 of the Top 25 playing. Scott, McIlroy and defending champion Kuchar lead that group. Last year, Kuchar beat out Kevin Chappell by two shots. Muirfield Village's overall scoring average of 73.256 made it the second hardest non-major course on Tour (but hardest par 72). Kuchar and Chappell were the only players with all four rounds under par.
Jason Day is also expecting to play. He hasn't since the Masters and has been battling a thumb injury since February. Day now lives nearby as his wife his from the area. This really starts Phil Mickelson's laser-like focus to win the U.S. Open. He also is expected to play next week. The U.S. Open has been his stated main goal all year.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: The Memorial Tournament Favorites
McIlroy is the 8/1 favorite at Bovada . Last week's win was his eighth Top-10 finish in nine stroke-play events in 2014 across the world, and he's putting out of his mind these days. I just can't pick him to win back-to-back weeks, especially with all the travel. He was T58 here last year after an opening 78.
Scott is the 10/1 second-favorite , and because he won last week I don't expect a ton from him, either. The Aussie was 13th at the Memorial last year and had back-to-back top-5 finishes at Muirfield Village in 2006 and 2007.
Kuchar (14/1), Justin Rose (16/1) and Dustin Johnson (22/1) round out the favorites. Kuchar's win in 2013 was his fifth straight Top-10 at Memorial, and perhaps getting last weekend off will be a blessing in disguise. Rose's first PGA Tour win was at the Memorial in 2010. He was T8 last year. DJ missed the cut in 2013 but was fourth at the Memorial in 2011.
PGA Tour Picks: The Memorial Tournament Predictions
On the Top-10 props, take Kuchar at +125, Mickelson at +200 as I think he's focused now, Rose at +135 and McIlroy at -130. Do take Scott as the top Aussie at 2/3 because Day (9/2) is going to be rusty and doesn't have a good track record at Muirfield. I like Luke Donald at +175 over Rose (-110) as the top Englishman, but McIlroy (11/8) as the top European. Go with Ernie Els, who knows this course as well as anyone, at 13/2 as the top South African.
Head-to-head, take Donald (-115) over Johnson (-115), Mickelson (-115) over Jordan Spieth (-115), Bubba Watson (-115) over Day (-115), Charl Schwartzel (-115) over Chris Kirk (-115) and Spieth (-165) over Day (+125). Bovada also is offering a few tournament trios. I like Mickelson as the +180 long shot against Johnson (+160) and Spieth (+175). Also like Jim Furyk at +200 against Rose (+135) and Donald (+200).
Bo Van Pelt is interesting at 66/1 to win. In his past four starts in the event, he hasn't been worse than 21st and has a third-place finish. However, I'm
going with Furyk at 25/1. He has six Top-10s in his career at this tournament, was runner-up in 2009 and winner in 2002. He didn't play great last week but
had back-to-back second-place finishes before that. Furyk is overdue.
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