Yes, I'm aware that when alerting other golfers to a potentially wayward shot that it's spelled fore. But I'm saying "Four!" because I hit on my fourth winner of the 2015-16 golf season on Sunday with Jordan Spieth taking home the Dean & DeLuca Invitational at Colonial in Fort Worth, Spieth's first professional win in his home state.
With the Dean & DeLuca being the final event in Texas this year, you know he wanted to end that drought badly. Spieth birdied the final three holes on Sunday -- none more unlikely than his chip in on No. 17 -- to shoot a final-round 65 and finish at 17-under 263, three shots ahead of second-place Harris English. Spieth had a ridiculous 24 putts on Sunday, including only nine on the back-nine. It was the first time a Texas-born player won at Colonial since Ben Crenshaw in 1990.
I think that Masters meltdown is behind Spieth now. It was the 22-year-old's eighth career win. Not even Tiger Woods had that many by his 23rd birthday; he had seven. Spieth might have a couple more by his 23rd, which is on July 27. The only player with more wins that young was Horton Smith with 14 from 1928-30. To be fair, it took Spieth 86 events to get win No. 8 and Tiger had 23 in his first 86 tournaments. Spieth has won six of the past seven times he has held the 54-hole lead. This year's Masters was the lone exception. Spieth had gone nine events without a win. His last was the Hyundai in Hawaii to open the season.
Spieth was the Bovada +650 favorite entering the tournament, so it's not like I exactly went out on a limb. I also got him at -165 for a Top 10. I liked Matt Kuchar (+110) and Zach Johnson (+200) for a Top 10. Kuchar was T6 and Johnson T17. Head-to-head, my winners were Spieth (-160) over Adam Scott (+125), Johnson (-140) over Kevin Chappell (+110), Kuchar (-140) over Charley Hoffman (+110), Patrick Reed (-130) over Louis Oosthuizen (even), and Jimmy Walker (-115) over Colt Knost (-115). So a pretty fine week indeed.
This week, the Tour heads to Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. I really thought Tiger Woods might return this week as he has won this event five times, likes the course and reveres Nicklaus. But he's still not healthy enough to play and now I highly, highly doubt he will go in the U.S. Open in two weeks. ESPN analyst Andy North did say on Friday that Woods gave strong consideration to competing in the Memorial but eventually decided against it. Woods has entered the U.S. Open and did so with the British Open last week, but that's just procedural. I'd be even more shocked if he played in the British as all that travel can't be good for his back.
Jason Day, Spieth and Rory McIlroy, the world's top 3 in that order, are all playing. And they all won their most recent tournament. That's pretty cool. I'm a bit surprised Spieth is playing, to be honest. He was very emotional on Sunday and I thought he could pull out. If Nicklaus wasn't the host, he probably would have. For many guys, this will be their final tuneup for the U.S. Open. Day hasn't played since winning the Players Championship a few weeks ago. He now has a home in the Dublin area as his wife is from about an hour north of there.
Perhaps the most unlikely Memorial winner ever was last year's champion, Sweden's David Lingmerth. He and Justin Rose finished regulation tied at 15 under -- Rose had to get up-and-down from 55 yards on the 72nd hole to force the playoff. Lingmerth would win on the third extra hole for his first PGA Tour victory. Rose lost a three-shot lead at the start of the final round and closed with a 72. Lingmerth is an +8000 long shot to repeat as he has only one Top 10 in 16 events this season. The only player to repeat here was Tiger winning three in a row from 1999-2001.
Golf Odds: Memorial Tournament Favorites
Day and Spieth are both +650 to win at Bovada. Day has a terrible track record in the event. His best finish was 27th in 2009 and he missed the cut last year. Spieth was third here last year, his best result at the event. I am not high on him this week, as I think he's spent.
McIlroy is +750. It's his first PGA Tour event since the Players, but McIlroy won the tournament he hosts, the Irish Open on the European Tour, on May 22. He eagled the final hole and beat out Russell Knox and Bradley Dredge by three. McIlroy had failed to make the Irish Open cut since 2012 and his previous best was seventh place in 2008. In a very classy move, McIlroy donated his full $750,000 winnings to charity.
Hideki Matsuyama (+1800) and Dustin Johnson (+2000) round out the favorites. Matsuyama won here in 2014, beating Kevin Na in a playoff. Johnson has a best result of fourth here in 2011. He was T13 last year.
PGA Tour Picks: Memorial Tournament Expert Betting Predictions
I hate to doubt Day because I did at the Players too, where he had a bad track record, but I don't like either him or Spieth for a Top 10. Steer clear of Rickie Fowler (+175) as well as he has missed the cut here the past two years. I do like McIlroy (-150), Matsuyama (+160) and Kuchar (+160), who won here in 2013 and was second in 2011.
Head-to-head, go with McIlroy (-105) over Day (-125), Matsuyama (+150) over Spieth (-190), Johnson (-110) over Fowler (-120), Kuchar (-120) over Bubba Watson (-110), and Patrick Reed (-130) over Phil Mickelson (even). Lean McIlroy (-110) as top European, Ernie Els (+500) as top South African and Matsuyama (-150) as top Asian.
Matsuyama is my pick to win his second time here. He followed up that 2014 victory with a T5 last year. Matsuyama comes off a T7 at the Players.
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