PGA Picks: The Memorial Tournament Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
For the first time since 1957, the PGA Tour will host a golf tournament on the same exact course as the week prior. Somehow that makes perfect sense in 2020.
Muirfield Village, the house that Jack (Nicklaus) built, will hold The Memorial tournament. And opposed to last week, this is by invitation only. Nicklaus designed this course back in the 1970s and had the foresight to leave space, and it now plays at over 7,400 yards with a par of 72.
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Like most courses Jack has helped put together, the fairways are generously wide, yet have well-placed bunkers that can make for challenging second shots to greens, not having much if any backspin. Greens in regulation from fairways bunkers are about 49 percent on the tour; at this golf course, that drops to 40 percent.
The rough will be three-quarters to an inch longer this week, making it difficult to hit out of. And because there will be no fans, errant drives of seven or more yards off the fairways will be harder to control.
Most assume the wide fairways favor the big bombers, but that is not true. Certainly, long drivers off the tee have won at Dublin, Ohio. Nonetheless, the key at Muirfield is hitting accurate irons into smallish greens that will be noticeably faster this week compared to last (purposely done); and they are among the quickest outside of a major. This is a second shot course that places a premium on hitting greens.
A Loaded Field
There were plenty of big names that decided they wanted a week off or didn’t want to play on the same course that was modestly different the following week. However, all the big boys are here, and that includes Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Daniel Berger, Webb Simpson, Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia, and Tony Finau. And one other notable, seven-time Memorial winner Tiger Woods is back in competitive play for the first time since the COVID-19 struck.
Last week’s winner, Collin Morikawa, returns, along with Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed, Sungjae Im, Viktor Hovland, Gary Woodland, Shane Lowry, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Cantlay, Joaquin Niemann, Marc Leishman, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Hadwin, Jason Day, Matt Kuchar, Kevin Streelman, Brooks Koepka, and Jordan Spieth.
The invites are normally 120, but they were bumped up this year to 133 for these special circumstances.
Patrick Cantlay is the defending champion, and his 19-under par tied Woods (2000) for the second-best lowest score in tourney history (Tom Lehman 20-under in 1994). Cantlay shot a 65 in his final round last week and missed a Top 5 finish thanks to a bogey on 18. He remarked afterward he liked the faster greens on Sunday, which could benefit him this week. If you are thinking about using Cantlay to repeat for golf picks, only Tiger has gone back-to-back (three times) since this even started in 1976.
Golf Odds: The Memorial Favorites
With a field such as this, determining a winner for PGA picks this week is no simple feat. Here are the 12 lowest odds (plus one tie).
Bryson DeChambeau +1000 - Justin Thomas +1000 - Patrick Cantlay +1200 - Rory McIlroy +1200
Dustin Johnson +1600 - Brooks Koepka +2000 - Collin Morikawa +2000 - Jon Rahm +2000
Tiger Woods +2000 - Viktor Hovland +2200 - Webb Simpson +2200 - Hideki Matsuyama +2500
Xander Schauffele +2500
Morikawa and Thomas were in a playoff last week, with the 23-year old Morikawa winning. It would seem Thomas has more motivation after an 18th hole bogie cost him the lead on the 72nd hole.
McIlroy is rested and has five Top 15s in seven visits. Johnson's game is on the rise off a win two weeks ago. Woods loves it here, but it’s a lot to figure he comes out knocking down pins in his first start in five months.
With how Hovland, Simpson and Matsuyama have all been playing, each is a threat.
Nobody is playing better than DeChambeau, and he has to be the favorite. Oddsmakers are giving Rahm more credit than he deserves at this time.
Golf Odds: The Memorial Picks
With this field, trying to nail a long shot feels like a reach. Our three best choices are Schauffele, Thomas and DeChambeau, all who are quite capable of getting the big check.
For Top 10s, McIlroy (+150), Simpson (+225) and Gary Woodland (+350) are all superior ball-strikers which enhances their chances.
As for fades, Rahm continues to be ordinary and Justin Rose has missed consecutive cuts, including here last week.
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