PGA Tour Picks: The Memorial Tournament Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
Aaron Wise won on the PGA Tour in Dallas and then Justin Rose in Fort Worth on Sunday. You noticing a bit of a name trend there?
Rose shot a final-round 64 at Colonial on Sunday to finish at 20 under and beat out Brooks Koepka by three for Rose's first career win at the Fort Worth Invitational. He could have tied the 2010 tournament record of 259 but bogeyed the 72nd hole. It was the ninth career PGA Tour victory for Rose and second this year - he also took the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in Shanghai back at the start of the season (Koepka was runner-up in that too). He is the fifth player with multiple wins this season.
What's somewhat ironic about Sunday's victory was that Rose didn't even want to play the Fort Worth Invitational - he wanted to play the flagship event on the European Tour, the BMW PGA Championship -- but essentially had to per PGA Tour rules in order to keep his card. Perhaps the most interesting golfer at Colonial, though, was Kevin Na. He blistered the course with a 62 in Round 1 and tied the course record with a 61 in the fourth round. It's just that he struggled in the middle rounds at 73-70 and finished fourth at 14 under.
My winning choice was Matt Kuchar, but he finished T32 largely due to a second-round 73. I may have been a week premature on Kuchar, as I'll explain shortly. Jordan Spieth was the +900 favorite but again disappointed in his hometown area with a T32.
Before I get to this week's Memorial Tournament, there was an interesting report last week from Reuters about the potential of a "World Golf Series." That would consist of 15-20 tournaments worldwide each with a whopping purse of $20 million thanks to several big-name sponsors. The British-based World Golf Group has proposed the series. I'm not sure this will get off the ground only because both the PGA and European Tours have pretty strict rules for keeping your card. In the 1990s, Greg Norman proposed a similar tour, and the PGA Tour said it would remove memberships of any players who signed up for it.
There are probably five tiers of events on the PGA Tour currently. You have Tier 1, which are the four majors. Then Tier 2, the World Golf Championship events. Then Tier 3 is the Players Championship, Tour Championship, FedEx Cup playoff. Tier 4 is made up of five invitationals, which limit the field to 120 and offer a bigger purse and more perks for a win. The Memorial Tournament is one of those (Tier 5 is everything else).
The Memorial always gets a strong field because: 1) It's hosted by Jack Nicklaus; 2) It's played at the world-renowned Muirfield Village Golf Club outside Columbus, Ohio (where Nicklaus was born and raised and starred at Ohio State; the course also has hosted the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup); and 3) Many guys use it as the final warmup for the U.S. Open. Eight of the world's Top 10 are set to play this week as well as five-time champion Tiger Woods for the first time since 2015. That year he shot a third-round 85, still his worst-ever score as a pro.
Muirfield Village is tough but fair, so you will surely need to score double-digits under par to win. It's a par 72 measuring almost 7,400 yards. You won't often see a player win a tournament with a third-round 77, but Jason Dufner did in 2017. He was four back entering Sunday but shot a 68 to finish at 13-under 275, three shots ahead of Rickie Fowler and Anirban Lahiri. No player has repeated here since Tiger won his third straight in 2001.
Golf Odds: Memorial Tournament Favorites
Dustin Johnson and Jason Day are both +1200. DJ was 17th at the Players Championship last time out and lost his world No. 1 ranking. He missed the cut here last year but was third in 2016. Day is pseudo-local now as his wife is from the area. The course doesn't seem to suit him well, though, with nary a Top 10 in his career at Muirfield.
Rose is +1400 to be the first player to win back-to-back this season. Thomas, who tees it up as the world No. 1 for the first time, is also +1400 as is Rory McIlroy. Jordan Spieth is +1600 and Tiger +2000. Rose won here in 2010 and was second in both 2015 and 2008. Thomas missed the cut here in 2015-16 but was fourth last year. McIlroy finished second at the BMW PGA Championship last week and was fourth here in his last visit in 2016. Spieth's best result at Muirfield is third in 2015.
Dufner is +6000 to win again.
Golf Odds: Memorial Tournament Picks
For a Top 10, I'll go Kuchar (+275), who has a win here (2013) and five other Top-8 finishes since 2009, McIlroy (+105) and Marc Leishman (+275). Tiger is +200 for one and I'm not loving that.
For top American, go Kuchar at +2000. Head-to-head, like Adam Scott (-110) over Phil Mickelson (-120), Leishman (-130) over Kuchar (even), Bubba Watson (-110) over Patrick Reed (-120), Henrik Stenson (-115) over Hideki Matsuyama (-115), Johnson (-120) over Day (-110), and McIlroy (-115) over Rose (-115).
I was tempted to pick Kuchar again, but let's go Leishman at +3500. He comes off a runner-up at the Byron Nelson and hasn't been worse than T15 his past three trips here with a scoring average of 69.67.
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