PGA Picks: The Memorial Tournament Predictions and Betting Odds
The PGA Tour makes its first real trip north, going to the annual stop in Ohio for the Memorial Tournament. All golfers know this is the place Jack built, meaning Jack Nicklaus.
The tournament is by invite only, and 120 different players have accepted, including five of the Top 7. Besides this being a great golf course to play, more than half the field (65 and ties) will qualify to play on the weekend.
For those who played at Muirfield Village once or twice last year because of the restart from Covid, they will see changes and have to adapt. Jon Rahm is the defending champion, and he’s the favorite to defend his title.
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A Look at the Field
Here is a look at the Top 12 with ties with the lowest golf odds to win it all.
Jon Rahm +1000 - Bryson DeChambeau +1400 - Jordan Spieth +1400 - Rory McIlroy +1400
Collin Morikawa +1600 - Justin Thomas +1600 - Viktor Hovland +1800 - Patrick Cantlay +2000
Xander Schauffele +2000 - Hideki Matsuyama +2500 - Tony Finau +2800 Corey Conners +3300
Matthew Fitzpatrick +3300 - Patrick Reed +3300 - Louis Oosthuizen +3300
Rahm is the defending champ, but it is rare for anyone to win in back-to-back years no matter how much they play well at a course. Top 5 possibilities and head-to-head, but otherwise there’s little value.
DeChambeau and Spieth figure to be in the conversation. If the Mad Bomber hits his irons well, he will be a factor because of his length. The only surprise last week about Spieth is that he didn’t win, as he had some nerves as the 3rd round leader on Sunday. With all of Spieth’s Top 10 finishes, he has to be strongly considered.
Thomas and Cantlay will draw attention, but neither is in good form. Thomas remains a great ball-striker, lacking consistency in other parts of his game. Cantlay is a “horse for the course,” winning at Memorial two years ago and loving Nicklaus courses, but four recent missed cuts and T23 at the PGA do not inspire confidence at online betting sites.
Morikawa and Matsuyama deserve a strong look this week. Morikawa is the best iron player in the game right now and he’s dominating everyone in his last six starts in several statistics. Matsuyama won this event in 2014 and has two other Top 10’s.
Hovland fits the mold of a young star who gets his breakout win at Nicklaus’ Muirfield Village. He’s a top-tier iron player, which will obviously play well here.
Course Characteristics of Those Who Can Win or Secure Winning Golf Bets
The biggest change to the course is the greens that were completely recontoured. Only four of the putting surfaces will resemble the old greens (12, 13, 14, and 17). This will alter the putting dynamic for those who have played here for years, with the exact impact not known. The greens remain on the smaller size and will be as quick as these players will see all year. For poor putters, they will be at a disadvantage.
The par 72 stretches out to 7,543 yards, which is 87 yards longer than last year's edition.
The landing area for tee shots is rather wide open. However, you don’t just want to blast away because the second shot at Muirfield is more important than off the tee. Hitting the ball long and accurately off the tee definitely has its advantage because you can hit shorter irons into greens. But length for the sake of it does not benefit bombers.
That is where precise iron shots and placement are of great value, and those with that skill set will do better at this course. If you miss the green on approach and are on the short side (having less green to work with), even a pretty solid chip could go six feet by the hole, leaving a knee-knocker for par. Golfers hitting high fades have a chance to score better.
The general layout is similar to Augusta and Bay Hill for toughness, and past champions are mostly familiar names. However, when the wind is down along with the humidity, a Buddy McGirt (2016) or David Lingmerth (2015) will pull a shocker to win.
Golf Picks: Who to Consider This Week
Hovland is the current scoring leader on Tour at 69.7, and he’s second in birdie average and 27th in greens in regulation. A threat to win and for Top 5 and Top 10, and could be a nice underdog play in head-to-head action.
In Morikawa’s last 24 rounds, he’s No. 1 in Strokes Gained: Approach, Strokes Gained: Ball Striking and Par 4: 450-500. For good measure, he is 3rd in Good Drives Gained. The only recent mark on his games was two bogeys in the last three holes Sunday at Colonial to fall out of Top 10 finish. He’s a class player whose game fits this layout. All kinds of golf bets to make on Morikawa.
If you are looking for a Top 20 value play and a possible Top 10, Charley Hoffman stands out. He’s 3rd on Strokes Gained: Ball Striking in his past 24 rounds and 1st in Par 5. Hoffman is in the low 20’s in driving distance, birdie average and scoring average in 2021. He just has to avoid that one poorer round that keeps him from more Top 10 finishes.
Doug Upstone of Doc’s Sports was in the golf business for over 20+ years and understands the ins and outs of what it takes to find winners on the Tour. As promised, Doug bounced back from a poor PGA Championship with three of four winners last week and picked up +$800! (3rd-best of 2021)
Doug Upstone of Doc’s Sports has - 21 Documented No. 1 Titles - 94 Documented Top 10 Finishes - 24 Handicapper of the Month Awards. Doug as a professional handicapper/writer has written for various well-known sports betting websites and several football newsletters.