PGA Picks: The Memorial Tournament Predictions and Betting Odds
Many readers know of Jack Nicklaus as one of the best golfers ever, and he still holds the record for most major tournament wins (19). Being from Ohio, Jack wanted a golf course that had all the elements he loved as a player, making the course fair, yet challenging.
That is what the PGA Tour players will face this week at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Like last week, this is an invitation-only event with 120 players. As per usual, the top 65 and ties will partake on the weekend.
Patrick Cantlay defeated Collin Morikawa in extra holes last year, but everyone remembers when Jon Rahm walked off this course on Saturday with a six-stroke lead and was informed he tested positive for Covid. He was crestfallen, having to withdraw, allowing someone else to win.
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A Look at the Field
Here is a look at the Top 12 favorites and ties for golf odds this week.
c +1000 - Rory McIlroy +1100 - Patrick Cantlay +1600 - Cameron Smith +1800
Collin Morikawa +1800 - Xander Schauffele +1800 - Jordan Spieth +2000 - Viktor Hovland +2200
Hideki Matsuyama +2500 - Matthew Fitzpatrick +2500 - Shane Lowry +2500 - Will Zalatoris +2800
Rahm won this tournament in 2020 and legitimately should have won it again except for a positive virus reading with an enormous lead. Obviously, that will be his motivation – unfinished business, but his short game has been awful (180th for 150 yards in). With low odds, you like him or do not.
McIlroy has 20 Tour wins, just none at Muirfield Village. He’s generally played well with Top 5 and Top 10 finishes and comes in with three straight Top 10’s. Breakthrough? Maybe.
Cantlay loves this course and has won here twice in the past five years along with two Top 7s. His game has been inconsistent in 2022, but you have to think he will contend feeling so comfortable here.
The Australian Smith deserves low betting odds, but his best finish is T65th with four missed cuts in a half dozen tries. Is Smith a better player today? Yes, but it's hard to get excited.
Morikawa, Schauffele and Matsuyama are all great ball-strikers, and each offers a little trepidation. Morikawa can stripe it and lost in a playoff last year, but he’s lost strokes to putting in his past four tourneys. Schauffele has four Top 15s in his last four tries here and five Top 15s in his past seven events. Still, Xander continues to have that one high round that takes him out of title contention. Matsuyama won here in 2014 and also finished sixth and 13th in the last five years. His back seems fine, but do you want to risk it?
Spieth has a Top 5 (2015) and Top 10 (2019) finish at the Memorial and is driving the ball better recently. Could be a factor if he gets hot.
Hovland has shot 74 or worse five times in eight rounds at this course; hard to take seriously.
Fitzpatrick and Lowry are both in excellent form and would appear capable of Top 5 or Top 10 finishes. Zalatoris has the skill to play with the best, but how he scores will depend on the putter.
Course Characteristics of Those Who Can Win or Secure Winning Golf Bets
This Nicklaus layout was designed in the early 1970s and has been stretched out to 7,533 yards in 2020, while still maintaining a par of 72.
On average, 70 percent of drives land in the fairway, which is partly by design. The landing areas are wide enough to give players a shot at hitting greens, though enough holes force players to use something other than their longest club to stay in the short grass.
However, this layout was intended to punish those that went off the fairway, and the rough is similar to U.S. Open rough, which is thick and slows down the club and can make executing a par difficult.
There are not a lot of wedge shots at Muirfield Village, with players forced to use mid or long irons and they are hitting into greens of about 5,000 square feet, which is close to 20% smaller than the Tour average.
Though there is only water on eight of the holes, a larger percentage of players find the liquid stuff than one would think, because, like the fairway bunkers, it is strategically placed to gobble up shots that are off-target.
To win or compete at Jack’s course, you have to hit fairways to set up second shots. That doesn’t make it easier, as last year less than 60% were on in regulation, which was the seventh-hardest course on the Tour to accomplish this. Miss the green, and you have a 50-50 chance at par is what the recent numbers show.
For many, this is a true test of the sport and not a putting contest. Where any player can help themselves is saving strokes on the Par 5s, which help them go low or save strokes on bogeys.
Golf Picks: Who to Consider This Week
If you are feeling a bit more daring for a Top 5 pick, Rahm and Cantlay are good choices, and their odds for a Top 10 are not unreasonable in a top-flight field.
In considering other Top 10 finishers, Schauffele and Fitzpatrick figure to be in the mix but are unplayable for Top 20 wagers with unsavory betting odds.
Zalatoris, at last look, was -110 for a Top 20, which is manageable, but our preference is using betting money on Keegan Bradley, Joaquin Niemann and or Patrick Reed, who have more favorable odds for a Top 20.
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. Doug’s coming off a winning week and is on the hunt for more.
Doug Upstone of Doc’s Sports has - 23 Documented No. 1 Titles - 97 Documented Top 10 Finishes - 28 Handicapper of the Month Awards. (Latest: NBA March 2022) Doug as a professional handicapper/writer has written for various well-known sports betting websites and several football newsletters.