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The Memorial Tournament 2016 Preview
Our scribe takes a look at the PGA Tour event the Memorial Tournament taking place at Muirfield.
The PGA Tour finally moves beyond Texas this week as we head on over to Jack’s Place for a meeting of the “Big Three”. Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, and Rory McIlroy will all tee it up at Muirfield Village for the Memorial Tournament in what is shaping up to be one helluva tournament.
The stars have aligned and the biggest three names in golf all arrive on the back of a victory. Most notably perhaps, Spieth finally slayed the demons that have been plaguing him since Augusta. His final nine holes this past weekend were devastating, where he needed just nine putts to close out the tournament. There’s no stopping him when he’s in a mood like that.
As for the course itself, well Jack Nicklaus has provided a real treat for the viewing public. It’s a course that complements the all-round game rather than any specific aspect and will be a great barometer ahead of the US Open at Oakmont. The rough is treacherous, the greens are small and if you’re going to win here, your iron play will need to be dialled in.
With all eyes on the “Big Three”, there’s plenty of opportunity for someone to sneak in under the radar. If we can keep our wits about us, there’s money to be made.
The Memorial Tournament | Thursday 2 June - Sunday 5 June | Muirfield Village
Last Five Winners
2015 David Lingmerth -15 (Playoff) | 2014 Hideki Matsuyama -13 (Playoff) | 2013 Matt Kuchar -12 | 2012 Tiger Woods -9 | 2011 Steve Stricker -16
To Win Outright
Jason Day 13/2 | Jordan Spieth 13/2 | Rory McIlroy 13/2 | Hideki Matsuyama 16/1 | Dustin Johnson 20/1 | Matt Kuchar 20/1 | Bubba Watson 25/1
Justin Thomas (66/1 Win & 15/1 Place)
I’ll start my attack with Justin Thomas, who is on offer at 66/1 despite finishing third in an even stronger field last time out. That performance came at the Players and might be a defining moment in Thomas’ fledgling career. His ball striking ability has never been in doubt, but it was his form with the flat stick that has been holding him back. All that changed at Sawgrass, with an alteration of his putting grip. Having fared pretty well on debut here two years ago, he returns a much better player and one who could well challenge come Sunday.
Paul Casey (50/1 Win & 11/1 Place)
I’m not the biggest fan of English golfers, but I’ve always had an affinity for Casey. A player for the big occasion, Casey tends to reserve his performances for the biggest events. He’s made the cut in all five starts in the Memorial and was in front at halfway on his last visit two years ago, before struggling as conditions got really tough at the weekend. Fourth in the Masters, seventh in the Cadillac and 23rd last time at Sawgrass, Casey is in decent touch and will be relishing the prospect of teeing it up at one of his favourite layouts on Tour.
Bill Haas (50/1 Win & 11/1 Place)
Haas might seem a strange decision upfront with a fairly forgettable bunch of performances through May. He missed the cut at Wells Fargo, finished T43 at The Players, and T47 at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational. Hardly inspiring form. But Haas has a pretty solid history at Muirfield, dating back to his impressive T4 finish in 2013. He recorded another top-10 finish in 2014 (T8) before finishing a respectable T18 last year. He has the game to challenge here and might be worth an each-way punt.
Hideki Matsuyama (16/1 Win & 7/2 Place)
Matsuyama’s last eight rounds at Muirfield Village read 70-67-69-69-64-71-71-70. Results in those two appearances? 1st and T5. If you’re to put money on one player this weekend, make it Matsuyama. If his course form isn’t enough to convince you (which it should be), he’s also gone T7-T11-T7 in his last three starts. Take that to the bank.