Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: 2020 US PGA Tour: The Memorial Tournament

2020 US PGA Tour: The Memorial Tournament

Tiger Woods Iron Play On the Fairway

Damien Kayat takes a look at the Memorial Tournament taking place at the Muirfield Village Golf Club, Dublin, Ohio.

Photo Copyright - Steve Haag Sports 

Jockeys Ride HorsesThe Memorial Tournament
Muirfield Village Golf Club, Dublin, Ohio
Thursday 16 - Sunday 19 July 

This is going to be slightly surreal. The tour moves (ahem) exactly nowhere this week, as ‘Jack’s Event’ follows the Workday Charity Open at Muirfield.  It’s got a hell of a lot to live up to, with young guns Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa exchanging blows in a pulsating playoff last week.  This week’s event does have one small advantage: Tiger Woods. Yes, the demigod of contemporary golf returns from exile to a course he loves. Woods has won this event five times and will be looking to finally eclipse Sam Snead’s all-time PGA Tour win record. How fitting that would be, underlining the intersection of golf’s undisputed kingpins: Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. 

Unlike last week, this is an invitational event with only the top 75 from last year’s money-list guaranteed a spot. It is the culmination of Nicklaus’ love affair with Open Championship golf, named after his favourite UK course.  Set in 240 rolling acres, this test is generous off the tee and requires accuracy from the fairway. The smaller than average bentgrass greens will run much faster this week: at round 13 on the stimp. Additionally, the rough will be more penal for those errant from the tee.  So perhaps success at last week’s event could be double-edged, especially when considering the pace of the greens. How will the likes of Morikawa and Thomas adjust to such a dramatic shift? 

Statistics over the past few years seem to favour accuracy above power: just look at the likes of William McGirt and David Lingmerth. But try telling that to NFL line-backer Bryson DeChambeau.  DeChambeau is the de facto best golfer in the world at present and will look to demolish this relatively small test. The average GIR rating for the last ten winners here is 11.2. I would look towards that and par 4 scoring as the biggest indicators this week.  But with such a stellar field (only Adam Scott misses from the world’s top 10 this week) you can really expect anything this week. 

It’s about time for Rory McIlroy to regain that early-season form and firmly entrench himself as the World Number One. With the likes of DeChambeau and Thomas breathing down his neck, the Northern Irishman is starting to seem ever-so-slightly irrelevant post-lockdown. I’m glad that the PGA Tour (one of the most conservative sporting institutions in the world) has paid heed to science and refused entry to fans this week. Nicklaus has insisted on giving his obligatory winning handshake, though he recognises some players may not be comfortable with the gesture. Could make for a painfully awkward trophy acceptance: imagine the championing denying the handshake and throwing the great man an elbow. But these are strange times. 

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone
Past Winner
2020: Collin Morikawa (-19) *playoff victory at last week’s Workday Charity Open
2019: Patrick Cantlay (-19)
2018: Bryson DeChambeau (-15) *playoff
2017: Jason Dufner (-13)
2016: William McGirt (-15) *playoff
2015: David Lingmerth (-15) *playoff

Betting Favourites (To Win): 
Bryson DeChambeau (10/1)
Justin Thomas (11/1)
Rory McIlroy (14/1)
Patrick Cantlay (14/1)
Dustin Johnson (16/1)

Value Bets

Daniel Berger
To Win (40/1), To Place (17/2)

The resurrection of Daniel Berger’s career has been one of the year’s great surprises.  He currently displays DeChambeau form at Ricky Fowler prices. He has five consecutive top 5’s this year dating back to the Phoenix Open.  His form figures read 9-5-4-1-3. His first post-lockdown event was victory at the Charles Schwab, which was followed by a 3rd at the RBC Heritage. He currently sits 35th SG: Approach and 38th in Driving accuracy. Those stats correlate well for this test, and his tremendous touch around the green should do the rest. He will benefit from not playing last week, which may allow him to adjust to the pace more adeptly.

Harris English
To Win (90/1), To Place (19/1)

I’m keen to play at least one guy around the 100/1 mark, especially when you look at past champions such as McGirt and Lingmerth. Occasionally these classical tests (that don’t rely on megawatt power) can produce surprising winners. Harris English seems to be the best option in this range.  At 90/1, his ‘form’ is extraordinary. In twelve starts this season he has eight top 20’s, including four top 10’s.  it’s hard to believe he’s still just 30 years old.  He also currently sits 5th for greens in regulation- a stat that should prove useful this week. This will only be his 3rd visit here, though his last resulted in a decent top 20 in 2015. 

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The Man to Beat

Tiger Woods
To Win (28/1), To Place (6/1)

Clearly Tiger’s price is a reflection of a prolonged absence. Not to mention the fact that he had some recurring back issues as recently as the spring. He also finished bottom of those who made the cut at Riviera: hardly foreboding form entering this week. But he was exceptional in that charity match alongside Mickelson, Brady and Manning. I know its hard to glean true match fitness from a charity event, but his ball-striking was excellent and he looked unencumbered by pain. He returns to a course he loves (though his last victory here came in 2012). He is quite simply the greatest iron-player in the history of the game, which makes Muirfield a perfect venue for his talents. He is able to shape the ball both ways and use the contours of these greens.  I think he looks tremendous at 28/1, despite his lack of readiness.  

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