After landing a 33/1 last week, our Golf expert, Niall Lyons, has five tips for the Memorial starting Thursday.
The Memorial Tournament Outright Winner
What Sunday reinforced was that you can find all the best bets in the world but you need a bucket of luck to get a winner over the line. There is no doubt Morikawa deserved a playoff on Sunday after his exceptional round of golf and it just seemed no amount of heroics from Thomas was going to stop him. He has shown guts before being up against it at the 3M Open only to produce some sparkling stuff to nearly come out on top. Conditions change slightly this week and we suspect they'll let the rough grow and allow the greens to become a lot more firm and fast. This will create a much sterner test but it remains a tee to green golf course. The top 3 who dominated the weekend at the Workday all gained double figures strokes gained tee to green. Only one other in the field, Henley hit double figures. I touched upon it last week but the record of 'average' putters continues to excel here with Morikawa and Hovland adding to that list which includes Matsuyama, Dufner and Ben An among others.
As expected Bryson heads the market narrowly over Thomas. We backed Bryson here when he won in 2018 but it was a totally different game to the one he is playing now. The top 3 last week all played exceptional stuff from tee to green gaining a lot of fairways along the way. Hitting fairways is important here, and maybe even more so this week as the greens will be firmer. I just can't see Bryson hitting as many fairways as he needs to. Plenty of holes have run outs also which means more irons and 3 woods off the tee. That could actually prove beneficial for Bryson somewhat, however it won't warrant investing around the 9/1 mark. Thomas has every chance to go well again if he can shake off the disappointment of Sunday. It was a makeshift event after all, so if he focuses on the Memorial and the prestige of this event alone, he could overcome that. I can let the price pass me by though.
With the focus so much on tee to green I feel Rory McIlroy is the play at the top of the market. He hasn't been at his best since the return but I don't feel the tracks were set up perfect for him. This time Muirfield Village should be perfect. He has a host of top ten finishes here without ever getting the job done but looks set to capitalise upon the setup of the course. McIlroy continually tops the strokes gained tee to green stats and if he turns up with his driver purring it hard to see him out of the argument. His previous top tens here were when his putter was a problem in his game but he has sorted a lot of things out with that club and should be ready to shoot one of his best scores here. I was of the opinion that the winner would come from those who played last week, but it was a gruelling enough week for most and the course landed some blows despite being a much easier week than anticipated this time around. Rahm endured some hardship, as did Cantlay before rallying on Sunday. Thomas has some physical scars also, and Matusyama was ultimately disappointing. McIlroy comes in fresh and I'm sure one of his remaining ambitions on the regular tour would be to win Jack's event. Whenever you see 14/1 around for the best golfer in the world you have to take another glance.
3pts each-way R.McIlroy 14/1 (1/5 8)
Less than average putters with a super tee to green game go well here down the years and I'll be adding a few who fit that bracket. Sergio Garcia is the first. At the Heritage a few weeks back he blew the field away tee to green topping the strokes gained tee to green and second in shots gained approach. Only a cold putter stood in his way from getting closer to Simpson. Cold putters often heat up here at Muirfield Village and Garcia can be expected to contend should he produce a similar tee to green game than that at the Heritage. He hasn't played here since 2008 with his best result coming back in 2001 finishing second, 7 shots back of Tiger Woods. At the Travelers it was his flatstick causing the main problems again. Overall his tee to green game can rise above the majority of the field here and his lack of firepower on the greens is of less importance than the tour average. This renders the 66/1 more than backable.
1.25pts each-way S.Garcia 66/1 (1/5 8)
Another who fits the same criteria gaining strokes in all departments last time out bar putting is Paul Casey. 2014 saw his best performance here finishing 13th with this not being one of his priorities year on year. He lead after two rounds that year starting 66-66. Had he shot 1 under over the weekend it would have been good enough for a playoff. I'm surprised we haven't seen more of him here since as I think the course sets up well for him. Crucially, fast greens are huge positive for him. He ranks 14th in the field in SG Putting on the faster surfaces and with his tee to green credentials I think the course is set up perfect for him. We all know his frailties in or around the lead but rarely do we see such a tempting price either. Crazy prices were laid on the machine Monday morning around the 170 mark.
1.25pt each-way P.Casey 70/1 (1/5 7)
Jason Day is very interesting having gone well last week. He sits at a tempting price but I'm worried slightly about missing too many fairways at the business end. One who has got improvement in him after last week is Rickie Fowler. Fowler played some great golf in spurts during the week but was incredibly sloppy at periods from prime positions. He finished with 0.3 strokes gained putting for the week and we all know he is capable of so much more than that. Given he lost two strokes approaching the greens also a top 25 finish can be considered somewhat a success and a sign that there is a fair amount of improvement in there. I'd expect him to be working on those aspects in between the 2 events and even though I don't think he sits at a particularly pretty price I'll have a few quid each way anyhow in the hope he sorts his approach game. I'd be extremely surprised if he didn't improve those putting stats.
1pt each-way R.Fowler 40/1 (1/5 7)
Finally I'll take a chance that a firmer golf course will suit Zach Johnson. He played extremely well at the Travelers with four rounds in the 60s finishing 11th. Last week he finished 31st despite losing strokes to the field off the tee and approaching. With the fairways drying out also his lack of length may become less of an issue. He putted excellently last week and could throw in a similar performance. If he manages to improve the other aspects of his game on a firmer, more difficult setup then his quotes of 200/1 could look big come the weekend.
0.75pt each-way Z.Johnson 200/1 (1/5 8)