Scott Shapiro's Memorial Tournament preview
For the first time since 1957, the same venue will host a PGA Tour event in back-to-back weeks.
The Memorial Tournament is held at Muirfield Village Golf Club every year, but the coveted event was pushed back from June to mid-July because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week's Workday Charity Open, also held at the Dublin, Ohio course, was added to the schedule to replace the John Deere Classic, which was cancelled because of pandemic restrictions in the state of Illinois.
The Memorial drew a loaded field that is headlined by the return of Tiger Woods. Tiger played in the “Champions for Charity” match in late May, but has not been seen on the PGA Tour since a 68th-place finish in the Genesis Invitational in mid-February.
Woods may be a bit rusty, but there is no doubt his game suits Muirfield Village, based on his five victories in the Memorial. He is currently listed in the second tier of golfers on Bet America, at +2500 to win the event.
The Memorial Tournament 2020 - Winner
Thu, July 16 2020, 11:00 AM
Driving the ball accurately to avoid the penal rough is important this week, but with wide fairways, I am not weighing strokes gained off the tee nearly as heavily as strokes gained approach and strokes gained around the green.
Elite iron play, and the ability to get the ball up and down when missing greens in regulation, is imperative. So is scoring well on par 4s between 450 and 500 yards, since there are six of those on the course.
So many golfers can win this week, but here are three I like most, based on value.
Jon Rahm (+2000)
The Spaniard has not been at the top of his game since the break, but he put things together in the final round last week, when he posted a field-best 64. That number suggests he is ready for a big effort in Ohio.
The 25-year-old has not found the winner’s circle since the Hero World Challenge in November of 2018, but he finished second in this year’s Farmers Open and followed it up a month later with a third-place effort at the WGC-Mexico.
Rahm does just about everything on the golf course well, but his ability to score on par 5s and scramble if he gets in trouble are what I love about him most at Muirfield. If he is consistent with his irons this week, he has a big shot to earn the biggest victory of his career.
He is my pick to win the 2020 Memorial.
Patrick Reed (+4500)
The 2018 Masters champion is not one of the more consistent players on tour, but when he is in contention, he has a major chance to hoist the trophy.
The Texan started 2020 with a runner-up effort at the Tournament of Champions, then got the best of Bryson DeChambeau at the WGC-Mexico in February. He played great in the first tournament off the break, when he placed seventh in the Charles Schwab Challenge, but has been a bit erratic the last four times out, mostly because of poor putting.
Reed was up and down at the Workday last week, but fits Muirfield Village well, with his strong play around the greens, ability to score on par 5s, and his competitive nature on tough courses. His outright price this week is too good to pass up.
Kevin Na (+11000)
Na would not be my guy if I needed to rely on a golfer to finish in the top 10 or top 20 in any given week, but when he is healthy and on his game, he has the upside to win.
The South Korean has a strong approach game and can get out of trouble with the best of them. I will take a small slice at his triple-digit odds.