Dates: June 1, 2023 to June 4, 2023
Location: Ohio, USA
Course: Muirfield Village
Course Par: 72
Course Length: 7533 yards
Prize Purse: $20000000
Another Designated event this week as Muirfield Village hosts the Memorial Tournament. A reduced field of 120 take part and although there are a few absentees from the top 20 in the world rankings, it’s a pretty deep field with plenty of plausible winners including previous winners Patrick Cantlay, Jon Rahm and last year’s hero Billy Horschel (who we were on at 60/1!).
The new “designated events” have tended to go more predictably with the form book so far this year and it’ll be interesting to see if that trend continues as the season draws towards its conclusion. Although this event sits between two of the majors, for most of the top players this is a trophy they’d very much like to get their hands on, since the winner will be handed the prize by the great Jack Nicklaus himself.
Accuracy on approach is top of our wish list this week. Muirfield Village is reasonably wide off the tee and not overly long by modern standards; previous years’ results have shown that it’s strokes gained on approach that has tended to separate those at the top of the leaderboard from the field. Scrambling is also more important than for most tour events, so we’ll be looking for some skills in that area as well. With this being a designated event and plenty of big names on the roll of honour, it seems sensible to focus our strategy on the front of the market and try to find the most solid options to give us a good run for our money.
|Outright US Odds
We’ll lead off with an obvious but very appealing selection in Patrick Cantlay (4pts each way, 10/1, 8 places). Twice a previous winner here (albeit one of those was 2021 when Jon Rahm looked set to cruise to victory before Covid forced his withdrawal), this is a week where he seems to perform year in, year out. With three top tens in his last five starts (and top 25s in the other two), he comes here in excellent form and looks by far the most solid of those at the front of the market, with Scheffler suffering continuing troubles with his putter and Rahm needing to put a frustrating and disappointing US PGA performance behind him. The price on offer isn’t exceptional by any means, but it feels like the most solid play on offer here.
Xander Schauffele (4pts each way, 14/1, 8 places) has a similar profile in that he has a rock solid history in this event and brings excellent recent form to the table. He’s not been outside the top 20 in his last five outings, with four top tens in that period, and he’s in the top few in the field for SG Approach. He doesn’t win as often as he perhaps should, but it’s very hard to see him anywhere but in close contention on Sunday afternoon.
Looking a little further down the list, Tyrrell Hatton (2.5pts each way, 25/1, 8 places) and Jason Day (2.5 pts each way, 28/1, 8 places) both make a good bit of appeal given the strength of their recent form and fit for Muirfield Village. Hatton’s performance in the PGA was remarkable – having been 7 over through his first 9 holes and looking certain to miss the weekend, he kept battling away and eventually posted three sub-par rounds on his way to finishing a very creditable T15. That was his fourth consecutive top 20 so he arrives here in fine form and looks very likely to pick up a win between now and the end of the season. Day got his reward for his return to form in the Byron Nelson, his first win in some time. A missed cut in the PGA wouldn’t be too big a concern and he can easily be fancied to continue his resurgence.
Our final play this week is Sahith Theegala (1.5pts each way, 50/1, 8 places), who tied for fifth in this event last year and has shown himself to be one of the most gifted players yet to pick up their first win. Unlike many of those tour maidens with potential, we feel he has the talent to succeed on the biggest stages; his performance in the Masters was testament to that. His price makes plenty of appeal, so he will be our only long shot in the picks for this tournament.
Of the rest, Rory McIlroy makes some appeal at the prices given that he didn’t have anything like his best game in the PGA but still managed a decent finish. The market has perhaps over-reacted a touch to his recent downturn in form and we know he could burst back to life at any moment. Justin Thomas was the other one who seems a little over-priced, but his putting remains a concern and appears to be getting into his head a touch.
We’ll be taking the week off and skipping the Canadian Open before returning all guns blazing for the US Open.