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About Muirfield Village
The Memorial is one of the few heralded events outside the majors, and with a few of those PGA Tour events in and around this three month major period often getting lost in the hype, the memorial always brings with it a sense of legacy.
This course has been used over multiple events in the last couple of years, and the one consistent is that we’ve tended to get high profile names at the top of the leader board come Sunday, largely owing to the challenge of the course.
At a lengthy 7,500+ yards this Nicklaus design par-72 looks a serious test of approach play (as most of his courses do), though will also look to play into the hands of some of the biggest hitters on tour.
The Memorial Tournament Contenders
Jon Rahm comes back here in search of justice, if anything else, as he had to withdraw last year owing to a positive covid-test on Sunday, which wouldn’t have been as bad if he hadn’t held a six shot lead heading into the final day.
That should have been Rahm’s second win here at Muirfield Village, and there’s no real reason to think that he can’t manage to pick up that vitory here this week.
No one has been better off the tee this season then the Spaniard as far as Strokes Gained is concerned, and he even ranked first in that regard at the PGA Championship despite finishing in a tie for 48th.
He won the week before that in Mexico, albeit in a much weaker field than he’s expecting here, and outside of the big occasions (majors and players) he’s actually been quite impressive despite what has been deemed as a poor season.
Indeed, excluding those events his form reads 2-14-3-10-21-17-1 since the beginning of the year, not to mention a last-16 run at the World Matchplay.
He also leads the tour this year in Greens-in-Regulation, and back at a course that he obviously knows well, there’s no surprise he comes in as favourite, especially with neither major winners this year in the field, and we’re happy to get behind Rahmbo to oust the other market leaders who aren’t showing many signs of dominance this year.
Another of the market leaders that lays a good claim here is Patrick Cantlay. The American has dropped off slightly after a blistering back end to last year and opening couple of events in 2022, though recent form suggests he hasn’t fallen too far.
He lost in a play-off to Jordan Spieth at the Heritage, though bounced back from that to put on a blistering display with Xander Schauffele at the Zurich Classic.
A missed cut at Southern Hills can be forgiven at a new, tough course that he obviously just failed to adapt to fast enough, but back on a course he knows and loves there should be no doubt over his claims.
He's the defending champion, albeit in questionable circumstances, which means he’s won two of the last three renewals, while he also had a top-five finish in 2018 and finished 7th here at the Workday Charity Open in 2017.
He ranks in the top-25 for Strokes Gained: Off-the-tee this season, and we’re happy to get behind him to lay down another marker here.
There are a host of top names that could rise up above the rest here. Previous winner Collin Morikawa is showing some positive signs again, though not enough to justify his price, while if Rory McIlroy is on song for the full four days there’s little doubt he’s walking away with the trophy, though he’s shown to be too inconsistent to get behind in recent weeks.
Sung-Jae Im is another slightly further down the market that has good course pedigree and his underlying approach play stats show he could be there or there abouts this week, though it’s Davis Riley that gets our pick at a price that doesn’t reflect his current form.
A tie for 4th at the Zurich Classic alongside the in-form Will Zalatoris has been followed up with a 5-9-13-4 run and it’s been his tee-to-green play that has been the backbone of that (excluding the Mexico Open where he led the field for SG:Putting).
While he doesn’t exactly excel in any particular aspect of his game, he remains consistent throughout and the fact that he’s picking up strong results suggests that he can adapt to the majority of courses on the tour circuit.
He’s on debut here, and that may hurt his chances of coming out on top, though when he’s playing the sort of golf that he has been for the last couple of months then it’s hard to find a reason why he can’t place.
JON RAHM E/W
PATRICK CANTLAY E/W
DAVIS RILEY E/W
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