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PGA Tour Preview and Predictions: The Memorial

By Dave Shields

The PGA Tour comes back to Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, this week for the Memorial Tournament. In fact, the tour has stayed here for the past two weeks as the inaugural Workday Charity Open was played at Muirfield Village last week. The Memorial is a tournament that the great Jack Nicklaus founded and launched in 1976 on a 7,392-yard, par 72 course, Muirfield Village, that Nicklaus himself designed.

The headline for this week’s tournament is the return of Tiger Woods, who is in the field for the first time since the pandemic suspended play for three months. But Woods will have a lot of competition, including 23-year old Collin Morikawa, who won the Workday Charity Open last week in a playoff over Justin Thomas.

The Field

There’s a lot of buzz about the Memorial, mainly because of one man, Tiger Woods, who is playing for the first time since February at the Genesis Invitational. Well, he did play in the Match back in May with Peyton Manning against Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson, but that’s not a PGA Tournament. Woods is 14th in the world golf rankings and he has been very successful at the Memorial, winning it 5 times, the last being in 2012.

Other past winners in the field include Patrick Cantlay, who won in last year, Bryson DeChambeau, who won the Rocket Mortgage Classic two weeks ago, Hideki Matsuyama, Jason Dufner, Matt Kuchar, and Justin Rose.

But looking beyond the return of Tiger, this field is loaded. It’s probably the best field since play resumed on tour in June. The favorite is DeChambeau, who is the hottest player on tour right now. DeChambeau is listed at 10-1. Thomas, who suffered a heartbreaking defeat last week in a playoff to Morikawa, is next at 11-1. World No. 1 Rory McIlroy is back after a few weeks off. He is listed at 14-1, as is the defending champion, Cantlay. Dustin Johnson, who won two weeks ago at the Traveler’s Championship is 16-1, while Woods comes in at 20-1.

Other favorites are Jon Rahm, Webb Simpson, the winner at the RBC Heritage, and last week’s winner Morikawa, who are all listed at 22-1. Brooks Koepka, rookie Viktor Hovland, and former champion here Hideki Matsuyama are all at 25-1, while Xander Schauffele is at 28-1. Further, Rickie Fowler and Daniel Berger are 40-1, Gary Woodland is 45-1, Abraham Ancer is 50-1, and Patrick Reed and Justin Rose are both 55-1.

The Picks

Hideki Matsuyama (25:1). I’ve been riding Matsuyama the past few weeks as he has been gradually getting back into the form that has made him a top 10 player in the world. Last week at the Workday he was right there with a chance to win, but a bad round of Sunday dropped him out of contention, and he finished in a tie for 22nd. But now he’s back for another bite at the apple this week. Matsuyama is a past champion here, winning the Memorial in 2014, and he has always played well on this course. I like Matsuyama to continue his forward momentum and be a factor here at the Memorial.

Justin Thomas (11-1). What a bitter pill Thomas had to swallow last week on this course. He had a three-shot lead with three holes to go and he bogeyed two of the last three to force a playoff with Morikawa. After draining a 50-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole, he had to sit and watch Morikawa to pour in a 25-footer on top of it. Morikawa went on to win, but Thomas will be the one who’s hungry this week to get that bitter taste of defeat out of his mouth. Look for Thomas to come out red hot and have a great bounce-back week.

Jordan Spieth (66-1). Spieth is definitely a long shot here, but I picked him last week at the Workday Charity Open because he has played well at Muirfield Village and is overdue for a win. Spieth has finished 3rd, 10th, and 13th here over the past five years, so he’s been knocking on the door. And it’s not a bomber’s course, as Dufner and Will McGirt have won here in recent years. Last week Spieth was disappointing, as he missed the cut at the Workday, but I like Spieth to bounce back here and be in the mix, and maybe even win.

First round action begins Thursday with the first tee off at 7:00 a.m.

Also, Check Out David "The Dominator" Hess' Predictions For The Memorial

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