Par 72 7,392 yards
The Memorial Tournament was founded 39 years ago in 1976 by Jack Nicklaus. It is played on the Nicklaus-designed Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, a suburb north of his home town of Columbus. Muirfield is the only course to host all three of US professional golf’s team matchplay. The Ryder Cup was played there in 1987, The Solheim Cup in 1998 and The Presidents Cup in 2013. One of the main features of the tournament is a yearly induction ceremony honoring past golfers. A plaque for each honoree is installed near the clubhouse at Muirfield.
The course has pretty generous tree lined fairways with deep, penal rough. It has four par 5’s, four par 3’s and 10 par 4’s. There are roughly 70 bunkers with water coming into play on 11 holes. The greens are bentgrass and are smaller than average, but tend to be lightning fast. Over the last few years, the par 5’s have been where the players are scoring so there will be a particular emphasis on par 5 scoring. The par 3’s have also proven quite tricky over the last few years so par 3 scoring will also be worth checking. The main areas of focus for me this week are current/previous form, par 3,par 4 and par 5 scoring, GIR, accurate iron play and strokes gained putting.
The Aussie has been playing superb golf over the last 12 months and looks to be a huge threat every time he tees it up lately. He had a great wire to wire win at Sawgrass at The Players Championship winning by four strokes from his nearest challenger Kevin Chappell. He started the week with an opening 63 and followed that with a 66 on Friday. He looked to be in complete control of his game throughout the week and despite his less than impressive record here at Muirfield, I wouldn’t be surprised if he won again this week. Day has been playing great golf this year and got his first win of the season at the Arnold Palmer Invitational back in March and followed that with another win at the WGC Matchplay winning back to back. He then finished T10 at The Masters, T23 at The RBC Heritage, T5 in New Orleans and a win in Sawgrass.
Day’s best finish here is T33 in 2010 but he should able to improve on that this time around. He ticks all the boxes here statistically ranking 13th in strokes gained tee to green, first in strokes gained putting and 37th in GIR. He also ranks third in par 3 scoring and fifth in par 5 scoring which are two stats that should suit Muirfield. Although Spieth and McIlroy have a big chance and deserve huge respect, Day for me makes the most appeal here and looks to be unstoppable lately.
Matsuyama is in fine form coming here this week and could be a massive contender. He has four top 11’s in his last five starts and comes here on the back of a T7 at The Players Championship at Sawgrass. He had a good performance in Bay Hill finishing T6 and followed that with a T7 at The Masters and a T11 at The Wells Fargo. Matsuyama got his first PGA Tour victory here at Muirfield in 2014 and recorded another top five finish last year finishing T5.
He also looks good statswise ranking fifth in SGTTG, 11th in GIR, fourth in par 4 scoring and 22nd in par 5 scoring. With excellent current form and a great record on this course Matsuyama looks to have a great chance here.
Bubba has gone a bit quiet over the last few weeks and took some time off after The Players where he finished T43 for the tournament. He has been playing well this season finishing T14 in Phoenix, a win at Riviera in The Northern Trust Open and solo second at The WGC Cadillac after shooting an impressive final round 68.
Watson has played well here in the past and came close to winning here in 2014. He was two clear going into the back 9 but finished bogey-double bogey on 14 and 15 to miss out on the playoff by one stroke and ended up finishing third. Big hitting Bubba ranks second in SGTTG, sixth in driving distance, third in GIR, 33rd in par 4 scoring and eighth in par 5 scoring. After coming so close in 2014 Bubba could get back to winning ways here.
Dufner looks to be back showing some form lately and played well last week in Colonial finishing T6. He didn’t shoot worse than a 70 all week firing 68,69,66,70 to finish nine under for the tournament. He also had a good performance at The Byron Nelson finishing T24 and also didn’t shoot worse than a 70. Dufner has shown decent form this year and had a great win at The CareerBuilder Challenge at the start of February and followed that with a T11 at the WGC Cadillac and a T22 at The Valspar.
He has played well here in Ohio in the past finishing T24 last year and T19 in 2014. Statistically he ranks 22nd in SGTTG, 10th in GIR, 23RD in par 4 scoring and 19th in par 5 birdie or better leaders. If he can keep the putter rolling on the greens Dufner should have a good chance here at a generous price.
The young American is one of the form players at the moment and could be one to keep a beady eye on here. He hasn’t finished worse than T20 in six of his last seven starts. Berger played well at The Valspar finishing T11 and followed that with a T5 in Houston, T10 at The Masters and T20 in New Orleans. Most recently he had a good week at The Wells Fargo finishing T17 and T9 at The Players Championship.
He has played here once in the past missing the cut last year but should improve on that this week. He looks to have the game to suit this course ranking 31st in strokes gained tee to green and 12th in par 4 scoring. Berger is in great form at the moment and could have another good week here on a course that could suit him.
Final Selections –
Jason Day 2pts EW 13/2
Hideki Matsuyama 2pts EW 16/1
Bubba Watson 1pt EW 25/1
Jason Dufner 1pt EW 50/1
Daniel Berger 1pt EW 50/1
Total Staked = 14 pts
Good luck and enjoy the golf,
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