While some of the top players on the PGA Tour played at Colonial last week, many others enjoyed a week off between the PGA Tour and this week’s Memorial Tournament, another Designated Event on the 2023 schedule that means an elevated field for the annual event hosted by golf legend Jack Nicklaus.
The event at Muirfield Village Golf Club in suburban Columbus, Ohio, debuted in 1976. Tiger Woods holds the record with five wins in this event. Kenny Perry is the only three-time winner, and among the two-time champs here are host Nicklaus and Patrick Cantlay, who won in 2019 and ’21.
The defending champion is Billy Horschel. He has not exactly had a good calendar year since winning here in 2022. His win was his third finish of second or better in a span of nine events, but in the 21 stroke-play events since, he has one top 10 (CJ Cup in October).
The Memorial is one of five “invitational” events on the PGA Tour, which means it has a field of 120 instead of the standard 156.
Nicklaus, who grew up in the Columbus area, designed Muirfield Village, which opened in 1974. Each edition of this event has been played here. This will be the third year after a large renovation following the 2020 tournament. It was lengthened to 7,609 for the pros and remains a par 72. Nicklaus widened the landing areas in the fairways for amateurs, but the fairways narrow at the spots where the pros will be looking to land their drives. Since the renovation, the course is also known for fast greens and thick rough.
Tom Lehman holds the course record of a 20-under 268, which he set in 1994. Cantlay came close with a -19 in 2019, but the two winning scores since the renovation have been a 13-under 275.
Is playing a tournament for the fourth-straight weekend, but Scheffler hasn’t had any problems so far in this run. After a fifth at the AT&T Byron Nelson, he closed with a 65 to finish runner-up at the PGA Championship. Last week, a hole-in-one during his final round at Colonial led to a third-place finish. The world’s top-ranked golfer’s worst finish in 2023 is 12th, and he finished third in his last trip to Muirfield Village in 2021.
Took a week off after a rare 50th-place finish at the PGA. The last time he had a poor finish (The Players Championship) and took some time off, he came back to win the Masters. Rahm won here in 2020 and held a six-stroke lead the following year when he was forced to withdraw prior to the final round due to a positive COVID-19 test result.
Was the beneficiary of Rahm’s WD in 2021, but he won this event in 2019 as well. He also owns a third last year along with a fourth as part of being a perfect 6-for-6 in this tournament. While the 2021 FedEx Cup champion hasn’t won this season, he’s finished in the top 25 nine-straight times entering this week.
Was under the radar at the PGA Championship, but he wound up seventh at Oak Hill, which was a big improvement over his missed cut at Augusta. Rory has four top-10 finishes in 11 tries at the Memorial, but his last two finishes here were both in the 18th position.
Has finished in the top 20 in his last two tries here, and given his current form, he may be ready to make a jump. Schauffele was off last week after an 18th at the PGA, but he had five-straight top 10s prior to that, including a runner-up at the Wells Fargo Championship, which was also a Designated Event.
Hasn’t been able to crack the top 25 at Muirfield Village, but his track record in big events this year has been strong: third at The Players Championship, seventh at the Masters, and a runner-up at the PGA. Hovland was in contention last week at the Charles Schwab Challenge before a +3 final round sent him down to 16th.
Thrives on difficult golf courses, but the Englishman has been thriving everywhere as of late. Among his great finishes over the past three months are a fourth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, runner-up at TPC Sawgrass, third at Quail Hollow, and fifth at the Byron Nelson. Hatton hasn’t won on the PGA Tour, but he’s been knocking on the door for quite some time.
Speaking of knocking on the door, Sahith Theegala (+5000) is due to become a first-time winner as well. Theegala finished fifth here a year ago. He has four top-five results this season, was ninth at Augusta, and won the QBE Shootout, an unofficial money event, last December.
Rickie Fowler (+3500) has competed in this event every year since 2010 and has a great track record. Fowler finished runner-up here twice and more recently has three top 15s in the last five years. A missed cut at the PGA snapped a run of four-straight top-15 finishes, but he rebounded last week to finish sixth at the Charles Schwab Challenge. That result was enough to move him into the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking, which allowed him to qualify for next month’s Open Championship.
With Scheffler being a top-10 machine, it’s hard to bet against him or Rahm based on their recent track record. We also like Cantlay and Schauffele along with Hatton and Theegala for value picks.
|ODDS TO WIN THE MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT