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by Matt Fargo - 05/28/2013
The Texas swing concluded last week and the PGA Tour heads north to Dublin, Ohio and Muirfield Village Golf Club for the Memorial Tournament. This is the final tuneup for most prior to the U.S. Open in two weeks as a majority of players will be taking next week off. This is the course that Jack built and Nicklaus has been the host of this event since 1976 and even though his tournament has not gotten as big as he had always hoped, there is usual a very strong field.
Muirfield is a par 72 layout and far from easy one. It ranked as the toughest par 72 of all non-majors in 2009 at +1.4 over par. It lessened up after that, finishing 19th in difficulty both in 2010 and 2011. Last year it ranked as the second-hardest among par 72's in non-majors. Distance and accuracy off the tee are both extremely important but hitting greens and making birdies are two of the bigger challenges here making ball stroking a real priority. 77 bunkers are in play with 11 of the 18 holes having water hazards.
A course is usually judged by the finishing hole and how it can determine the outcome of the tournament and Muirfield is no exception. In 2009, Muirfield Village had the third-toughest closing hole on the PGA Tour as only Doral and Quail Hollow’s closing holes played tougher. The closing hole has let up in difficulty since then and last year Tiger Woods birdied 18 on Sunday to win by two shots over Andres Romero and Rory Sabbatini after he played it three over the first three days.
The field is a strong one this week. Seven of the OWGR top ten, 23 of 30 and 35 of the top 50 are in play this week as well as nine of the top ten in the FedEx Cup Standings. Tigers Woods (+240) is the huge favorite as he looks to defend his title. He has won here five times and has already won four times on tour this year including his last start at THE PLAYERS Championship.
Justin Rose (+2,500) is having a great season even though he has yet to win. He has three top tens including two top fives and while he is coming off his first missed cut of the season at THE PLAYERS Championship, he has had ample time to rest. He won this event in 2010 by three shots over Rickie Fowler thanks to a Sunday 66 and followed that up with a solo eighth last year.
Luke Donald (+3,000) missed the cut at the BMW PGA Championship last week but that could work in his favor for this week. He has been out of the top 25 only once on American soil this year and he had done well at Muirfield, finishing 12th in 2012, T7 in 2011, T14 in 2009 and T6 in 2008 which are his last four starts there. His last big win in the U.S. was the Accenture Match Play in 2011 so he is due.
Jason Day (+4,000) is having a solid season as he has yet to miss a cut and has four top ten finishes including a solo third at the Masters so playing against marquee competition does not faze him. He took the week off after the Nelson and while his best finish here is a T27, times have changed, He now lives in the area and he is a member at Muirfield so his course knowledge has only gotten better.
Because of all the big names in the field, Rickie Fowler (+5,000) is getting excellent odds that would make for a huge payday. Admittedly, he has been off his game of late but it is interesting to note that when he won the Well Fargo last year, we was not playing particularly well then either. That was the third of three straight top fives before a T52 at the Memorial but prior to that, he finished T22 and solo second.
For the longshot pick, we will go with Matt Every (+10,000). He has been all over the map this year but he has two things going for him. After a missed cut at the Byron Nelson, he logged a season best T4 last week at Colonial so his recent solid form is half of the strategy for a longshot pick. The other half is course success and last year he finished T6 in his first start at Muirfield.
Recommended Tournament Win Five Pack at the Memorial Tournament (all for One Unit)
Justin Rose (+2,500)
Luke Donald (+3,000)
Jason Day (+4,000)
Rickie Fowler (+5,000)
Matt Every (+10,000)
2012 Record to date after 36 events: +51.6 Units
2013 Record to date after 20 events: -4.4 Units
Hyundai Tournament of Champions -5 Units
Sony Open in Hawaii -5 Units
Humana Challenge - 5 Units
Farmer Insurance Open +3.5 Units
Waste Management Phoenix Open +19 Units
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am -5 Units
Northern Trust Open -5 Units
WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship +25.66 units
The Honda Classic -5 Units
WGC-Cadillac Championship -5 Units
Tampa Bay Championship -5 Units
Arnold Palmer Invitational -1.5 Units
Shell Houston Open -5 Units
The Masters -8 Units
RBC Heritage +27 Units
Zurich Classic of New Orleans -5 Units
The Wells Fargo Championship -5 Units
THE PLAYERS Championship -5 Units
HP Byron Nelson Championship -5 Units
Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial -5 Units