With five events in the books since the COVID-19 shutdown, the PGA will remain in Dublin, Ohio for the Memorial Tournament. When the coronavirus pandemic forced the shutdown of the sports world, the PGA came up with the decision to scrap the John Deere and instead host back-to-back tournaments at Muirfield Village Golf in consecutive weeks.
The PGA, which was planning to make the Memorial the first tournament of the adjusted schedule to have fans in stands, amended those intentions they announced last week. However, BBC Sport has confirmed that there will be no fans allowed for any events for the remainder of the season due to the coronavirus spike across the country:
"These decisions are never easy," said Tour Championship executive director Allison Fillmore, adding it was the, "best decision for all involved".
Many of the star players appear to be in agreement with the PGA’s decision to prohibit fans for the remainder of the season due to the pandemic:
“With everything going on and the health and safety concerns and everything that the Tour has done up to this point, I've got to stand with them as far as saying it's the right decision, and I think we're seeing that there's been some more spikes and nothing has necessarily calmed down,” Rickie Fowler told Golf Channel last weekend at Muirfield Village.
Bryson DeChambeau, who won the Memorial back in 2018, will make his return after sitting out the Workday Open following his win in the Rocket Mortgage Classic two weeks back. Patrick Cantlay, who won last year's Memorial Tournament, will be among a strong contingent of players ranked in the 2020 FedEx Cup standings teeing off.
The Memorial Tournament Details:
Dates: July 16–19, 2020
Course: Muirfield Village Golf Club, Dublin, Ohio
TV: GOLF Channel; CBS
Memorial Tournament Field
Buckle up! All five top players in the World Golf Rankings: Rory McIIroy, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson and Webb Simpson will all be in action this week for the Memorial, headlining an absolutely loaded field. World No. 1 McIlroy leads a cast of nine of the top 10 in the world, returning to the links for the first time since his T11 finish at the Travelers Championship back on June 28.
Bryson DeChambeau (+1180) who is easily the hottest golfer on Tour sits atop the Circa Sports odds board. Following DeChambeau closely are Justin Thomas (+1300), Rory McIIroy (+1300), Patrick Cantlay (+1500), Dustin Johnson (+1800), John Rahm (+2220) and Viktor Hovland (+2400).
It should also be noted that Tiger Woods, a five-time winner of the Memorial Tournament, will make his long-awaited return to the links this week after sitting out the first five events since the Tour’s return and is listed at attractive odds of +3000.
Our team of gambling experts has compiled their approach to the Workday Charity Open from a betting perspective. In addition, located below is sharp wagering information from both Vegas and London, England.
Let’s take a look at the odds as well as the team’s best bets and more!
Memorial Tournament Predictions and Best Bets
Frankie Taddeo, SI Gambling & Fantasy Analyst / Vegas Insider (@Frankie_Fantasy)
The Memorial Tournament Sharp Action Breakdown
Metric Gaming’s Golf Desk located in London, England has been on fire with sharp picks since the PGA’s return. At the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial, they just missed out on a top spot score as Colin Morikawa (40/1) lost in a heart-breaker to Daniel Berger in a sudden-death playoff. They followed it up with a superb value play of Tyrell Hatton (56/1) who finished T3 in the RBC Heritage, coupled with a roll-back on Hatton (18/1) who turned in a solid T4 finish in the Rocket Mortgage Classic. The sharps in the UK continued their outstanding run last week as Victor Hovland (30/1) turned in a solid third-place finish in the Workday Charity Open shooting 15-under par.
According to Daniel Banham, Director of Trading, the Memorial this week has the feel of a Major thanks in part to the star-packed field of players.
“With all the big boys playing this week the Memorial has all the feelings of a Major in many respects, despite not classifying as one. The tournament this week has that kind of feel for sure, especially with Tiger’s return to action.”
There are three players the UK sharps have their sights set on this week in Ohio.
“Our model really likes Patrick Cantlay (+1600), who now has four more rounds at one of his favorite courses under his belt. He has a strong affection for this course and our projections have him regarded as the strongest play this week.
We refuse to give up on Viktor Hovland (+2400) who we feel is truly destined for big things. We just missed out on hitting the “sweeping the board” in his wagering when he finished third in last week’s Workday Charity Open, but we cashed on his Top 5, Top 10 and Top 20 wagering. The young Norweigan has moxy and most importantly is in tremendous physical condition. Like most athletes in superb shape he appears to only get better as tournaments go on.
Finally, our long shot play for the Memorial lands upon Joaquin Niemann (+7500) who has taken his short game to another level and is putting fantastic once he gets on the green. At such attractive odds, our model has identified Niemann as extreme value for those looking for a huge payday.”
In addition, Banham highlighted a 72-hole matchup play that is worthy of garnering attention from sports bettors: Abraham Ancer (-135) over Patrick Reed.
Metric Gaming’s Player to Win: Patrick Cantlay (+1600)
Cantlay checks in at No. 10 in World Rankings, and is fresh off a T7 performance last week at the Workday Charity Open. He has three Top 10 finishes this season, coupled with seven consecutive Top 17 efforts, and is primed for a big week according to the sharps from across the pond. The sharps are anticipating the reigning Champion of the Memorial to make it back-to-back wins in 2020.
Metric Gaming’s Sharp Value Play: Viktor Hovland (+2400)
Hovland moved up to No. 33 in the world and offers tremendous value; especially if he is able to stay in the same form we witnessed last week with his third place finish in the Workday Charity Open. Metric Gaming sees tremendous value in a golfer who has three consecutive top 12 finishes, with five straight top 23 efforts since the PGA restart.
Metric Gaming’s Longshot Play: Joaquin Niemann (+7500)
Niemann, who ranks No. 64, comes in at healthy 75/1 odds. He has three top 10 finishes this season and made the cut in four of the PGA events he has participated in since the PGA returned on June 11th with the Charles Schwab Challenge. In those events, the Chilean star has finished no worse than T32 in three of the four events; highlighted by a T5 finish in the RBC Heritage.
Vegas Whispers & Beyond
What a Score!
All readers this week at Sports Illustrated are being treated to a guest sharp betting expert who won over one million dollars last week wagering on the PGA. A sports bettor, who goes by the name @CashoutKingJ on Twitter, won $1.1 million at @BetRivers Casino when Collin Morikawa took down the Workday Charity Open.
Can he Repeat the Win?
This week “Cashout King” shared that his top selection for the Memorial Tournament is Dustin Johnson at odds of +1800.
We last saw Johnson on the links winning the Travelers Championship back on June 28. The No. 4 ranked player in the world, who has three top-ten finishes this season, is the top target of the Illinois sharp bettor as he looks to “Beat the ‘Book” for the second consecutive week in spectacular fashion.
Tiger and Bryson Getting Attention At Circa Sports
“Early money on Bryson DeChambeau has driven him down to the prohibitive favorite. We’ve also seen interest in Tiger Woods as well at odds of both 26/1 and 22/1,” said Circa Sports Operations Manager Jeffrey Benson.
Woods Money Pouring In At BetMGM
A spokesman for BetMGM reached out to SI Gambling to let us know that over “over 20% all bets placed and over 20% of all stakes taken” have been placed on Tiger Woods for the Memorial.
Shawn Childs, SI Gambling & Fantasy Analyst (@Shawn__Childs)
PLAYERS TO WIN:
Bryson DeChambeau (+1180)
Winning in back-to-back events played on the PGA Tour is extremely difficult, but DeChambeau looks to be on a mission. His play has been sensational over his last seven events (95 under par over 28 rounds), leading to a win and six other top eight finishes. I expect him to dominate on the par 5s plus gain a substantial edge on the other three long par 4s (10th - 480 yards, 17th - 480 yards, and 18th - 481 yards). All three of these holes expect to rank in the top five in most difficult scoring this week. Rising star who got the monkey off his back at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Brooks Koepka (+2700)
After stumbling out of the gate on Thursday (74) at the Work Day event, Koepka showed some fight in his game with 69 on Friday while still missing the cut by a stroke. His play has been sharp since the layoff, leading to nine rounds under par over ten trips around the golf course. Since the fall of 2016, Koepka picked up six wins over 71 events, which included four majors. He looks fully recovered from his knee injury that required surgery last October. An excellent overlay on odds here.
BEST VALUE PLAY:
Jordan Spieth (+8500)
At the end of the week, Spieth may or may not have a win on the PGA Tour for three years. A fantasy investor will get him at his longest odds since 2014. As disappointing as his path may look, his game has been trending forward since the return of golf.. Over the last month, he is 21 under par over 252 holes with 13 rounds or par or better. I expect Spieth to be in the hunt on Sunday, and I’m banking on his finding his lost magic while being overlooked as a top threat in the event. Over the last five seasons, Spieth played well three times (3rd, 7th, and 13th).
Danny Willett (+14500)
I almost used Willett as a long shot option for the Workday event last week after playing well at Muirfield in 2019 (27th). He responded with a fourth place finish after playing well over his final three rounds (68, 67, and 66). Despite missing three cuts in June, Willett showed improvement each week (143, 140, and 139) while shooting only one round over par (+1 at the Charles Schwab Challenge). Last summer he flashed in back-to-back events on the PGA Tour (US Open - 12th and Open Championship - 6th), which shows his upside potential when on his game.
Ben Heisler, SI Gambling & Fantasy Analyst / Editor (@bennyheis)
PLAYERS to win:
Jon Rahm (+2200)
Rahm was a fade for me last week both in daily fantasy as well as on the odds board. He had been above average, but to spend in that price range in a weaker field just didn’t make sense for cash.
Now, his odds may be the lowest it’s been this year and he’s coming off a T27 finish at Muirfield a week ago. Rahm finished with a 64 on Sunday, the lowest round on the course for that day with 10 birdies. I’ll buy on him starting to put it together at the most opportune time.
Xander Schauffele (+2800)
Schauffele is seventh in his last 50 rounds in strokes gained: total, as well as top 11 in both tee-to-green and ball striking. After a 64th place finish at the RBC Heritage, he’s gone top 20 at the Travelers and 14th at the Workday Charity Open last week.
I have a little concern with his approach around the green (102nd ranked over his last 24 rounds), but his putter has been top-15. With all the big names available this week, I think someone of his caliber is being a bit overlooked, and I won’t be one of them.
BEST VALUE PLAYS:
Abraham Ancer (+4500)
Since the restart, Ancer has finished 14th at the Charles Schwab, 2nd at the RBC Heritage, and 11th at the Travelers before taking the last few weeks off for the Rocket Mortgage Classic as well as the Workday Charity Open.
On the season, he’s both 11th in SG: tee-to-green as well as SG: approach, and 12th in SG: total. Since the restart, Ancer is number one on Tour in shots gained: approach with Viktor Hovland and Justin Thomas (top three finishers last week at Muirfield) behind him.
As evidenced by his recent string of results, 45/1 odds feels like tremendous value.
Sungjae Im (+6200)
At one point earlier this season, the golf community was talking about Im the same way we were mentioning DeChambeau, Morikawa and Berger. He has six top 10 finishes on the Tour in 2020 including a win at the Honda Classic and is third in FedEx Cup scoring.
The 22-year old is incredibly streaky and went from -1 on the final day to a +5 final score at Muirfield. His triple-bogeyed at the sixth hole and then just collapsed with four more bogeys on the back nine by the time he was fully out of contention. Now that he knows the course, I expect far better approaches and putts from Im which have been his Achilles heel over the last several weeks, despite making three straight cuts. He is as high-upside and high risk of a play as you can get.
Note: Read Ben’s full list of values and longshots for the Memorial Tournament HERE.
Shane Lowry (+14500)
Lowry is getting himself back on track after missing the cut in his first two events after the restart. He finished 60th at the Travelers and then 39th last week at the Workday. His game around-the-green is really starting to come back into shape, ranking 24th over the last 24 rounds.
I also like targeting longshot golfers when they’re placed in a featured grouping on Tour for a little added motivation. In this case, Lowry gets matched up with Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson for this week.
Troy Merritt (+22500)
Merritt finished 17th at the Memorial last season and is coming off 22nd last week in the Workday. He’s made the cut four consecutive weeks and has been excellent over the last weeks with his short game and putting; ranking 22nd and 17th respectively. As we saw down the stretch last week, putting played a factor at Muirfield. That’s not a concern for Merritt, especially as of late.
FAVORITE MATCHUP PLAY OR BEST PROP:
Sergio Garcia (-120) over Jordan Spieth (+100)
Alex White, SI Fantasy & Gambling Contributor / Full Time Fantasy (@coachwhiteDFS)
PLAYERS TO WIN:
Brooks Koepka (+2700)
Brooks made a run at the weekend with birdies in six of his last ten holes last week. Unfortunately his Thursday round put him too far behind the 8-ball. No worries, he gets another shot and this time he’s in the field with his rival (Bryson). A strong field is all the motivation Brooks needs. This is the strongest field tournament ever recorded outside of Majors. This is where Koepka shines. The odds are perfect to attack this week.
Xander Schauffele (+2800)
I'm going back to the well this week. Last week Schauffele put together a respectable weekend and finished 14th overall. He carded a 66 on Sunday to vault him up the leaderboard. The one thing you can count on Schauffele to do is finish strong. If he makes the cut, he always has a chance to win. The irons started to click and since he will be putting on the same greens he will have an advantage to help him get going early and often. Last week I was willing to bet him at 22/1, I won’t hesitate now that he is at 28/1.
BEST VALUE PLAY:
Joaquin Niemann (+7500)
Visiting this track competitively now for the fourth time. In his first three attempts his worst finish is 31st. If you can put yourself in the top 30 consistently all it will take is a few extra putts to drop to vault you into the top 10. Add in a great Sunday and bam just like that we have a winner. The value is evident this week.
Kevin Kisner (+10000)
The last time out Kisner managed a 3rd place finish at the Rocket Mortgage. He seemingly found something with his irons, he went from 4.2 strokes lost through approaches at The Travelers to 4.3 strokes gained in just a week's time at Rocket Mortgage. If he continues to hone in on his irons during his week break he will come out firing at pins. If the irons show up we can count on his putter to rack up the birdie’s and put him firmly in contention on Sunday.
Sebastian Munoz (+40000)
The kid has a win already this season. Granted in a much weaker field but a win is a win. Last week he went from shooting a 79 on Thursday to shooting a 66 on Friday to miss the cut by a few strokes. If he brings his Friday game back this week he is worth throwing a couple dollars on at a ridiculous 400/1.
Roy Larking, SI Gambling & Fantasy Contributor (@SIGambling)
BEST BET TO WIN:
Viktor Hovland (+2400)
A consistent contender, Viktor Hovland has played all five tournaments since the PGA restart and hasn’t finished lower than 23rd. Hovland finished T12 in the Rocket Mortgage Classic two weeks ago and third during the Workday Charity Open. Posting a 71 on Sunday was costly in both tournaments. Muirfield Village sets up well for Hovland, as he was first in shots gained off the tee last week. I also like Hovland finishing in the top ten overall with +230 odds at FanDuel.
BEST VALUE PLAY:
Webb Simpson (+3000)
Following a win at the RBC Heritage four weeks ago, plus an 8th place finish during the Rocket Mortgage Classic two weeks ago, Webb Simpson skipped the Workday Charity Open. Prior to the COVID-19 pause, Simpson won the Phoenix Open in February. Amongst the leaders regularly, Simpson has seven top ten finishes during his last nine tournaments. Fifth overall in the World Golf rankings, Simpson has shot 64 twice and 65 twice during his last eight rounds.
TOP 10 FINISH:
Dustin Johnson (+185)
After skipping the Workday Charity Open last week, Dustin Johnson is playing in his fourth tournament since tour play resumed. He missed the cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge and finished 17th at the RBC Heritage during his first two events. Johnson won the Travelers Championship two weeks ago and his 61 third round score was a career best. In tournaments that followed his last four PGA wins - Johnson hasn’t finished lower than 5th. Bet on a Top 10 here.
FAVORITE MATCHUP PLAY:
Justin Thomas (-120) over Rory McIlroy (+100)
World Golf Rankings leader Rory McIlroy is a head-to-head underdog against Justin Thomas who ranks third overall. Prior to skipping the last two tournaments, McIlroy posted mixed results during the Travelers Championship (11), RBC Heritage (41) and Charles Schwab Challenge (32) since the restart. Thomas finished second in a three-hole playoff against Collin Morikawa at the Workday Charity Open. Take Thomas over McIlroy on this best finishing position prop option.