Whom you should bet on and roster for this week's Memorial Tournament, which features an elite field of PGA Tour stars.
The PGA Tour heads back to Jack’s place this week for one of the most popular events on the PGA Tour, the Memorial Tournament. Jack Nicklaus will once again play host at Muirfield Village Golf Club, where he’ll welcome a loaded field with 12 of the top 20 players in the world teeing it up.
Tiger Woods returns to action for the first time since missing the cut at the PGA Championship, and what better place for Tiger to get back to work than Muirfield Village, where he’s won five times. Woods hasn’t tasted victory at the Memorial since 2012, and he finished T23 last year in his first start at the tournament since 2015.
Along with Tiger, Justin Thomas is set to return from the wrist injury that knocked him out of the PGA Championship. This week will mark JT’s first event since finishing T12 at the Masters.
Bryson DeChambeau is the defending champion after outlasting Byeong Hun An and Kyle Stanley in a playoff a year ago. The win kick started a huge season for DeChambeau, who went on to win three more events in the five months following his Memorial title.
Nuts and bolts
Course: Muirfield Village Golf Club (7,392 yards, par 72)
Defending champion: Bryson DeChambeau (-15, 273) playoff over Byeong Hun An and Kyle Stanley
Weather forecast: Partly cloudy with temperatures in the mid 70s. Chance of thunderstorms Thursday and Sunday.
Patrick Cantlay (16/1, $11,000)
Cantlay continues to be my pick as the next breakthrough star on the PGA Tour. After a T9 at the Masters, he finished T3 at the RBC Heritage and then again at the PGA Championship. It’s a stretch that has seen eight of his last 10 stroke-play rounds finish under par. Statistically, Cantlay ranks 14th in strokes gained approach and 46th in strokes gained putting. He also a perfect 2/2 in cuts at Muirfield Village, where he finished T4 a year ago, just one shot out of a playoff.
Hideki Matsuyama (18/1, $10,700)
Matsuyama is undeniably one of the finest ballstrikers on tour. His short game is also tight, and tee-to-green Hideki has always been elite. The issue for him has always been his putting. It’s an Achilles heal, though one that appears to be trending upward. Over his last two events, the PGA and Byron Nelson, Matsuyama has had two of his best putting weeks of the season. In fact his strokes gained putting numbers at the PGA Championship were his best since last year’ss FedEx Cup playoffs. He ranks inside the top 10 in strokes gained approach and strokes gained tee-to-green this year—combine that with his successful history at Muirfield Village (a win, and two top 15s) and Matsuyama may be ready to return to the winner circle for the first time since August 2017.
Henrik Stenson (55/1, $10,200)
Take a guy who hits nearly 70% of his fairways and ranks first in strokes gained approach, and you’d think he’d have won at Jack’s place. Stenson’s propensity for splitting fairways with his 3-wood makes him the perfect fit for Muirfield Village.
After failing to crack the top 40 in four previous attempts at the Memorial, Stenson returned after a four-year hiatus to finish T13 a year ago. His game is showing signs of life after four consecutive rounds in the 60’s at the Byron and a second-round 68 at beastly Bethpage Black.
Peter Uihlein (90/1, $8,600)
Uihlein finished fifth a year ago at Muirfield, just two strokes behind Dechambeau. Where he lacks in iron accuracy, he makes up for with his putter. Uihlein ranks 27th in strokes gained on the greens and has been putting well above his season averages over the last two weeks. A T5 at the Byron Nelson followed by a T13 at Colonial leads you to believe Uihlein’s game is starting to round into form right in time for the Memorial.
Justin Thomas (18/1, $11,600)
Wrist injuries for golfers are finicky and JT’s is concerning. The severity of Thomas’ injury is unknown, but the fact that it kept him out of the PGA Championship, a major he has won and is near and dear to him, leads you to believe it’s a big problem. Yes, JT will give it a go this week, but I’d shy away from him until we see that the wrist can withstand a full tournament. The first sign of discomfort, Thomas could shut it down, which would in turn shut down your week of DFS golf.