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9 Names To Watch At The Memorial

This week, the PGA Tour makes a stop at Muirfield Village for The Memorial Tournament, a designated event with virtually all the top players competing for the $20 million purse. A major renovation before the 2021 tournament added considerable length and made the track more difficult. Minor tweaks before this year’s Memorial added distance and a different look to a handful of the holes. The result is a 7,500+ yard monster that will test the top golfers in the world.

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Easy Picks For The Memorial

Patrick Cantlay

Cantlay is obviously one of the best golfers on the planet, but he takes it to another level at The Memorial. In 6 showings, Cantlay has won twice (2019 and 2021) and placed in the top-5 a total of 4 times, including a T3 last year. He’s coming off a top-10 finish at the PGA Championship a couple of weeks ago, so the game is apparently in good shape. The underlying stats look great, too.

Scottie Scheffler

It’s hard to say a T3 finish is a disappointment, but I think we’re at that point with Scottie. He was lights out, finishing the week 3rd in Total Strokes Gained. That doesn’t tell the whole story, though. Scottie was 1st in SG Tee to Green, 1st in SG Off the Tee, 4th in SG Approach, 10th in SG Around the Green, and 70th in SG Putting. SEVENTIETH. Not a typo. Also, not typical with the best player on the planet. My guess is that he’ll figure the putter out and set the pace at the Memorial.

John Rahm

Rahm is an easy pick this week. He’s fared well at the Memorial, finishing top 10 a year ago and winning it in 2020. He obviously plays the course well. He’s coming off a disappointing finish at the PGA (T50), but the guys at the top of the rankings tend to figure it out. Rahm struggled with the driver at Oak Hill, but he’s had a week to get it right. 

Sleeper Picks For The Memorial

Rickie Fowler

The missed cut at the PGA hurts, but check out Rickie’s last 10 finishes this year outside of that tournament: T6, T14, T15, T10, T17, T13, T31, T20, T10, T11. Not bad, right? The MC at the PGA seems to be the outlier here, and that was due to a 2-day stretch where his putting was uncharacteristically awful (-1.27 SG Putting, which is by far his worst showing this year). Rickie’s finished 2nd at The Memorial a couple of times, so maybe a win isn’t out of reach.

Sahith Theegala

Theegala has been an up-and-down player this year, with finishes that range from a T4 at the Farmers Insurance Open to a 74th place finish at THE PLAYERS Championship. He’s coming off a rough stretch (T23, T56, T40), but he finished top 5 last year at the Memorial. And that was with a horrible week on the greens (45th in SG Putting). The putter is more consistent this year, and his chances at the Memorial shoot up if putts are dropping.

Tyrell Hatton

Hatton makes the list because he just seems to be a guy that’s hanging around the top of leaderboards lately. He’s coming off of 4 top 20 finishes, including a couple of top 5’s. The underlying numbers show that his hot streak is sustainable, and the guy seems to have the moxie to keep it together on Sunday afternoon if he’s in contention.

Missing The Cut For The Memorial

Jordan Spieth

He’s fun to watch when he’s on, and his endless commentary about his own game makes him fun to pull for. But after four top 5 finishes early in the year, he’s struggling lately. Spieth is coming off of 2 MCs in his last 3 tournaments. The underlying numbers back it up. In those 2 MCs, he was -4.59 in SG Total.

Viktor Hovland

Last week, I wrote about Viktor making some great improvements in his game around the green. Well, it turns out that was a lie. Sorry about that!  At the Charles Schwab, Hovland went back to losing strokes to the field in his approaches and in his game around the green. Until he gets those issues fixed, I’d stay away.

Rory McIlroy

As I type his name, I’m already regretting listing him in the “Missing The Cut” category. Rory is the caliber of player that can turn it around in an instant, but the last time we saw him, he’d developed a 2-way miss off the tee, and that typically spells disaster. He’s already won and added a couple of top-5 finishes this year, but he’s also missed cuts at THE PLAYERS and the Masters. Nobody would fault you for picking Rory this week at the Memorial, but I’d like to see him work out the kinks, first.

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