The PGA Tour shifts to Dublin, Ohio for the Memorial Tournament running from Thursday, May 30 through Sunday, June 2. Seven of the top 10 golfers in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) are in attendance at the Jack Nicklaus-designed course this week, including 2018 champion Bryson DeChambeau (8th in OWGR, +3300 odds) and 2019 Masters champ Tiger Woods (5th, +1200). All but one of the past nine winners are also listed as in this week’s field.
The course: Muirfield Village Golf Club
Muirfield is a test of length at 7,392 yards. It’s a par 72 with two par 3s and two par 5s on each nine. Layups are forced off most tees, but wide fairways are extremely forgiving and allow players to spray the ball more than normal. The rough, however, can be extremely long and difficult. (Speaking of long rough, the US Open is in two more weeks. Look for our preview next week).
The Muirfield course is covered in both water and sand with 13 water hazards and 73 bunkers throughout the grounds. The greens are small but extremely fast, but putting hasn’t been overly important to previous success at Muirfield. Six par 4s measure in between 450-500 yards. The par-5 11th is the longest hole on the course at 567 yards and two par 3s top 200 with the other two coming in at 184 and 185 yards.
Key stats to consider for the Memorial Tournament
The average Official World Golf Ranking of the nine most recent winners (dating back to 2010) was 58.8 entering the week of their victory. Just Steve Stricker (7) in 2011, Woods (7) in 2012, and Matt Kuchar (9) in 2013 came from inside the top 10 in the world. David Lingmerth won the event in 2015 while ranked 212th.
The stats best associated with prior finishes near the top of the leaderboard are Strokes Gained: Ball Striking, Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, Greens in Regulation Gained, Strokes Gained: Par 5, and Par 4 Efficiency: 450-500 Yards, according to historical data from Fantasy National.
My model this week puts the strongest emphasis on SG: Ball Striking and SG: Off-the-Tee while looking at the most recent 24 rounds for each player in the field.
The Memorial Tournament: Sleepers and value bets
Vegas returned to Muirfield Village in 2018 after a one-year absence following a missed cut in 2016. He finished T40 last year but has picked up three top 10s in his 17 events this season. He’s third in the field in SG: OTT and 19th on Tour in Driving Distance.
He was T31 at last week’s Charles Schwab Challenge following a missed cut at the PGA Championship. He’s held on to his spot near No. 80 in the OWGR since finishing T3 at The Players Championship, which vaulted him up from No. 116.
Mitchell ranks ninth overall in this week’s stat model, with his main strengths coming in SG: BS and SG: OTT. A long hitter, he’s fifth in the field in Par 4 Efficiency from the selected distance and ranks seventh on Tour this season in eagles per hole with four reachable par 5s awaiting him.
Mitchell missed the cut at last year’s event, but he also missed the weekend at the 2018 Honda Classic before going on to pick up his first PGA Tour victory at PGA National this year. Nicklaus led the design of both courses.
An is seventh all-time in strokes gained at Muirfield Village despite playing fewer rounds than all those above him and each of the next five who trail him, according to DataGolf. And three of the golfers with more strokes gained are previous champions. He was T2 here last year, and the player he tied with, Kyle Stanley, is priced much lower at +8000. An also collected a T25 in 2017 and a T11 in 2016.
A neck injury possibly factored into a missed cut at the RBC Heritage, before he withdrew from the Wells Fargo Championship and missed another cut at the PGA Championship, but he was able to churn out a 68th-place finish last week.
The 27-year-old is still searching for his first PGA Tour victory but collected two top 10s this season before his recent less-than-stellar stretch.
The Memorial Tournament: The winner
Woodland trails only world No. 4 Rory McIlroy in SG: BS and SG: OTT out of all players in the field. The 35-year-old has made the cut in four of the past five years, picking up a top finish of T4 in 2016.
He sat out last week’s event following his T8 at the PGA Championship. It was his second consecutive top 10 in the event and improved his streak to seven straight made cut in Majors. His most recent PGA win was at last year’s Waste Management Open.