This past weekend Kevin Na stole the show with his third PGA victory. Na played a beautiful Sunday round (-4) at the Charles Schwab Challenge to take home the trophy. Even though I didn’t expect him to rise to the top this week he had been playing much better of late.
Many of the big names in the tournament dropped out early with missed cuts and withdrawals (Xander, Fowler, Bryson, Rahm, and Casey) which left the tournament wide open. Since he has changed his style of play and sped up his game Na is actually fun to watch play. Congratulations to him on a well-deserved victory.
On to one of my favorite tournaments, outside of the majors, the Memorial Tournament.
There is just something special about seeing Jack Nicklaus shake the winner’s hand on Sunday afternoon. I have personally walked this course, as a spectator at the President’s Cup 2013, and TV does not do justice to the difficulty these golfers will face.
Some key course aspects per @SmartGolfBets; undulating greens, undulating parklands, need accuracy more than distance off the tee, rough is penal, 77 bunkers, water in play on 11 holes, one of the tougher tests on tour, shotmaker’s course. This sounds pretty familiar to what we had last week.
As I will mention each week, there are a couple of different ways to look at who might contend at a tournament in any given week. The most popular is a current form (recent strong finishes in tournaments), statistics (generally a combination of important Strokes Gained data), and course history (play well at a particular course). Truly, some combination of these three would be the best way to determine contenders. In the end, however, we never truly know, we are just trying to make educated guesses.
I want to give a few golfers from each of these main categories that could contend at this year’s Memorial Tournament. First off we will look at ten golfers that have current form. This will be based solely on their recent performance in the last six tournaments on the tour schedule (although they could show up in other categories as well).
As for this group, it would seem Cantlay, Kuchar, Finau, and McIlroy have the best opportunity to contend for the title. Finau is coming off of a great performance last week where he actually putted well. If he keeps that hot putter going he has a shot. Spieth showed last week that great putting can mask other issues. The rough is too tough to play from here and I wouldn’t expect performance on the greens like that again. I love the Rory Sabbatini story of late and another top 10 or top 20 is not unreasonable the way he has played of late.
Next is a list of ten players with strong statistical data. These players come from a ranking list which is determined by a weighted Strokes Gained stats. Those stats include SG: Ball-striking, SG: Approach, SG: Tee to Green, Birdies or Better (BoB), Bogey Avoidance, and Greens in Regulation (GIR). There are a few other ancillary stats thrown in and they are weighted from a couple of different timeframes as well. Rankings are looked at and weighted over the player’s last 12 rounds and last 50 rounds. I use Fantasy National to help easily choose stats that are relevant and rank players.
I really like Woodland from this group. He has the skill to play here and has shown that with some strong finishes at the Memorial. Woodland is another one of those golfers that if he can just have an average week putting he will be on top of the leaderboard. Every player in this stats data ranking has a strong case to fair well at this tournament. Connors, Kokrak, Grillo, and Bradley will likely not contend to win but I do see the possibility of strong finishes from these players.
Lastly, here are ten golfers with a strong history at Muirfield Village GC.
A lot of familiar names on this list of tournament success. Several of these names have shown up in the other two categories. Two interesting names on this list are An and Dufner. An has been a stalwart on the stats data list most of the season. His major downfall is putting but he also tends to spray it off the tee a bit. If he has to play from the rough he won’t last long. Dufner has come from nowhere to compete at this tournament in the past. This year he has actually been playing pretty well coming in. We could see these two lurking come Sunday.
As I will say each week, there are certainly many other golfers to consider for contention in this tournament. This gives you a quick glance at some guys that could be in contention come Sunday based on particular information. Once again, the best method to narrow things down would be to take a combination of factors into consideration. There are many in the golf betting/fantasy community that look very strongly at one of these methods over any others. Some discount methods completely. There is always a debate as to whether course history is really a thing.
This is a coveted win for golfers as this is Jack’s tournament. Spring has been very wet in Ohio and that will help make these greens very receptive. For those that hit fairways, it could lead to low scores. For those playing from thick, wet rough it will be a tough week. From the top of the betting board, I will be looking at Cantlay and Kuchar. In the middle of the pack I will be looking at Bradley, An, Kang, and Sabbatini, not necessarily to win but to be in the mix. Deep on the board, I will look at Dufner and Connors. For players not on any of these lists, I will be looking at Fowler (22/1) at the top of the board, Charlie Hoffman (80/1) from the middle, and Streelman (100/1) from deeper on the board.