THE Jack Nicklaus-designed Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, was named after the great man’s favourite Open Championship course in the east of Scotland.
It was built in 1974 on 240 wooded acres with wide fairways but the rough at times can be penal and the small greens are fast and undulating. Driving accuracy and GIR could be important with strokes gained:putting.
Muirfield Village is well known as a second shot course but to get a chance of a good second shot you need to be accurate off the tee and putt well. So on that basis Driving Accuracy, GIR and Strokes gained:putting are the stats I’ll be looking at.
Discounting big DJ because of his price so my main selection is Rickie Fowler. His form over the last two tournaments has been dire (MC at the Zurich Classic and T60 at the Players) but as I’ve said a few times class will eventually come through.
Before his creditable T11 at The Masters, Fowler had finished in the top six five times from eight outings. Look at his stats for the last two tournaments and nothing jumps out as being a problem. I have no hesitation in taking him this week to win The Memorial. DA: 66.18% (28th) GIR: 68.95% (29th) SG: Putting: .725 (7th)
I thought long and hard about taking Kevin Kisner again after tipping him last week when he won at Colonial at 28-1. But checking back to last year when he won his first tournament at the RSM he still held it together with two top-10 finishes.
His game last week was exceptional and the pressure was on when he went through the green at the 72nd hole and John Rahm was putting for a birdie. His pitch landed around 4 feet from the hole and he held his nerve to take the title. Finished T8 here in 2015 and can handle the course. DA: 69.05% (13th) GIR: 67.05% (55) SG: Putting: .412 (31st)
Who would have thought Jordan Spieth at this time of the season would have missed three cuts. Although he hasn’t been on the best of form he has won once (AT&T) and has finished in the top five on five occasions.
Recently his driving accuracy has been off, especially last week when it was way down to 44.64%. But his GIR (61.11%) and especially SG:Putting (1.243) helped him into contention, as he finished T2 with Rahm. Finished T3 here in 2015. DA: 58.13 (130) GIR: 71.35% (4th) SG:Putting: .408 (32)
1.5pts ew Rickie Fowler (Betfair, 30-1)
1.5pts ew Kevin Kisner (Ladbrokes, 40-1)
1.5pts ew Jordan Spieth (Coral, 12-1)