WHAT will it take to win the Memorial Tournament?

Without doubt the key stat is Driving Accuracy. Although the fairways are fairly generous missing them spells disaster and at a ranking of 17th last year, Tiger Woods was the first winner in eight years to rank outside the top 10 for fairways hit.

This is again one of those weeks where accuracy will win over power and a good scrambling game won't go amiss. The last four players to top the scrambling stats at the event have finished in the top five.

In-Play Tactics

The front nine is much easier than the back nine and it's a case of making your score early and hanging on. Two years ago Steve Stricker went on to win the event despite playing the back nine in four over and he failed to make a single birdie there all weekend.

This is yet another event where a fast start is essential. In the last 15 years, only Woods and Jim Furyk have managed to win the event from any further back than four shots after day one.

But that's a really bizarre stat, given that five of the last six winners were at least three back with a round to go.

If recent history is anything to go by it might just be worth taking on the third-round leader. They used to have a solid record but only one of the last six (Stricker in 2012) has managed to do hold on for victory.

Stricker won by a single stroke, having led by three through 54 holes, but the other five winners since 2006 had all been at least three back with a round to go.

KJ Choi, in 2007, was fully five back, Kenny Perry, a year later, three and the other three all trailed by four with a round to go.

Muirfield Village has a strong finish and given the above record of third-round leaders, anyone who gets into the house either leading, tied for the lead, or even one back, may be worth backing.

Last year, holes 16, 17 and 18 ranked 1st, 4th and 5th hardest and in 2011 they ranked the three hardest on the course. Unsurprisingly, the four long holes, 5, 7, 11 and 15 consistently rank as the four easiest.

Market Leaders

There's no doubt or debate surrounding who should be favourite this week, the only question is what price should he be?

Defending champion Woods has won four of the seven PGA Tour events he's played this season and he's won this event five times in 13 attempts. His victory last time out at the Players Championship was particularly noteworthy as his record at the host course, Sawgrass, was ordinary.

Second favourite Rory McIlroy's performance at Wentworth last week, where he missed the cut for the second year in a row, was much maligned but I wouldn't read that much into it.

He got the worst of the draw and has a poor record in the event anyway and I expect a much improved effort this week. He missed the cut here last year but prior to that had shown a liking to the course. Tied 10th on debut was a decent effort in 2010 and he led after day one 12 months later before going on to finish fifth.

Selections

When Woods took the title 12 months ago, thanks largely to this incredible birdie on the hardest hole on the course, the par-three 16th, he did so when seemingly out of form.

How quickly things change. Luke Donald, who missed the cut by miles at Wentworth last week, was the favourite here last year. This time around he's available at 50.0 and given how poor he played in Surrey last week that's not overly generous.

Tiger has shortened up all week so far but that's only because he opened up too big. Given all the evidence we have, if this event was played out three times, Tiger would win it at least once and I believe anything over 3.0 is still fair.

I totally understand taking a shade over 3.0 about anyone prior to the off in a competitive PGA Tour event is not everyone's cup of tea but I thought he was a fair price on Sunday and early on Monday, so I've got him on board at a decent wager.

My only other selection is Rickie Fowler, who has already hit the front here twice in three years. The orange-clad wonderboy is always seen at his best on the toughest of venues and I can see him contending again this week at a sporting price.

Selections

Tiger Woods @ 3.7
Rickie Fowler @ 70.0

Milesey (Betfair)

4 Comments
  1. Milesey 7 years ago

    Branden Grace. Here we have a 25 year-old who has been prolific over the past year or so, winning four Race to Dubai titles. On the evidence so far, he is the best emerging prospect from a top golfing nation that has churned out a stream of major winners in the past decade. He’s in good form, reaching the World Match Play semis and following up with a top-25 at Wentworth, saving his best round for last.

    That resume sounds like a 50.0 chance at best, yet we can get a mammoth 190.0 about Grace winning the Memorial Tournament. Perhaps punters are worried that he hasn’t yet transferred that top-notch European form to the States, but 18th place at the Masters was a superb debut effort and 25th on last season’s Memorial debut was tidy enough too. Keep backing Grace at anything like these odds and you’ll do well in the long-term.

    Likewise, Russell Henley was all the rage after winning his first start as a fully qualified PGA Tour player, yet is now back at odds of 300.0. He’d shown enough beforehand, and bits and pieces since, to strongly suggest that Sony Open win was no fluke. Henley has particularly impressed in the short-game department and those skills are essential to succeed on this course. The fact he’s making his Muirfield Village debut is a negative, but many other top-class youngsters have performed well at Muirfield Village so don’t let that put you off too much.

    The trading plan is to stake 2.5 units on the pair, then place a relatively unambitious lay order at 20.0 to bank profit, then again at 3.0. If either just hits the first target, we’ll quadruple our money.

    Recommended Bets
    Back Branden Grace @ 190.0
    Back Russell Henley @ 300.0

    Milesey

    • Milesey 7 years ago

      THREE BALL PICKS
      —————————

      It’s a biggie on the PGA Tour this week as Tiger returns to action at Muirfield Village – Trio of picks from Thursday’s eye-catching three-balls

      Sang Moon Bae stands out as the outsider of his first round three-ball with Nick Watney and DA Points. Bae won two weeks ago at the Byron Nelson and his accurate iron-play should be rewarded at Muirfield Village. On his only previous appearance here, Bae withdrew after his first round 79, but that can be forgiven as it came during a period of 2012 when the South Korean was struggling with a shoulder injury. Watney and Points both missed the cut last year anyway.

      Matt Kuchar didn’t do too much wrong last week in coming second to an inspired Boo Weekley at Colonial. ‘Kuch’ is in fine form and has an excellent record at Muirfield village in recent years; he has a favourite’s chance of outscoring fellow Americans Webb Simpson and Hunter Mahan on day one.

      It’s hard to justify Dustin Johnson’s position as favourite in his three-ball with Kevin Streelman and Chris Kirk. Johnson has been struggling with injuries and has barely played during the past three months. Last time we saw DJ he withdrew from the Players following a first round 74, but it’s safe to say the American isn’t letting his time off the course get him down. However, at the moment I feel our money is safer backing one of his playing partners and at the prices I will go with Chris Kirk who was 25th here last year and 35th last week. Kevin Streelman makes up the three-ball.

      Recommended Bets
      Back Sang Moon Bae @ 3.2
      Back Matt Kuchar @ 2.3
      Back Chris Kirk @ 3.0

      Milesey

      ( betfair )

  2. jasper 7 years ago

    Is sergio kfc bucket playing? ??

  3. daryl cruickshank 7 years ago

    Looking for more golfing success after Matteo Manassero won for me last week.

    Nordea
    Broberg, Donaldson, Aiken and Canizares

    Memorial
    Streelman, Fowler, Stenson and Mahan

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