Steve Bamford

Steve Bamford's Memorial Tournament Tips 2024

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memorial tournament 2024

It was great to see an emotional first PGA Tour win for Robert MacIntyre at the RBC Canadian Open last week. With his dad Dougie on the bag, ‘Bob’ produced a huge finish on Saturday to build a handy buffer and had the mental resolve to hold off Ben Griffin at a Monday best price of 100/1 with Unibet. Congratulations if you were on-board. Maverick McNealy produced a part each-way return for me at 40/1.

On the PGA Tour very little has more credence than ‘Jack’s Tournament’. The Memorial Tournament presented by Workday is always a highlight of the PGA Tour and clearly gets Signature Event status in 2024. Combine that with its reverence to the greatest Major Champion we have ever seen and the Memorial is a tournament they all want to win. A high class field is always guaranteed. With a couple of U.S. Open qualifiers in Ohio on Monday, this part of the mid-west United States is undoubtedly the epicentre of the golfing world this week.

Before we go into the detail surrounding the Memorial Tournament, we always have new visitors to Golf Betting System. Welcome and let me point you in the direction of our weekly Golf Betting System Podcast (published every Tuesday of the golfing calendar), the Steve Bamford Golf Channel on YouTube and our hugely popular, +6,300 strong, private Group on Facebook – you can Join Here.

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Course Guide: Muirfield Village GC continually develops as a golfing test and 2024 sees a 7,569 yard Par 72 set-up. This track has always been a cracker and has hosted the 1987 Ryder Cup and the 2013 Presidents Cup and is an original Nicklaus design – Jack to this day oversees all recent course development personally. As you’d expect from the pen of an 18-time Major Champion, the format stretches the world’s very best via a combination of attributes: this classical design features tree-lined fairways, tough bunkering, 13 holes with water in play and over 110 acres of primarily Kentucky bluegrass rough which tends to be thick and lush. Severely undulating Bentgrass green complexes are a true work of art with 14 of them only seen in 2021.

Muirfield Village GC, Dublin, Ohio: Designer: Jack Nicklaus 1974, latest guise established 2021; Course Type: Classical, Up-State, Long; Par: 72; Length: 7,569 yards; Holes with Water In-Play: 13; Number of Sand Bunkers: 68; Acres of Fairway: 24; Fairways: Bentgrass; Rough: Kentucky Bluegrass with ryegrass/fescue 4″; Greens: 5,000 sq.ft average featuring Bentgrass; Tournament Stimp: 11ft

Course Scoring Average:

  • 2023: 73.52 (+1.52), Difficulty Rank 5 of 49 courses.
  • 2022: 73.06 (+1.06), Difficulty Rank 8 of 50 courses.
  • 2021: 72.97 (+0.97), Difficulty Rank 10 of 51 courses.

Fairway Widths (yards): Below are the fairway widths for Muirfield Village Golf Club and how they compare to recent courses that we’ve seen on Tour:

  • Muirfield Village: 250 yards from the tee: 34 yards wide; 275:32; 300:28; 325:24; 350:27.
  • Hamilton G&CC: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:29; 300:29; 325:27; 350:28.
  • Colonial: Average 25-30 yards wide.
  • Quail Hollow: 250 yards from tee: 33 yards wide; 275:32; 300:31; 325:30; 350:29.
  • Harbour Town: 250 yards from tee: 29 yards wide; 275:26; 300:22; 325:26; 350:22.
  • Oaks Course: 250 yards from tee: 33 yards wide; 275:34; 300:29; 325:27; 350:26.
  • Memorial Park: 30–40 yards at 300 yards.
  • Copperhead: 250 yards from the tee: 24 yards wide; 275:20; 300:21; 325:23 350:19.
  • TPC Sawgrass: 250 yards from the tee: 31 yards wide; 275:32; 300:30; 325:28 350:20.
  • Bay Hill: 250 yards from the tee: 32 yards wide; 275:33; 300:33; 325:39 350:29.
  • PGA National: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:27; 300:25; 325:27 350:25.
  • Riviera: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:27; 300:26; 325:26 350:28.
  • TPC Scottsdale: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:30; 300:28; 325:27; 350:27.
  • Pebble Beach: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:33; 300:29; 325:30 350:26.
  • Torrey Pines South: 250 yards from the tee: 26 yards wide; 275:27; 300:25; 325:24; 350:23.
  • Pete Dye Stadium: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:27; 300:26; 325:26; 350:24.
  • Waialae: 250 yards from the tee: 34 yards wide; 275:32; 300:34; 325:37; 350:34.
  • Plantation Course: 250 yards from the tee: 59 yards wide; 275:61; 300:65; 325:60; 350:62.

Course Designer Links: For research purposes other Jack Nicklaus PGA Tour designs include:

  • Annandale Golf Club – Sanderson Farms Championship through 2013
  • Glen Abbey – RBC Canadian Open – 2008, 2013, 2015-2018
  • Montreux Golf & Country Club – Barracuda Championship through 2019
  • Old Greenwood GC – Barracuda Championship 2020-2023
  • PGA National – Cognizant Classic
  • PGA West – Nicklaus Private – Humana Challenge through 2015
  • PGA West – Stadium Course – The American Express
  • Sherwood Country Club – Thousand Oaks – World Challenge through 2013 + 2020 ZOZO Championship
  • The Concession – WGC Workday Championship 2021
  • Valhalla Golf Club – 2014 and 2024 PGA Championship

Course Overview: Muirfield Village has always been a great all-round classical golf test where both ball striking and short game experts can contend with equal frequency. A typical Nicklaus design, each hole gets more difficult further away from the tee so those with consistent approach play have always been able to access flatter parts of the green complexes close to hole locations. Birdies are available for those with excellent course navigation, top notch scrambling and naturally a chance-converting putter. A second-shot golf course where those who can find the right layers of the green complexes can make birdies. Put conversely, this classical design still has teeth for the wayward, poor scramblers and poor putters.

Muirfield Village since 2021 has also looked significantly different and as ever there was a certainly level of disquiet from players who did not like the tough set-up. This quote from Jack Nicklaus himself highlights the key focus of the 2020 renovation and how Muirfield Village will continue to be prepared for his tournament: “My belief is that tournament golf should be a test to find out who is the best golfer that week. Far too many tournaments have eliminated the rough and firmness of greens, and that is just not my idea of what the game of golf should be. So I am going to stick with my old-fashioned beliefs about how the game of golf should be played and the way golf courses should be set up. The whole gamut of all shots is what the game of golf is all about. The game should challenge every facet of every club in the bag.

Statistically the Muirfield Village course plays to 7,569 yards, up approaching 200 yards from the pre-2021 set-up. Most of that length was added to the par-5s with new tee boxes adding 20-30 yards to each. The par-4 1st Hole also had a new tee box added, taking that to 490 yards.

A summary of the renovation includes the fact that all greens were reconstructed with new Bentgrass, irrigation and Sub-Air systems. Most holes had their green complexes 100% re-contoured and rebuilt with significant bunker modifications. Fairway widths, which have always been generous here, were also pinched on certain holes – at around 310 yards – with all fairways featuring fresh Bentgrass fairway grass and associated Bluegrass/Ryegrass/Fescue rough.

Only green complexes on the 12th, 13th, 14th and 17th resemble the old design. All fairway and greenside bunkers were rebuilt, with fairway bunkers on the 1st, 15th and 17th strategically repositioned.

The biggest differences post-renovation were on the par-5s which used to play relatively short. New tee boxes were added to all 4 of them adding 100 yards to the scorecard. Number 5 was rebuilt in its entirety from tee to green with new fairway bunkers and extensive grade changes to the second and third shot landing zones, plus a water hazard placed in front of an entirely new green.

Player feedback has been that the course plays harder. The rough is thicker than before and many have talked about how the risk/reward element and how it has turned towards laying up rather than going for the green.

memorial tournament tips

Memorial Tournament Winners: 2023: Viktor Hovland (-7); 2022: Billy Horschel (-13); 2021: Patrick Cantlay (-13); 2020: Jon Rahm (-9); 2019: Patrick Cantlay (-19); 2018: Bryson DeChambeau (-15); 2017: Jason Dufner (-13); 2016: William McGirt (-15); 2015: David Lingmerth (-15); 2014: Hideki Matsuyama (-13); 2013: Matt Kuchar (-12); 2012: Tiger Woods (-8); 2011: Steve Stricker (-16); 2010: Justin Rose (-18).

  • 2023: Viktor Hovland 71-71-69-70 -7/281
  • 2022: Billy Horschel 70-68-65-72 -13/275 AM/PM Wave
  • 2021: Patrick Cantlay 69-67-68-71 -13/275 PM/AM Wave
  • 2020: Jon Rahm 69-67-68-75 -9/279 PM/AM Wave
  • 2019: Patrick Cantlay 69-68-68-64 -19/269 PM/AM Wave
  • 2018: Bryson DeChambeau 69-67-66-71 -15/273 AM/PM Wave

OWGR of Memorial Tournament Winners: 2023: Hovland 7; 2022: Horschel 17; 2021: Cantlay 15; 2020: Rahm 2; 2019: Cantlay 15; 2018: DeChambeau 38.

Cut Line: 2023: +3; 2022: +2; 2021: +2; 2020: +3; 2019: +1; 2018: E.

Lead Score Progression:

  • 2023: Round 1 -5; Round 2 -8; Round 3 -6; Round 4 -7.
  • 2022: Round 1 -5; Round 2 -8; Round 3 -13; Round 4 -13.
  • 2021: Round 1 -6; Round 2 -10; Round 3 -18; Round 4 -13.
  • 2020: Round 1 -6; Round 2 -9; Round 3 -12; Round 4 -9.
  • 2019: Round 1 -7; Round 2 -9; Round 3 -15; Round 4 -19.
  • 2018: Round 1 -7; Round 2 -11; Round 3 -14; Round 4 -15.

Path to Victory: Below are the end of round positions for the winners of the Memorial Tournament since 2010:

  • 2023 – Viktor Hovland: Round 1: 17th, Round 2: 18th, Round 3: 4th.
  • 2022 – Billy Horschel: Round 1: 21st, Round 2: 4th, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2021 – Patrick Cantlay: Round 1: 11th, Round 2: 2nd, Round 3: 2nd.
  • 2020 – Jon Rahm: Round 1: 5th, Round 2: 3rd, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2019 – Patrick Cantlay: Round 1: 8th, Round 2: 5th, Round 3: 3rd.
  • 2018 – Bryson DeChambeau: Round 1: 16th, Round 2: 4th, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2017 – Jason Dufner: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 3rd.
  • 2016 – William McGirt: Round 1: 44th, Round 2: 22nd, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2015 – David Lingmerth: Round 1: 5th, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 2nd.
  • 2014 – Hideki Matsuyama: Round 1: 21st, Round 2: 4th, Round 3: 3rd
  • 2013 – Matt Kuchar: Round 1: 7th, Round 2: 4th, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2012 – Tiger Woods: Round 1: 11th, Round 2: 2nd, Round 3: 4th.
  • 2011 – Steve Stricker: Round 1: 5th, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2010 – Justin Rose: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 2nd, Round 3: 4th.

Shots From the Lead: Below are the Memorial Tournament winners since 2010 and where they were positioned in terms of shots from the lead during the tournament:

  • 2023 – Viktor Hovland: Round 1: 4 back, Round 2: 8 back, Round 3: 1 back.
  • 2022 – Billy Horschel: Round 1: 3 back, Round 2: 2 back, Round 3: 5 ahead.
  • 2021 – Patrick Cantlay: Round 1: 3 back, Round 2: 2 back, Round 3: 6 back.
  • 2020 – Jon Rahm: Round 1: 3 back, Round 2: 1 back, Round 3: 4 ahead.
  • 2019 – Patrick Cantlay: Round 1: 3 back, Round 2: 2 back, Round 3: 4 back.
  • 2018 – Bryson DeChambeau: Round 1: 4 back, Round 2: 3 back, Round 3: 1 ahead.
  • 2017 – Jason Dufner: Round 1: level, Round 2: 5 ahead, Round 3: 4 back.
  • 2016 – William McGirt: Round 1: 6 back, Round 2: 6 back, Round 3: level.
  • 2015 – David Lingmerth: Round 1: 3 back, Round 2: 1 ahead, Round 3: 3 back.
  • 2014 – Hideki Matsuyama: Round 1: 7 back, Round 2: 5 back, Round 3: 2 back.
  • 2013 – Matt Kuchar: Round 1: 3 back, Round 2: 3 back, Round 3: 2 ahead.
  • 2012 – Tiger Woods: Round 1: 4 back, Round 2: 1 back, Round 3: 4 back.
  • 2011 – Steve Stricker: Round 1: 2 back, Round 2: 3 ahead, Round 3: 3 ahead.
  • 2010 – Justin Rose: Round 1: level, Round 2: 3 back, Round 3: 4 back.

Tournament Stats: We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s event that are well worth a look. Naturally they’ll help to shape a view on players who could go well this week: Current Form | Tournament Form | First Round Leader | Combined Stats.

My published predictor is available here. Top 10 of my published predictor are: Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa, Tony Finau, Corey Conners, Shane Lowry, Alex Noren, Viktor Hovland and Justin Thomas.

Our brand new predictor model is running alongside, where you can build your own rankings in live time, using the variables listed on the left hand side.

Memorial Tournament Winning Prices: 2023: Hovland 20/1; 2022: Horschel 60/1; 2021: Cantlay 22/1; 2020: Rahm 22/1; 2019: Cantlay 18/1; 2018: DeChambeau 50/1; 2017: Dufner 66/1; 2016: McGirt 200/1; 2015: Lingmerth 500/1; 2014: Matsuyama 66/1; 2013: Kuchar 22/1; 2012: Woods 16/1; 2011: Stricker 28/1; 2010: Rose 80/1. Past 5 Renewals Average: 28/1; Average: 84/1.

Historical Weather:

  • 2023: Thursday: Sunny. High of 91. Wind E 4-8 mph. Friday: Sunny. High of 93. Wind NE 6-12 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy. High of 89. Wind NE 10-18 mph. Sunday: Sunny. High of 86. Wind NE 10-18 mph.
  • 2022: Thursday: Mostly cloudy with lingering showers. Wind NW 7-12 mph. High of 71. Friday: Sunny. High of 76. Wind WNW 10-15 mph. Saturday: Sunny. High of 77. Wind NE 4-8 mph. Sunday: Partly cloudy. High of 81. Wind S 8-13 mph.
  • 2021: Thursday: Cloudy with rain. High of 72. Wind SW 10-15 mph. Play was suspended and officials decided to cease play for the day at 6:41 p.m. The morning wave of 60 players completed the round. No player of the 60 in the afternoon wave completed the round. A total of 0.95” rainfall was recorded Thursday. Friday: Cloudy, with a high of 81. Wind WSW 8-13 mph. Early-morning fog delayed the scheduled 7:30 a.m. first-round resumption until 7:53 a.m. The first round was completed at 12:40 p.m. Saturday: R2 Mostly sunny. High of 86. Wind SW 12-16 mph. Round two resumed at 8 a.m. and concluded at 9:54 a.m. R3 Mostly sunny. High of 86. Wind SW 12-16 mph. Sunday: Mostly sunny, with brief afternoon showers. High of 89. Wind SSW 10-15 mph. The final two pairings were held in place from 5:46-5:51 p.m. for a heavy rain shower.
  • 2020: Thursday: Mostly cloudy, with light rain in the morning. High of 90. Wind SW 15-25 mph. Friday: Mostly sunny. High of 90. Wind W 5-10 mph. Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high of 93. Wind SW 6-12 mph. Sunday: Mostly sunny with intermittent showers. High of 96. Wind SW 15-25 mph, with gusts to 30 mph. Due to a dangerous weather situation, play was suspended at 3:41 p.m. and resumed at 4:30 p.m. (49-minute delay).
  • 2019: Thursday: Partly cloudy with scattered showers. High of 72. Wind SW 10-20 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy. High of 79. Wind NW 5-10 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy. High of 82. Wind WSW 10-18 mph. Sunday: Cloudy. High of 70. Wind NW 12-22 mph.
  • 2018: Thursday: Partly cloudy. High of 88. Wind SW 10-15 mph, with gusts to 20 mph. Friday: Overcast with scattered showers and an afternoon thunderstorm which caused a 1 hour, 28-minute delay. High of mid-80s. Wind WNW 5-10 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy. High of 80. Wind N 10-15 mph. Sunday: Cloudy. High of 81. Wind W 10-15 mph, with gusts of 25 mph.
  • 2017: Thursday: Mostly sunny skies in the morning became partly cloudy in the afternoon with a high of 77. Wind W 8-16 mph. Friday: Mostly sunny with a high of 80. Wind WNW 6-12 mph. Saturday: Mostly sunny skies with a high of 84. Wind WNW 5-10 mph. Sunday: Partly cloudy with a high of 85. Wind WSW 15-25 mph.
  • 2016: Thursday: Mostly cloudy skies with a high of 82. Wind W at 6-12 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy skies with a high of 82. Wind N/NW at 8-12 mph. Saturday: Cloudy skies and periods of light rain with a high in the mid-70s. Wind S/SE at 6-12 mph. Sunday: Mostly cloudy, with a high of 79. Wind W/SW at 15-25 mph.
  • 2015: Weather: Thursday: Cloudy, but drier in the afternoon, with highs reaching only into the lower 60s. North wind at 10-20 mph. A total of 1.3 inches of rain fell overnight and into the morning. Friday: Overcast, with intermittent rain throughout the day. High of 76, with N wind at 7-12 mph. Saturday: Overcast, with a high of 76. Wind SE at 15-25 mph. Sunday: Due to the likeliness of inclement weather, final-round tee times were between 7-9 a.m. Cloudy with rain most of the day and a high of 79. Wind SSW at 10-20 mph.

Weather Forecast: Latest weather forecast for Dublin, Ohio is here.

The PGA Tour moves to Ohio and conditions will be similar to what we saw in Toronto. Moderate temperatures of 17-25 Centigrade are slightly down on last week with Friday, Saturday and Sunday looking very northern European. Wind will be more of a feature this week though with a 15-20 mph westerly or north-westerly in play all week. That will make Muirfield Village play tough. Forecast rain on Wednesday may also make the course soft for Round 1. Mr Nicklaus though will ensure that the Sub-Air is on full power throughout to make this the toughest challenge he can.

Player Strokes Gained Rankings: These top 25 in the field rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to The Masters which includes both PGA Tour and DP World Tour events, where recorded. Player rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Top 25 SG Off The Tee: 1) Scottie Scheffler; 2) Davis Thompson; 3) Ludvig Aberg; 4) Collin Morikawa; 5) Rory McIlroy; 6) Wyndham Clark; 7) Xander Schauffele; 8) Sungjae Im; 9) Jordan Spieth; 10) Kurt Kitayama; 11) Justin Thomas; 12) Byeong Hun An; 13) Rickie Fowler / Viktor Hovland; 15) Chris Gotterup / Stephan Jaeger; 17) Taylor Moore; 18) Cameron Young; 19) Shane Lowry; 20) Adam Svensson / Sahith Theegala; 22) J.T. Poston; 23) Keegan Bradley; 24) Tom Hoge / Justin Rose / Sepp Straka / Will Zalatoris.
  • Top 25 SG Approach: 1) Sepp Straka; 2) Xander Schauffele; 3) Scottie Scheffler; 4) Corey Conners; 5) Russell Henley / Tom Hoge / Viktor Hovland; 8) Tony Finau / Will Zalatoris; 10) Keegan Bradley / Kurt Kitayama / Rory McIlroy; 13) Collin Morikawa; 14) Lee Hodges / Si Woo Kim; 16) Seamus Power; 17) Lucas Glover / Sahith Theegala / Justin Thomas; 20) Byeong Hun An; 21) Ludvig Aberg / Sam Burns / Patrick Cantlay / Jake Knapp; 25) Brian Harman.
  • Top 25 SG Around The Green: 1) Justin Thomas; 2) Russell Henley; 3) Hideki Matsuyama; 4) Patrick Cantlay; 5) Collin Morikawa; 6) Christiaan Bezuidenhout; 7) Max Homa; 8) Tommy Fleetwood; 9) Scottie Scheffler; 10) Patrick Rodgers; 11) Andrew Putnam; 12) Sam Burns / Jason Day / Sungjae Im / Adam Hadwin; 16) Chris Gotterup / Kurt Kitayama / Rory McIlroy; 19) Eric Cole; 20) Rickie Fowler / Billy Horschel / Mackenzie Hughes / Alex Noren / Jordan Spieth; 25) Matt Fitzpatrick.
  • Top 25 SG Tee to Green: 1) Scottie Scheffler; 2) Collin Morikawa; 3) Rory McIlroy; 4) Kurt Kitayama; 5) Xander Schauffele / Justin Thomas; 7) Davis Thompson; 8) Russell Henley; 9) Sepp Straka; 10) Keegan Bradley / Patrick Cantlay; 12) Tommy Fleetwood / Tom Hoge; 14) Byeong Hun An; 15) Tony Finau; 16) Corey Conners / Viktor Hovland; 18) Adam Svensson; 19) Si Woo Kim; 20) Shane Lowry; 21) Sungjae Im; 22) Ludvig Aberg / Sam Burns; 24) Lucas Glover; 25) Lee Hodges.
  • Top 25 SG Putting: 1) Mackenzie Hughes; 2) Xander Schauffele; 3) Denny McCarthy; 4) Matt Kuchar; 5) Billy Horschel; 6) Harris English; 7) Thomas Detry; 8) Jason Day; 9) Ben Griffin; 10) Christiaan Bezuidenhout; 11) Brian Harman; 12) Ludvig Aberg / Collin Morikawa; 14) Rory McIlroy; 15) Taylor Moore; 16) Tommy Fleetwood / Lucas Glover / Cameron Young; 19) Peter Malnati / Taylor Pendrith; 21) Davis Riley / Scottie Scheffler; 23) Keegan Bradley / Justin Rose; 25) Lee Hodges / Hideki Matsuyama / Alex Noren.
  • Top 25 SG Total: 1) Scottie Scheffler; 2) Collin Morikawa / Xander Schauffele; 4) Rory McIlroy; 5) Russell Henley; 6) Billy Horschel; 7) Tommy Fleetwood; 8) Keegan Bradley / Justin Thomas; 10) Ludvig Aberg / Christiaan Bezuidenhout / Corey Conners / Lucas Glover; 14) Alex Noren / Taylor Pendrith / Sepp Straka; 17) Byeong Hun An / Patrick Cantlay; 19) Tom Hoge; 20) Tom Kim; 21) Lee Hodges / Viktor Hovland / Kurt Kitayama / Robert MacIntyre; 25) Harris English / Tony Finau.

For a summary of the Strokes Gained Performances from this week’s field here at Muirfield Village Golf Club click here.

Trends & Key Factors: Analysing the Strokes Gained Stats of the Memorial Tournament winners here at Muirfield Village since 2021 (course re-design) gives us a little more insight into the requirements for this classical test:

Strokes Gained Tournament Trends:

  • 2023, Viktor Hovland (-7). SG Off the Tee: 10th, SG Approach: 26th, SG Around the Green: 31st, SG Tee to Green: 12th, SG Putting: 3rd.
  • 2022, Billy Horschel (-13). SG Off the Tee: 7th, SG Approach: 12th, SG Around the Green: 3rd, SG Tee to Green: 1st, SG Putting: 13th.
  • 2021, Patrick Cantlay (-13). SG Off the Tee: 3rd, SG Approach: 5th, SG Around the Green: 3rd, SG Tee to Green: 1st, SG Putting: 19th.

Strokes Gained Tournament Skill Averages:

  • SG Off the Tee: 7th, SG Approach: 14th, SG Around the Green: 12th, SG Tee to Green: 5th, SG Putting: 12th.

Tournament Trends & Key Factors: Analysing the final stats of Memorial Tournament winners here since 2021 (course re-design) gives us a little more insight into the requirements for this classical test:

  • 2023, Viktor Hovland (-7). 317 yards (17th), 53.6% fairways (51st), 56.9% greens in regulation (19th), 31’10” proximity to hole (14th), 61.3 % scrambling (21st), 1.63 putts per GIR (9th).
  • 2022, Billy Horschel (-13). 285 yards (59th), 76.8% fairways (7th), 73.6% greens in regulation (1st), 29’4″ proximity to hole (1st), 84.2 % scrambling (1st), 1.74 putts per GIR (43rd).
  • 2021, Patrick Cantlay (-13). 303 yards (8th), 66.1% fairways (28th), 75.0% greens in regulation (1st), 31’8″ proximity to hole (16th), 66.7 % scrambling (6th), 1.67 putts per GIR (20th).

Tournament Skill Averages:

  • Driving Distance: 28th, Driving Accuracy: 29th, Greens in Regulation: 7th, Proximity to Hole: 10th, Scrambling: 9th, Putting Average 24th.

Let’s take a view from players as to how Muirfield Village Golf Club sets up and what skill sets the course favours – comments from 2021 onwards refer to the renovated course they play this week:

Viktor Hovland (2023): “Obviously I feel like I’ve won a decent amount of tournaments for only being a pro for four years; however, they have been at low key places, resort courses, and abroad, so it feels really cool to get my first win on the U.S. soil, especially at a tournament like this where this week the golf course is arguably harder than most major championship golf courses we play and the crowds were amazing out there. It felt like a major. So it was a really cool that I was able to get it done at a place like this.

I think birdieing 15, that got me to 6-under for the tournament and I saw that I was tied with Scottie. And I thought 6-under could potentially have a chance because those finishing holes are brutal. Obviously, you can make a birdie coming in, but it’s just so easy to make a bogey. You can hit a decent shot, but if it catches a bad bounce or you cut it away from the pin and it just bounces firmly, you end up in the bunker and now you’ve got a brutal up-and-down. If it would have been Thursday or Friday, you’re just trying to go through there unscathed making par, or even 1-over through that stretch is actually not that bad.

I haven’t played all that great here in the past. I’ve always seemed to play okay, make the cut, but then make a couple of birdies throughout the round, but I would always kind of short-side myself. Then I didn’t have the short game that I have right now, so when you do end up on the down slope and you need to be able to spin the ball or slow the ball down, I just couldn’t do that. So it would be kind of a double whammy for me before. I would short-side myself and I didn’t have any tools around the green to slow the ball down, and now I can’t even keep the chip on the green. So you’re just always grinding.

But this week I told myself that when I’m out of position just play for the fatter part of the green and if I miss the green, I still have a shot where I can roll the ball up or slow the ball down enough to get it close to the pin. So I knew this was kind of going to be a competition of not making any double bogeys or making too many mistakes.”

Billy Horschel (2022):  Hopefully the greens firm up a little bit, get a little bit quicker. Tuesday were probably the firmest I’ve ever seen them. But I think the fairways are pretty generous around here. Some of the widest fairways we play all year. Putting the ball in the fairway is crucial, to start with. But having control of your second shot, it’s a very second-shot golf course in my opinion.

I think it just goes back to understanding what’s a good golf shot, understanding where you need to miss it on this golf course to have a chance to get up-and-down. Yeah, I’ve put myself probably in a couple bad spots over the last two days, but I’ve been fortunate that I’ve hit really good shots and made a putt. With the firmer greens you have to be really precise on where you’re trying to land the golf shot, the trajectory you’re trying to hit it, the shape you’re trying to hit it. We’ve just been very clear on all of that.

And on 15, I was 5-wood in there, perfect 5-wood, 241 front, 244 or five hole. And we had the wind slight in off the left which was perfect for me, just started in the middle of the bunker and hit a little bit of a cut, let the wind take it back to the pin. It was just a beautiful shot that I hit.”

Aaron Wise (2022): “Felt like about as good as I could shoot with how I drove the ball, so I’m super pleased with it. The course is firming up. It’s playing tricky. I felt like I hit my irons great, chipped and putted great. The one thing I could clean up is how I drove the ball today. This is a course I feel like you can kind of attack a little bit if you’re in the fairway. But if you’re in the rough you’re scrambling from everywhere. You can’t hold these greens with how firm they are and it becomes a really tricky golf course to play. I felt like I did that a lot of today, and somehow was able to putt really well and chip really well and shoot 3-under. But I would love to be able to put the ball in the fairway and get a few more looks at birdie tomorrow.”

Rory McIlroy (2022): “Yeah, I think like Muirfield and I have had a bit of a complicated relationship. It seemed to fit me quite well earlier in my career and then the last few years, I’ve sort of maybe struggled with the strategy of how to play it. I feel like a lot of the fairways here pinch in around 310, so it allows the sort of average hitters to hit driver.”

“For an example, last year I played with Viktor Hovland the first two days, and the first hole, he can hit driver sort of right to where the bottleneck starts. I can’t hit driver because I’ll hit it too far but then I hit 3-wood, you know, 15 or 20 yards short of his driver. So I’m hitting 6-iron or 7-iron in and he’s hitting an 8-iron or a 9-iron in.”

“So it just seems like the length advantage has sort of been nullified here over the last few years. So it’s just finding a different way to play the golf course. A lot more 3-woods. I’ve actually went to one of my old 3-woods this week that’s a lower lofted. It’s sort of like a 2-wood in a way which I think will be good to utilize this week.”

Patrick Cantlay (2021): “I never changed my mind. I was 268 or 270 front. It’s all cover over water and it’s into the wind. So even my best 3-wood is about 270 and that’s not into the wind or anything. So with the new length on all these par-5s, it’s a lot of laying up. I’ve never laid up as much this week around this golf course on the par-5s by a long ways. So the par-5s are playing a lot more difficult and I think that’s why scoring’s worse this year compared to previous years. Especially considering how this golf course in the past has played. But that’s just the way it is now and I’m sure if the fairways firm out a little bit you will be able to hit the ball a little further and maybe get to some of the par-5s.

Rory McIlroy (2021): “No, it’s the redesign of the holes. Especially the par-5 5th green, I went for it today and hit a pretty good shot, but even, I hit a great shot straight over the pin into the back bunker and, I mean, you would rather be 90 yards away hitting a sort of a nice wedge shot in there, you can get it way closer. So I think people are just realizing it’s, you’re probably more likely to make birdie just by laying up and, which is a shame, because it’s sort of exciting to get to go for par-5s and it’s sort of taken that a little bit out of play.”

“As it fries out, it will make people even more wary of going for the par-5s in two. Like I went for one par-5 today and made 6 and laid up on the others and had birdie chances. I’ve made more birdies this week by laying up than I have going for the green.”

“I think what’s happened here is everyone is just now playing from the same spot with their second shot, so it’s really become, and it’s not an easy driving golf course by any means, but everyone is hitting to the same spot. So I guess there’s no different strategies off the tee, it’s just sort of everyone goes and does this and then they go from there. So it’s sort of hard for, you look how condensed the field is, it’s hard to separate yourself when a design is like that.”

Jon Rahm (2020): “Well, this is only the second time I’m playing. My first time was 2017. I don’t remember it being this windy or firm. It’s tough. I mean, there are some holes out there that are really difficult. That 16th green, I actually thought I hit a pretty good shot and couldn’t stop it, so you have to hit an amazing shot to actually keep it on the green. It’s a test out there. It’s more how golf should be. I’m glad for once we’re not having a week where it becomes a putting contest and see who shoots 20-plus under par. Hopefully it keeps being a test and hopefully I can keep playing good golf and make those clutch putts.

I told Adam walking down 18, I said, they should — Adam, my caddie, for people who don’t know, they should just allow people, whoever wants to play, to come tomorrow in the same conditions we did. Cut the greens, make sure they’re the same speed, flags on the same spots, just for people to see. We were thinking the club champion, the scratch club champion might not break 80 here today. It’s that difficult a golf course. And I can say, because of that, today could be one of the best rounds of golf I’ve played in my life. It’s unbelievable, and it’s hard to believe how passively it came compared to how I played usually.”

Patrick Cantlay (2019): “I like this golf course a lot. It’s in great shape. And puts a serious premium of driving the ball in the fairway, which is one of my strengths. I feel comfortable around here, and it’s nice to be here. I feel like I know the lines and what to expect. The golf course suits my game. There’s a huge premium on driving the golf ball long in the fairway. And if you can control your distance coming into the greens, you can have a lot of looks. The greens are really slopey, and there’s a lot of hole locations where the ball gathers to the hole. And being able to know your distance and knowing where to leave it so it will feed to the hole is important. And I feel like being back here my third year I’m getting a better feel of it. And I’m starting to feel really comfortable around the golf course.”

Bryson DeChambeau (2018): ” Yeah, I played really well here (Columbus, Ohio). I love the grass. It’s super familiar. Back home in Fresno, California we have the same type of grass, relatively speaking. You go over to Monterey, it’s kind of the same as well. So I’ve played a lot of golf over there, I’m just comfortable with these types of, this type of grass. For whatever reason it seems to be that, out of this grass relative to Bermuda, it’s just way easier to kind of control the ball out of those types of lies, because in Bermuda you can sometimes get these massive jumpers, like incredibly massive, 30-yard jumpers. And out of this type of rough you only get about 15- to 20-yard jumpers. So in that regard I’m more comfortable and was just able to conquer it this week.”

Jason Dufner (2017): “This is a difficult golf course. The wind can be tricky at times. I’m hoping we’ll have some calmer conditions. But just being underneath the hole is a big thing out here. I find myself – when I play good rounds, I seem to be putting uphill all week. I’m struggling from above the hole. So position into the greens is important. Yeah, these are by far probably the best greens that we play on all year, from the standpoint of consistency on speed from green to green. When I step on 7th green I feel like it’s the same speed as the 14th green or the 17th green. And then also just the consistency of the roll, like you said. You feel like you get a really pure roll. If you start in on your line and your read is right you’re probably going to be holing a lot of putts. And I think they get as fast as any that we play. There’s a lot of pitch, a lot of undulation out there on these greens. You get above the hole you’re just breathing on them when they’re moving pretty good.

Incoming Form of Memorial Tournament winners since 2010:

  • Billy Hovland: 16th Colonial/2nd PGA/43rd Quail/59th Harbour Town.
  • Billy Horschel: MC Colonial/68th PGA/2nd New Orleans/21st Harbour Town.
  • Patrick Cantlay: 23rd PGA Championship/MC Quail/11th New Orleans/MC Augusta.
  • Jon Rahm: 27th Workday/37th Travelers/33rd Heritage/MC Colonial.
  • Patrick Cantlay: 3rd PGA Championship/3rd Harbour Town/9th Augusta/MC Sawgrass.
  • Bryson DeChambeau: 42nd Colonial/37th TPC Sawgrass/4th Quail/3rd Harbour Town.
  • Jason Dufner: MC Colonial/12th TPC4S/60th Sawgrass/5th New Orleans.
  • William McGirt: 47th Colonial/43rd Sawgrass/17th Quail/37th TPC San Antonio.
  • David Lingmerth: MC TPC4S/33rd Colonial/MC Quail/MC TPC Louisiana.
  • Hideki Matsuyama: 10th Colonial/23rd TPC Sawgrass/38th Quail/MC Heritage.
  • Matt Kuchar: 2nd Colonial/33rd TPC4S/48th TPC Sawgrass/35th Heritage.
  • Tiger Woods: 40th TPC Sawgrass/MC Quail/40th Augusta/1st Bay Hill.
  • Steve Stricker: 12th TPC Sawgrass/13th TPC Louisiana/11th Augusta/4th Houston.
  • Justin Rose: 71st Colonial/10th Wentworth/MC TPC Sawgrass/43rd TPC Louisiana.

First Round Leader Analysis: First round leader(s), their wave and winning score since 2010. Full First Round Leader stats are here.

  • 2023 – Riley – PM -5/67 – 100/1.
  • 2022 – Hughes/K.H. Lee/List/Riley/Smith/Young – 4AM/2PM -5/67 – 150/1, 100/1, 100/1, 50/1, 33/1 & 45/1.
  • 2021 – Morikawa – AM -6/66 – 28/1.
  • 2020 – Finau – PM -6/66 – 66/1.
  • 2019 – Moore – AM -7/65 – 100/1.
  • 2018 – Ancer / Niemann / Matsuyama – 2AM/1PM -7/65 – 175/1, 100/1 & 45/1.
  • 2017 – Dufner / Lingmerth – AM/PM Split -7/65 – 55/1 & 90/1.
  • 2016 – D Johnson – AM -8/64.
  • 2015 – Matsuyama / Van Pelt – Both PM -8/64.
  • 2014 – McIlroy – PM -9/63.
  • 2013 – Schwartzel – AM -7/65.
  • 2012 – Stallings – PM -6/66.
  • 2011 – McIlroy / Riley – AM/PM Split -6/66.
  • 2010 – Fowler / Rose – AM/PM Split -7/65.

For the record, here’s the breakdown of pure Bentgrass green PGA Tour victors in the field since 2008:

  • 9 – Rory McIlroy.
  • 7 – Justin Rose.
  • 5 – Patrick Cantlay, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas.
  • 4 – Hideki Matsuyama.
  • 3 – Keegan Bradley, Lucas Glover, Xander Schauffele.
  • 2 – Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Brian Harman, Billy Horschel, Martin Kaymer, Tom Kim, K.H. Lee, Chris Kirk, Matt Kuchar, Scottie Scheffler.
  • 1 – Sam Burns, Wyndham Clark, Emiliano Grillo, Lee Hodges, Max Homa, Viktor Hovland, Sungjae Im, Collin Morikawa, Taylor Pendrith, J.T. Poston, Davis Riley, Brandt Snedeker, Sepp Straka, Brendon Todd.

The winners’ list over the past 9 years at the Memorial Tournament reads David Lingmerth (500/1), William McGirt (200/1) Jason Dufner (66/1), Bryson DeChambeau (50/1), Patrick Cantlay (18/1), Jon Rahm (22/1), Patrick Cantlay (22/1), Billy Horschel (60/1) and Viktor Hovland (20/1). And with the U.S. Open next week the top players are positioning themselves for the season’s third Major Championship in Dublin, Ohio this week, just as they always have way before the notion of an elevated event.

The Memorial is often a tournament where you don’t want to hit the front too early, but undoubtedly quality players have generally topped the leaderboard come close of play on Sunday. Tiger’s wins in 2009 and 2012 came at 3/1 and 16/1 respectively. Justin Rose’s first PGA Tour victory in 2010 came at 80/1 a fortnight after a 10th place finish at Wentworth. Steve Stricker won at 28/1 in 2011. Matt Kuchar and Hideki Matsuyama victories here in 2013 and 2014 both followed contending performances the week prior at Colonial, with both players being priced at 22/1 and 66/1 respectively.

Since 2018, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay, Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay, Billy Horschel and Viktor Hovland have won this coveted title at 50/1, 18/1, 22/1, 22/1, 60/1 and 20/1 respectively. For DeChambeau (2018), Cantlay (2019) and Hovland (2023) these were breakout victories, after previously landing their maiden PGA Tour titles at lesser events. Rahm’s victory in 2020 was also arguably his biggest career victory to that point, and was his first singles win on the PGA Tour for two and a half years. He would surely have defended his title in 2021 as well if it wasn’t for a positive Covid test when he was 6 shots ahead heading into Sunday. Step forward Patrick Cantlay who got to shake hands with Jack Nicklaus for the second time in 2 years. 2022 saw Billy Horschel come from the blindside to win at 60/1 with inbound form of MC-68-2(Team Event)-21-43 and nothing better than a backdoor 9th (2019) from 8 previous Memorial outings.

All-in-all this plethora of sub-100/1 winners is hardly a surprise when you consider that every winner of The Memorial since 2003 apart from 2 (Lingmerth 2015 & McGirt 2016) have ranked in the Official World Golf Ranking top 75.

Let’s look into those bigger price wins as well. Nicklaus course specialist David Lingmerth landed his maiden title here in 2015 with inbound form of MC-33-MC-MC-MC. You won’t be surprised to read that the Swede was a 500/1 chance. Fast-forward to 2016 where Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland were all in the mix, but eventually it became a shoot-out between Jon Curran (400/1) and William McGirt (250/1) in a play-off, both of whom were chasing maiden PGA Tour titles. World Number 102 McGirt captured his first title since he played the Tarheel Tour in 2007, coming off immediate form of 47-43-17-37. He had though delivered 3 top-9 finishes and a further 2nd in the season prior to winning in Ohio.

2017 saw World Number 65 Jason Dufner beat Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar and Justin Thomas to take his 5th PGA Tour victory at 66/1. Jason showed grit and resolve on a fast Sunday golf course, taking on the likes of 54-hole leader Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Thomas and playing partner Rickie Fowler to comfortably win in the end by 3 shots.

My Final Memorial Tournament Tips Are As Follows:

Collin Morikawa 3pts EW 14/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Boylesports

The PGA Tour season and these Signature events specifically have shown real trends when it comes to winning price. Scheffler has won 3 of the last 4 Signature events as favourite at 13/2, 11/2 and 9/2. He’s a general 7/2 chance this week at the Memorial Tournament, The last Signature status event was the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow which again saw the favourite – this time Rory McIlroy – win at 17/2. Prior to that Kirk (150/1), Clark (70/1) and Matsuyama (80/1) won. That big ticket price philosophy has also been prevalent across 2024 with no PGA Tour winners between 20/1 and 50/1 to this point. Robert MacIntyre was as big as 100/1 last week in Canada.

The big 2 in the golf betting market has now become a big 3 with PGA Championship winner Xander Schauffele joining Scheffler and McIlroy at the top of the Memorial Tournament betting at single-digits. Clearly you could build a case for any of these 3 quite easily, but I’m drawn to the players directly below them in the market, the first of which is Jack Nicklaus design specialist Collin Morikawa.

Undoubtedly 2-time Major Champion and 6-time PGA Tour winner Morikawa is trending. His last win at the ZOZO Championship played at the classical, tree-lined, Bentgrass-greened golf course at Narashino CC in Japan came at 14/1, and the last 8 week time-frame has seen the 27 year-old finish 3rd at the Masters, 9th at the RBC Heritage, 16th at the Wells Fargo Championship, 4th at the PGA Championship and 4th at the Charles Schwab Challenge. The 54-hole joint leader at Valhalla with Xander Schauffele, Collin has been in the hunt across all 5 of his last PGA Tour outings and a win has to come very soon.

Muirfield Village could well be that spot. On a revised set-up where flagrant, long bombing from the tee is repelled, Morikawa, who is straight and over average in length off the tee, can gain against the vast majority of the field this week at Jack’s Place and that makes him a serious threat with his strong approach play and current touch around the greens. Morikawa lost in a play-off on this new set-up in 2020 to Patrick Cantlay, but is a Muirfield Village winner having won the 2019 Workday Charity Open on the previous format. Other Jack Nicklaus design wins have come at Montreux G&CC (2019 Barracuda Championship) and at Concession (2021 WGC Workday Championship). Result: 2nd

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Viktor Hovland 2pts EW 16/1 (8EW, 1/5) with bet365

Viktor Hovland played wonderfully well at the PGA Championship last time out, keeping both Xander Schauffele and Bryson DeChambeau honest on Sunday. 3rd place was Viktor’s second-best Major finish behind only his 2023 runner-up finish to Brooks Koepka at the Oak Hill-hosted PGA Championship.

Cast your mind back 12 months and Hovland went on to win here at Muirfield Village. Back with swing coach Joe Mayo, Viktor looked like he was close to his best at Valhalla, driving the ball far better (his strength), finding greens regularly combined with the best around the green game we have seen from him in 2024.

That brings us to this week at the Memorial Tournament where Viktor makes only his fifth title defence – and up until now he’s been pretty good at them. His first ever title defence came at the 2021 WWT Championship played at El Camaleon where he won. November 2022 then saw him finish 10th at the WWT, a month before defending his Hero World Challenge title at Albany Golf Course. Last year Hovland finished 10th at Albany, giving the World Number 5 a record of 1-10-1-10 when defending titles to date. Result: T15

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Justin Thomas 2pts EW 22/1 (8EW, 1/5) with bet365

Justin Thomas showed masses at the PGA Championship, hosted in his home town of Louisville, Kentucky. An 8th place finish was his best Major since he won the PGA at Southern Hills in 2021. 7th for Strokes Gained Off the Tee, 3rd for Greens in Regulation, 5th for Strokes Gained Around the Green and 1st for Strokes Gained Tee to Green were the statistical highlights, with Justin’s putter the only thing holding him back from a serious tilt at the title.

Now we’ve seen the Memorial Tournament won in the past by Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay and Viktor Hovland – highly talented sorts capturing the biggest titles of their careers to date. But in recent years we’ve also seen Jon Rahm and Billy Horschel win at Jack’s Place after prolonged periods (for them) with no singles (non-team event) stroke play victory on the PGA Tour. In the case of Rahm it was 18 months and for Horschel over 5 years. So the narrative for JT to finally find the putter this week and take out his first win for over 2 years is one we have seen before.

A winner at TPC Boston (2017), Firestone (2018) and Medinah (2019) across Massachusetts, Ohio and Illinois respectively, Thomas is no stranger to winning in these parts. 4th (2017), 8th (2018) and a 2020 Workday Charity Open play-off loss to Collin Morikawa are Justin’s best outings here at Muirfield Village.

Plus a win at Jack’s Tournament would be another hugely emotional victory after recent wins for Xander at the PGA and Robert in Canada over the last couple of weeks. Result: T33

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Tony Finau 1pt EW 45/1 (8EW, 1/5) with bet365

Tony Finau is starting to realise he needs results. 43rd in the FedEx Cup, 17th in Team USA President’s Cup qualification requires attention soon, especially as Sam Burns, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Finau himself all sit outside the top 12 for qualification from last year’s defeated USA Ryder Cup squad. Captain Jim Furyk only has so many picks to play with and undoubtedly both Spieth and Thomas would take precedence over Finau. However you need to show some form of life.

Tony appears to be doing that and it’s worth recognising that Tony has won 3 of his 6 PGA Tour titles across Michigan, New Jersey and Minnesota – I think he likes ‘Up-State’ agronomy. Opening 65 (PGA Championship) and 66 (CSC – Colonial) rounds are showing the green shoots of improvement and Utah’s favourite golfer has been 10th and 6th heading into the final round at Valhalla and Colonial over his past 2 outings, ultimately disappointing on Sunday. But you get the feeling that Sunday contentions will come and Muirfield Village isn’t a bad spot for the 34 year-old.

8th (2015), 11th (2016) and 13th (2018) here at Muirfield Village, Finau led after 18 and 36 holes here in 2020, before eventually finishing 8th. Result: T8

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Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 13:30BST 3.6.24 but are naturally subject to fluctuation.