Steve Bamford Golf Tips

Steve Bamford's Workday Charity Open Tips 2020

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Congratulations to you if you were on Bryson DeChambeau at a best price of 7/1 last week. You have to give Bryson credit as he dismantled both Detroit Golf Club and a sub-par field in dominating fashion. You can’t say the win hasn’t been coming! I landed full each-way payouts on Tyrrell Hatton at 16/1 and Adam Hadwin at 66/1, with Golf Betting System podcast colleague Paul Williams landing Ryan Armour at 200/1.

Before we talk through my Workday Charity Open tips, the number of new visitors to Golf Betting System is sure to be strong, with new readers and those new to golf betting full-stop.  Welcome to you all and let me point you in the direction of our weekly Golf Betting System podcast (published Tuesday) the Golf Betting Show on YouTube and our hugely popular private group on Facebook – you can Join Here.

This is the inaugural Workday Charity Open and in all likelihood this will be the first and last one. This spot in the schedule was set for the John Deere Classic which has been on the Tour calendar since 1972. Illinois state restrictions limiting gatherings to just 50 people, meant that the John Deere Classic was cancelled on 28th May, so into the breach stepped Workday and Muirfield Village Golf Club.

The Workday Charity Open sees a field of 156 players take on the famous Jack Nicklaus design, with the 120-man Memorial Tournament taking place on the same course the week after. The field is a massive step-up from Detroit last week, with Patrick Cantlay, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele, Justin Rose and Patrick Reed heading a decent quality field.

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Course Guide: Muirfield Village GC continually develops as a golfing test and in its Workday Charity Open guise plays at an extended 7,456 yard, Par 72.

In the past the course has hosted the 1987 Ryder Cup and the 2013 Presidents Cup and is an original Nicklaus design. In the modern game of golf the layout isn’t massively long but, 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, 73 bunkers, 11 holes with water in play and over 80 acres of primarily Kentucky bluegrass rough.

Severely undulating green complexes are a true work of art and feature, if the weather plays ball, some of the purest Bentgrass with Poa Annua putting surfaces that the PGA Tour traditionally sees each season.

Muirfield Village GC, Dublin, Ohio: Designer: Jack Nicklaus 1974, latest guise established 2014; Course Type: Classical; Par: 72; Length: 7,456 yards; Holes with Water Hazards: 11; Fairways: Bentgrass with Poa Annua; Rough: Kentucky Bluegrass with ryegrass/fescue 3″; Greens: 5,000 sq.ft average featuring Bentgrass with Poa Annua; Tournament Stimp: 11ft; Course Scoring Average 2012: 73.67 (+1.67), Difficulty Rank 6 of 49 courses. 2013: 73.26 (+1.26), Difficulty Rank 6 of 43 courses. 2014: 71.90 (-0.10), Rank 29 of 48 courses. 2015: 71.74 (-0.26), Difficulty Rank 23 of 52 courses. 2016: 70.99 (-1.01), Difficulty Rank 36 of 50 courses. 2017: 72.80 (+0.80), Difficulty Rank 13 of 50 courses. 2018: 71.40 (-0.60), Difficulty Rank 30 of 51 courses. 2019: 72.08 (+0.08), Difficulty Rank 13 of 49 courses.

Widths Fairway Widths (yards): Below are the fairway widths for Muirfield Village and how they compare to recent courses on Tour:

  • Muirfield Village: 250 yards from the tee: 35 yards wide; 275:34; 300:30; 325:25; 350:29.
  • Detroit Golf Club: 250 yards from tee: 34 yards wide; 275:34; 300:35 325:34; 350:33.
  • TPC River Highlands: 250 yards from the tee: 38 yards wide; 275:36; 300:29; 325:29; 350:28.
  • Harbour Town: 250 yards from tee: 29 yards wide; 275:26; 300:22; 325:26; 350:22.
  • Colonial: 250 yards from tee: 27 yards wide; 275:26; 300:27; 325:26; 350:23.
  • 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.
  • Pebble Beach: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:33; 300:29; 325:30 350:26.
  • TPC Scottsdale: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:30; 300:28; 325:27; 350:27.
  • Torrey Pines South: 250 yards from the tee: 26 yards wide; 275:27; 300:25; 325:24; 350:23.

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

  • Annandale Golf Club – (Sanderson Farms Championship through 2013)
  • Glen Abbey (2008, 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2016 RBC Canadian Open)
  • Montreaux GCC – Barracuda Championship
  • PGA National – Honda Classic
  • PGA West, Tournament Course – The American Express
  • PGA West – Nicklaus Private (Humana Challenge through 2015)
  • Sherwood Country Club – Thousand Oaks – (World Challenge through 2013)
  • Valhalla Golf Club (2014 PGA Championship)

Course Overview: First thing to point out is that Muirfield Village sets-up slightly different to the scorecard that we see for the Memorial Tournament. Different tees on 3 holes are being used to manage the strain of 8 competitive rounds of golf on the same golf course over 11 days. So the par-3 8th has been extended 17 yards to play at 202 yards; the par-5 11th has been extended 17 yards to play at 583 yards; and the par-5 15th has been extended by 31 yards to play at 560 yards. It’s also been stated that the rough will be lower and that the tournament stimpmeter will roll at 11 feet, as opposed to anything up to 13 feet for the Memorial Tournament. Slow, receptive greens always help scoring.

Muirfield Village is undoubtedly a great all-round classical golf test where both ball striking and short game experts can contend with equal frequency when the wind is tranquil. A typical Nicklaus design, each hole gets more difficult further away from the tee, so those with consistent approach play this week will be able to access flatter parts of the green complexes close to hole locations. Birdies will be available for those with excellent course navigation, top notch scrambling and naturally a hot putter.

A second-shot golf course where those who can find the right layers of the green complexes can make birdies. However don’t ever think of Muirfield Village as a purely resort-style track as this classical design still has teeth for the wayward, poor scramblers and poor putters, so we need to look for those with an all-round game who can hit the ball close, but also scramble and putt well on these Bentgrass/Poa Annua mix greens.

Accessing the flatter parts of these undulating green complexes is the key. This is how Jordan Spieth described it in an interview back in 2015, “I love putting on greens where you have to have imagination, you have to play these ridges, speed control is so vital. And then I enjoy the ball striking part of this course where these pins are located normally three times. They’re located pretty close to each other, and if you hit a really good tee shot, you’re set up to feed into these holes.

So although fairways are relatively easy to find, indiscriminate, total ‘bomb and gouge’ type stuff from the tee tends to be rejected by this brilliant classical design. The real key to Muirfield Village though is consistent, accurate, approach play allied to the ability to manage your game from a strategic perspective.

As a reference, over the past 10 winners of The Memorial, average winning Greens in Regulation numbers rate at 11th amongst the field, Proximity to Hole at 12th and Scrambling at 11th. Putts Per GIR lags behind slightly at 15th, highlighting that top-notch iron play allied to chipping is a must this week. And the fact that Average Driving Distance here 12 months was only 284 yards (9th lowest on the PGA Tour in 2019), highlights that, for once, bombers do not have a significant advantage here. That being said, this week’s layout sees an additional 64 yards added, but until now the key to Jack’s Place is the ability to regularly get approach shots close to pin locations which unlocks scoring opportunities.

It’s worth highlighting that the back nine at Muirfield Village is a far tougher proposition than the front nine. The closing 3 holes make for one of the toughest closing stretches on the PGA Tour with a 201 yard par-3, a 478 yard par-4 and another par-4 this time at 484 yards leaving little room for error, especially as the 2015 course renovation added a new bunker complex now on the right-hand side of the fairway in the landing area between 275 and 350 yards. Undoubtedly holes 16-18 always prove to be a key section of the course where dreams can be made or destroyed.

workday charity open tips

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 | Course Form | First Round Leader | Combined Stats.

Published Predictor Model: Our published predictor is available here. You can build your own model using the variables listed on the left hand side. Top 10 of my published predictor are Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Hideki Matsuyama, Jim Furyk, Patrick Cantlay, Adam Hadwin, Jason Day, Justin Rose, and Xander Schauffele.

Recent Player Skill Rankings: These rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the WGC-Mexico Championship and Puerto Rico Open, which includes PGA Tour and European Tour (where recorded) events. Players must have played in a minimum of 2 Tour events to be included and rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Driving Accuracy: 1) James Hahn / Tim Wilkinson; 3) David Hearn; 4) Jim Furyk; 5) Sungjae Im; 6) Matthew Fitzpatrick; 7) Ryan Armour / Michael Thompson; 9) Austin Cook; 10) Collin Morikawa / Brian Stuard; 12) Jim Herman / Henrik Norlander; 14) Jason Dufner / Kyle Stanley; 16) Rob Oppenheim; 17) Scottie Scheffler; 18) Kevin Streelman / Steve Stricker; 20) Joseph Bramlett / Adam Hadwin.
  • Greens in Regulation: 1) Adam Hadwin; 2) Cameron Champ; 3) Xander Schauffele; 4) Matthew Fitzpatrick; 5) Corey Conners / Joel Dahmen / Harold Varner III; 8) Sung Kang; 9) Matthew NeSmith / Kevin Streelman; 11) Jason Kokrak; 12) Joseph Bramlett / Hideki Matsuyama; 14) Brice Garnett / Viktor Hovland / Kyle Stanley; 17) Brooks Koepka / Gary Woodland; 19) Jason Dufner / Collin Morikawa.
  • Scrambling: 1) Patrick Cantlay / Jonathan Byrd; 3) Andrew Landry; 4) Mark Anderson / Shane Lowry; 6) Jon Rahm / Richy Werenski; 8) Adam Long; 9) Chris Kirk; 10) Hudson Swafford; 11) Maverick McNealy; 12) Luke List / Brandt Snedeker; 14) Matt Kuchar; 15) Sungjae Im / Zach Johnson; 17) Max Homa / Rory Sabbatini; 19) David Hearn / Ryan Palmer / Adam Schenk / Michael Thompson.
  • Putting Average (Putts per GIR): 1) Mackenzie Hughes; 2) Jonathan Byrd; 3) Marc Leishman; 4) Jim Herman / Nick Taylor; 6) Scott Harrington; 7) Ian Poulter; 8) Patrick Cantlay / Charley Hoffman; 10) Patrick Reed / J.J. Spaun; 12) Danny Lee / Patrick Rodgers; 14) Phil Mickelson / Vaughn Taylor; 16) Justin Thomas / Brian Stuard; 18) Andrew Landry; 19) Matthew Fitzpatrick / Brice Garnett / Viktor Hovland / Jamie Lovemark / Keith Mitchell.

Recent Player Strokes Gained Rankings: These top 20 in the field rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the WGC-Mexico Championship and Puerto Rico Open, which includes both PGA and European Tour events where recorded. Players must have played in a minimum of 2 Tour events to be included and rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Top 20 SG Off The Tee: 1) Bubba Watson; 2) Jason Kokrak; 3) Hideki Matsuyama; 4) Austin Cook; 5) Collin Morikawa; 6) Xander Schauffele; 7) Jon Rahm; 8) Joseph Bramlett; 9) Viktor Hovland / Scottie Scheffler; 11) Jhonattan Vegas; 12) Sungjae Im; 13) Patrick Cantlay / Joel Dahmen; 15) Adam Schenk; 16) Billy Horschel; 17) Cameron Champ / Corey Conners; 19) Sam Burns; 20) Jim Herman / Brooks Koepka / Shane Lowry.
  • Top 20 SG Approach: 1) Joel Dahmen; 2) Hideki Matsuyama; 3) Marc Leishman; 4) Matthew NeSmith; 5) Viktor Hovland; 6) Corey Conners; 7) Adam Hadwin; 8) Grayson Murray; 9) Cameron Champ; 10) Patrick Cantlay / Justin Thomas; 12) Bud Cauley / Joaquin Niemann; 14) Gary Woodland; 15) Adam Long / Hudson Swafford / Harold Varner III; 18) Russell Henley; 19) Seung-yul Noh; 20) Max Homa / Charles Schwartzel.
  • Top 20 SG Around The Green: 1) Luke Donald; 2) Andrew Landry; 3) Sungjae Im; 4) Justin Thomas; 5) Phil Mickelson; 6) Patrick Reed; 7) Byeong Hun An; 8) Chris Kirk / Brian Stuard; 10) Seung-yul Noh / Rory Sabbatini / Hudson Swafford; 13) Charles Howell III / Michael Kim; 15) Vijay Singh; 16) Jon Rahm; 17) Steve Stricker; 18) Dylan Frittelli; 19) C.T. Pan / Bo Van Pelt.
  • Top 20 SG Tee to Green: 1) Hideki Matsuyama; 2) Cameron Champ; 3) Patrick Cantlay; 4) Viktor Hovland; 5) Joel Dahmen; 6) Justin Thomas / Harold Varner III; 8) Marc Leishman; 9) Xander Schauffele; 10) Corey Conners / Hudson Swafford; 12) Sungjae Im; 13) Jon Rahm / Jhonattan Vegas; 15) Seung-yul Noh; 16) Byeong-Hun An; 17) Adam Hadwin / Billy Horschel / Luke List; 20) Graeme McDowell /  Patrick Reed / Bubba Watson.
  • Top 20 SG Putting: 1) Mackenzie Hughes; 2) Patrick Cantlay; 3) Matt Kuchar / Ian Poulter; 5) Adam Hadwin; 6) Matthew Fitzpatrick; 7) Denny McCarthy; 8) Maverick McNealy; 9) Andrew Putnam; 10) Michael Thompson; 11) Zach Johnson / Troy Merritt / Patrick Rodgers; 14) Mark Hubbard / Scott Stallings / Richy Werenski; 17) Andrew Landry; 18) Nate Lashley / Matthew Wolff / Gary Woodland.
  • Top 20 SG Total: 1) Patrick Cantlay; 2) Cameron Champ; 3) Joel Dahmen; 4) Adam Hadwin; 5) Jon Rahm; 6) Viktor Hovland; 7) Xander Schauffele; 8) Maverick McNealy; 9) Matt Kuchar; 10) Sungjae Im; 11) Hudson Swafford / Justin Thomas; 13) Jhonattan Vegas; 14) Matthew Fitzpatrick / Jim Herman / Marc Leishman / Hideki Matsuyama / Ian Poulter; 19) Adam Long / Richy Werenski.

PGA Tour Resumption Player Strokes Gained Rankings These top 20 in the field rankings are based from the Charles Schwab Challenge onwards:

  • Top 20 SG Off The Tee: 1) Cameron Champ; 2) Bubba Watson; 3) Viktor Hovland / Jon Rahm; 5) Brooks Koepka / Justin Rose; 7) Xander Schauffele; 8) Joseph Bramlett; 9) Jason Kokrak; 10) Jhonattan Vegas; 11) Austin Cook; 12) Joel Dahmen; 13) Russell Henley / Luke List; 15) Hideki Matsuyama; 16) Corey Conners; 17) Collin Morikawa / Adam Schenk; 19) Scottie Scheffler; 20) Harold Varner III / Matt Wallace.
  • Top 20 SG Approach: 1) Viktor Hovland; 2) Joel Dahmen / Marc Leishman; 4) Corey Conners; 5) Matthew NeSmith; 6) Harold Varner III; 7) Joaquin Niemann / Henrik Norlander; 9) Hideki Matsuyama; 10) Cameron Percy; 11) Seung-yul Noh; 12) Emiliano Grillo / Hank Lebioda / Grayson Murray; 15) Adam Hadwin; 16) Charl Schwartzel; 17) Chesson Hadley / Scott Stallings / Kevin Streelman; 20) Max Homa.
  • Top 20 SG Around The Green: 1) Jonathan Byrd; 2) Luke Donald; 3) Chris Kirk; 4) Andrew Landry; 5) Sam Burns; 6) Phil Mickelson; 7) Vijay Singh; 8) Seung-yul Noh / Justin Thomas; 10) Cameron Tringale; 11) Sungjae Im / Brian Stuard; 13) Patrick Cantlay; 14) Scott Stallings; 15) Si Woo Kim; 16) Hudson Swafford; 17) Michael Kim; 18) Justin Rose; 19) Ryan Armour / Jon Rahm.
  • Top 20 SG Tee to Green: 1) Viktor Hovland; 2) Cameron Champ; 3) Henrik Norlander; 4) Justin Thomas / Harold Varner III; 6) Jonathan Byrd / Joel Dahmen; 8) Joaquin Niemann / Justin Rose; 10) Jon Rahm; 11) Corey Conners; 12) Hideki Matsuyama; 13) Scott Stallings; 14) Hank Lebioda / Seung-yul Noh / Bubba Watson; 17) Kevin Streelman; 18) Emiliano Grillo; 19) Max Homa; 20) Patrick Cantlay.
  • Top 20 SG Putting: 1) Patrick Cantlay; 2) Brooks Koepka; 3) Jonathan Byrd / Maverick McNealy; 5) Gary Woodland; 6) Mackenzie Hughes / Chris Stroud; 8) Matthew Fitzpatrick; 9) Mark Hubbard / Matt Kuchar; 11) Ian Poulter; 12) Adam Hadwin; 13) Ryan Armour; 14) Troy Merritt; 15) Phil Mickelson; 16) Cameron Champ / Pat Perez / Xander Schauffele; 19) Mark Anderson / Jim Herman / Denny McCarthy / Patrick Rodgers.
  • Top 20 SG Total: 1) Patrick Cantlay; 2) Jonathan Byrd; 3) Cameron Champ; 4) Viktor Hovland; 5) Brooks Koepka; 6) Joel Dahmen / Adam Hadwin; 8) Mark Hubbard / Scott Stallings; 10) Henrik Norlander / Brian Stuard; 12) Maverick McNealy; 13) Matthew Fitzpatrick; 14) Andrew Landry / Seung-yul Noh / Justin Rose; 17) Harold Varner III; 18) Corey Conners / Xander Schauffele / Chris Stroud.

Weather Forecast: latest weather forecast for Dublin, Ohio, is here. We’ve moved from Michigan to Ohio and I think there could be some subtle differences in course set-up this week. Organisers have already stated that greens will run at 11 on the Stimpmeter so that they can use “non Memorial” pin placements – so expect receptive greens.

Thunderstorms are also a real possibility across tournament Tuesday and Wednesday, so we could see soft fairways in-play as the tournament starts. With rain also a +50% feature of Friday and Saturday’s play, there’s very much scope for soft conditions across the Workday Charity Open. Wind won’t be a factor and temperatures will again be up and around 30-34 degrees Celsius Thursday through Saturday, before a passing front brings fresher conditions on Sunday.

Let’s take a view from players as to how Muirfield Village sets up and what skill sets the course favours:

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.

William McGirt (2016): “The one thing that I’ve learned, I think this was my fourth time playing here, I think. The biggest thing I’ve learned is where you can and cannot miss it. Most of the week, I missed it in the proper spot and left myself a chance to get it up and down. I mean, that’s the whole key around here is you can’t go attacking pins. Like the pin yesterday on 18. I mean, I’m standing out there in the fairway knowing that, if I hit 7 iron and catch any gust at all and it lands on the front, it’s coming 30 yards back down the fairway, but I’m thinking 6 could potentially go in that back bunker. And I kind of chickened out in the end, but I knew the right bunker was fine. So I kind of chickened out in the end and fanned it over there and got it up and down.

Jordan Spieth (2015): “A couple of things specifically about the course, the greens are arguably tied for first or second only to Augusta National as far as speed and how pure they are consistently each year. I love putting on greens where you have to have imagination, you have to play these ridges, speed control is so vital. And then I enjoy the ball striking part of this course where these pins are located normally three times. They’re located pretty close to each other, and if you hit a really good tee shot, you’re set up to feed into these holes. You can have really short birdie putts and you’ll see some eagles out here, given that the greens are so fast, they’ll just speed off the side and roll down. But if you get yourself out of position off the tee, and all of a sudden you’re left you can’t really take much of a chance because then you get above the hole and you’re out of it. So premium on positioning off the tee, and then imagination putting. And I enjoy those aspects of Muirfield.

Rickie Fowler (2015): “Yeah, most of the driving areas are generous in a way. There are some tight holes where you do have to be careful. But for the most part, it’s a second shot golf course. You have to have control of your golf ball coming to these greens, and you have to be able to put yourself on the right side of the hole on the right section of the green, which can definitely make a difference. It’s a three putt when you’re in the wrong spot. So having that control, coming from the fairway, it could be the proper side of the fairway, too, if the fairway is that big. But having to come in from the right side to change the angle, it can turn it into a little bit of a tighter hole. But it is definitely a second shot golf course. And you’re rewarded with good shots, but it will pick you apart if you’re off your numbers or missing your lines.

Matt Kuchar (2014): “Justin Rose. Kenny Perry. K.J. There’s not a whole lot of similarities amongst that crew. I mean, I think this course demands you to do everything well. These greens seem to get every bit as fast as Augusta National’s. You have to be on your game. And I think when greens are fast, it’s not so much a premium on your putting, but your iron shots is a real premium and positioning your iron shots. Driving is certainly a premium here. You don’t have to hit a lot of drivers. The longer guys, particularly, don’t have to hit a lot of drivers. I tend to hit more than most. I tend to challenge some of the shorter holes knowing those are opportunities for me to turn into real birdieable holes and know that my driving is one of my strengths, so I tend to challenge those a little more than most. I think in order to do well, you just have to have all parts of your game working well.

Bubba Watson (2014): “The course has a major feel, it’s because of the fact that it’s so difficult. It’s an approach shot golf course, I guess you’d say. The fairways are generous. Even I hit a lot of fairways here. So it’s all about your iron shots. It’s all about controlling your distance. It’s all about your mental game, because the par 3s, these have to be the most difficult par 3s on any course, all four of these put together. So it’s all about your approach shots into the greens and approach shots on the par 3s. So the last finishing stretch is you’re going to have a difficult shot over the water on 16, which is one of the toughest holes I’ve ever seen in my life, and 17 you’re going to have tough iron shot. And 18 now, the length, make it even tougher with that green. And so it’s all about your mental focus and what you can do. That’s what we all want. We always feel like if you focus better than the other guys and you think your ability is good enough, you’re going to be there in the end. We want it as tough as possible, or I want it tough as possible so that it weeds out some of the guys that aren’t thinking positive.

Phil Mickelson (2014): “Gotta drive the ball well here. It’s hard to recover from here. And your short irons need to be sharp because you’ve got to make a lot of birdies here. But then you also have to have your long irons and hybrids strong because you’re hitting those into the par 5s. And the greens are so pure and around the hole there’s not a lot of movement that you can really make some putts.

For the record, here’s the breakdown of pure Poa Annua and Bentgrass/Poa Annua mix PGA Tour victors in the field since 2008:

  • 6 – Bubba Watson.
  • 5 – Phil Mickelson.
  • 4 – Jason Day, Brandt Snedeker.
  • 3 – Jimmy Walker.
  • 2 – Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Vijay Singh, Brendan Steele, Jordan Spieth, Nick Watney, Gary Woodland.
  • 1 – Aaron Baddeley, Keegan Bradley, Patrick Cantlay, Cameron Champ, Jason Dufner, Emiliano Grillo, James Hahn, J.B. Holmes, Billy Horschel, Russell Knox, Matt Kuchar, Nate Lashley, Marc Leishman, Shane Lowry, Hideki Matsuyama, Graeme McDowell, Collin Morikawa, Ted Potter Jnr, Andrew Putnam, Jon Rahm, Chez Reavie, Justin Rose, Scott Stallings, Steve Stricker, Chris Stroud, Nick Taylor, Justin Thomas, Kevin Tway, Bo Van Pelt.

Trends-wise, since the PGA Tour return we’ve seen a quality line-up of winners. 66/1 (Daniel Berger), 30/1 (Webb Simpson), 30/1 (DJ) and 7/1 (DeChambeau) have been the winning prices to this point. And the winner’s list over the past 5 years reads David Lingmerth (500/1), William McGirt (200/1) Jason Dufner (66/1), Bryson DeChambeau (50/1), Patrick Cantlay (18/1). I’m christening this week the “Memorial Lite” and it’s easy to see that the field this week is far stronger than we would have seen at the John Deere Classic. With the Memorial next week, the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational 3 weeks away and the PGA Championship the mere matter of 4 weeks away, top players are positioning themselves for the season’s first Major Championship.

Muirfield Village is a true tee-to-green festival where great driving, accurate approaches and a high-class scrambling game are all required. It’s a real all-round test with Cantlay, DeChambeau and Dufner all ranking in the top 2 of that particular skill category when winning here over the past 3 years. But what would you really expect from Jack Nicklaus’ most famous design and a man who has won the most Major Championships of all-time.

My final Workday Charity Open tips are as follows:

Brooks Koepka 2.5pts EW 16/1 (8EW, 1/5) with William Hill

You can take your pick at the top of the market with Thomas at 11/1, Rahm at 14/1 and then Cantlay, Matsuyama. Koepka and Schauffele at the 16/1-18/1 range. For me that makes it relatively easy, so I’ve taken Brooks Koepka.

His U.S. Open win in 2017 was followed by another U.S Open, a PGA Championship and the CJ Cup in 2018. Last year saw the World Number 6 then capture another PGA Championship and the WGC-St Jude Invitational. I make that 6 wins in just over 3 years or 5 wins in the past 25 months, you can read it as you wish. Fact is from a win equity perspective, Thomas beats Koepka  – 8 wins in 3 years – whereas Rahm (1 singles win), Matsuyama (1 win), Schauffele (3 wins) and Cantlay (2 wins) at pretty much the same price as Koepka does not make betting sense to me. All naturally have their strong points, but I prefer Koepka far more this week.

Last time we saw Brooks was at the claustrophobic Harbour Town where he shot a 65 and supporting rounds of 66/67 to finish 7th. 5th for Total Driving, 3rd for Ball Striking, 6th for Greens in Regulation, 14th for Strokes Gained Putting, 8th for Putting Average and 4th for All-Round, Brooks undoubtedly made a statement with his play and his post-Sunday round comments were fascinating to hear; “I actually sat everybody on my team down, my trainer, my caddie, Pete Cowen, my agent, Claude, my physio, we had about eight of us there and just sat down. I told them what I wanted to do is get back to what got us there. I think sometimes, when you get to the top, you change things a little bit. I laugh at it now because I always say, when I do that, I’m not going to do anything, and I think I tried to play too perfect instead of just being me, just go out and play golf. So it’s nice to be back to doing, kind of take the handcuffs off. It just felt nice to feel something again. August was the last time I probably ever felt anything. So just feels good to be back somewhat.”

Dustin Johnson was also at the RBC Heritage and played very nicely on a course that’s alien to both him and Brooks. As we know, he went on to win The Travelers and I feel that Koepka can do the same kind of thing this week at Muirfield Village. Wins at Erin Hills, Wisconsin, Shinnecock Hills, New York, and Bethpage Black, New York, highlight that Koepka plays very nicely in the northern United States. Correlating form like 3rd at Kapalua (2016), 1st at TPC Scottsdale (2015), 2nd at Augusta National (2019), 2nd at Colonial (2018), plus 4th (2015) and 2nd (2016) at TPC Summerlin, ties in perfectly with Muirfield Village specialist Kenny Perry who won here in both 2003 and 2008 plus was 7th (2001), 6th (2004) and 3rd (2007) at Jack’s Place.

Since the PGA Tour resumption, Koepka ranks 5th in this field for Strokes Gained Off the Tee, 2nd for Strokes Gained Putting and 5th for Strokes Gained Total, so I’m more than happy for a success-hungry Brooks to spearhead my line up this week, especially with a returning Ricky Elliott on the bag. RESULT: MC

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Adam Hadwin 1pt EW 50/1 (8EW, 1/5) with William Hill

Adam Hadwin is an easy selection for me given his 66/1 each-way return for this column last week.

Nothing tangible has changed effectively, as the Canadian continues to hit the ball with aplomb. 20th for Fairways Hit, 2nd for Greens in Regulation, 13th for Proximity to Hole and 8th for Scrambling, his traditional statistic tee-to-green game was in rude health. Across my 8-week trackers he also ranks across this field 20th for Driving Accuracy, 1st for Greens in Regulation, 17th for Strokes Gained Tee to Green, 5th for SG Putting and 4th for Strokes Gained Total, which is effectively Strokes Gained current form.

11th here in 2016, the 32 year-old is challenging again for a spot in the OWGR top 50 – he currently sits 53rd in the World Rankings – and if one of the top players doesn’t take this Workday Charity Open title, I can see Adam potentially picking up the pieces. -6/65, -5/65 and another pair of -5/67s across his last 3 outings post-PGA Tour resumption at Harbour Town, Colonial and Detroit Golf Club show that the Scottsdale, Arizona resident is close and at the start of this season Hadwin finished 2nd on the Bentgrass Poa Annua greens at Silverado, before finishing 4th the next week at TPC Summerlin. RESULT: T35

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Cameron Champ 1pt EW 70/1 (7EW, 1/5) with Betfred

Winners at Muirfield Village in the past have tended to be driving the ball very well on arrival. Patrick Cantlay ranked 10th for Strokes Gained Off the Tee at the PGA Championship prior to winning the Memorial Tournament last year. Bryson DeChambeau before that ranked 8th for SG Off the Tee the previous outing at Colonial. Even William McGirt in 2016 was driving the ball very sweetly – a couple of top-7 SG Off the Tee performances at TPC Sawgrass and Colonial – prior to winning the Memorial at 200/1. So Cameron Champ really appeals to me this week, after all that’s undoubtedly the sweet part of his game.

Fact is though that Cameron is playing some excellent stuff right now. Across my 8-week skill set trackers he ranks in this field 2nd for Greens in Regulation, 17th for SG Off the Tee, 9th for SG on Approach, 2nd for SG Tee to Green and 2nd for SG Total. That’s not too bad in a field that includes Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Cantlay, Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele.

The picture gets even more fascinating when you look at the last 4 weeks since the PGA Tour resumed. In this field, Champ ranks 1st for SG Off the Tee, 2nd for Strokes Gained Tee to Green, 16th for SG Putting and 3rd for SG Total. 70/1 sounds good to me!  A winner this season at Silverado, a classical style Par 72 which features Bentgrass/Poa Annua mix greens in California, Champ’s young career has already seen him win twice on the PGA Tour, both times on Par 72 formats. From Sacramento, California his liking for Poa Annua makes logical sense and a longer, slower Muirfield Village this week should really play into his wheelhouse. RESULT: 67th

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Joel Dahmen 1pt EW 80/1 (8EW, 1/5) with William Hill

I’ll also plump for Joel Dahmen who’s been garnering plenty of interest as of late. That’s understandable for a player who finished 5th at Invitational-status events at both Riviera Country Club and Bay Hill, prior to the Covid-19 suspension, and has 19th and 20th finishes at Colonial and TPC River Highlands since the resumption.

Dahmen is a player who loves old-style, classical courses and he’s elite-level from tee to green this season. Take his Strokes Gained numbers which are impressive: 21st for Off the Tee, 13th for Approach and 13th for Tee to Green is top-notch. Last time out at TPC River Highlands Joel ranked 9th for Driving Distance, 1st for Total Driving, 4th for Ball Striking and 5th for All-Round. At the ‘Cathedral of Ball Striking’, better known as Muirfield Village, I think the course will play to his strengths.

5th at Old White TPC (2018), 2nd at TPC Deere Run (2018), 8th at Glen Abbey (2018) and 2nd at Quail Hollow (2019), Joel clearly has a liking for old-style, parkland golf courses in the main. Ranking 2nd for Proximity to Hole across the PGA Tour season-to-date, I’m pretty certain the Scottsdale, Arizona resident will be able to pick his way through the Nicklaus masterpiece this week and the agronomy of the course will suit just as well, as Dahmen is a Washington man, he also attended the University of Washington in Seattle. RESULT: MC

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Troy Merritt 1pt EW 150/1 (7EW, 1/5) with Betfred

Troy Merritt is always a law unto himself, but I’ll have a small bet on him at 150/1.

A 2-time winner on the PGA Tour, Troy tends to come alive when conditions are softer and, therefore, at a test where scoring is slightly lower. Well let’s suppose it rains this week softening the course and that lower scores are possible – on that basis I could see the Meridian, Idaho native potentially being a factor.

2nd for Driving Accuracy, 12th for Total Driving, 13th for Greens in Regulation, 9th for Ball Striking and 1st for All-Round last week when finishing 8th in Detroit, he was also 7th for SG Off the Tee and 7th for SG Putting.

Wins at the 2015 Quicken Loans National came at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club and at the 2018 Barbasol Championship came at Keen Trace Golf Club, both featuring Bentgrass greens. He’s also just fine on Bentgrass/Poa Annua mix greens as 4th at Silverado in 2018, 2nd at Montreux in 2019 and last week’s 8th at Detroit Golf Club testify. All Par 72s by the way and a look at Merritt’s campaign here at The Memorial 13 months is fascinating. The course was soft for Rounds 1 and 2 and Merritt was the 36-hole leader, shooting 69/66 to sit at -9/135 with Martin Kaymer and K.H. Lee. As the course dried and the wind got up, Merritt dropped back to 17th place finish, but I’m prepared to see what he can do this week and, yes, I’ll be praying for rain in Columbus, Ohio. RESULT: T22

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Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 17:35BST 6.7.20 but naturally subject to fluctuation.