2022 Memorial Golf Tournament Betting Preview
This week we will be watching the sport’s best tee it up at Muirfield Village Golf Club for the 2022 Memorial Golf Tournament. “Jack’s Place” as they call it has hosted this illustrious staple on the PGA Tour each year since 1976. Now falling on the schedule at an opportune time to capture the attention of all the pros between the PGA Championship & U.S. Open, there are seven of the top ten players in OWGR in attendance.
Memorial Golf Tournament Course Overview
This Jack Nicklaus design will play at a robust 7,533 yards (Par 72) and show off its new teeth after a renovation from mid-2020 through early 2021. In addition to adding length and resurfacing the greens & tee boxes, the green speeds project to play much faster than in the previous few installments of the tournament which should keep scoring difficult this week.
Last year’s event was “won” in dramatic fashion by Patrick Cantlay in a playoff over Collin Morikawa (his 2nd Memorial Tournament win) after Jon Rahm tested positive for COVID-19 following the third round. Rahm was leading by a then-tournament record six shots fueled by his Saturday score of 64, which in my opinion was the best single round of golf played on Tour last season. Clearly frustrated, Rahm was able to parlay his hot form and extra motivation into his first major championship victory at last year’s U.S. Open, but Cantlay won the final duel of the season between the two at the Tour Championship.
Memorial Golf Tournament Analysis
With the exception of some anomalies from 2015 thru 2017, the cream generally rises to the top at Muirfield Village, and my betting card will reflect those trends this week. Stellar approach play with mid-long irons coupled with scrambling on these lightning fast Bermuda greens are the formula for success. Although on the longer side, this is one tournament historically where Strokes Gained:Off The Tee is not as important.
Rickie Fowler will make a return from an extended hiatus on my betting card due to some quietly consistent form with his irons, scrambling and putter over the past two months. After yet another putter change, the once top 10 ranked player seems to have found something with three made cuts in a row. A T-21 at the Wells Fargo and T-23 at the PGA Championship show us that he is up for difficult golf courses right now, and we project Muirfield Village to be more of the same. Sitting at just inside the Top 125 in FedEx Cup standings, Fowler is running out of time and sponsor exemptions to keep his once A-Level career on the PGA Tour and not either down on the Korn Ferry Tour or overseas on the LIV Tour. Although most of the results were when he was a different caliber player, Rickie has four Top 15 in his last five starts at Jack’s Place.
Another man who has not been backed by any of my money in quite some time that I will begrudgingly have to root for this weekend is Patrick Reed. The ethically questionable Masters champion had really fallen off the face of the earth from late summer last year until early March this year with a myriad of missed cuts, mostly in part due to some of the worst Off-The-Tee and Approach play on tour. Reed has found it lately with the driver and irons (gained in three of last four starts Off-The Tee and last two with Approach) and has parlayed that into five cuts made in his last six, highlighted with a T-7 finish at last week’s Charles Schwab. Reed’s world class Around-The-Green play was the only part of his game that did not abandon him over the past year, and he really has turned it on in that facet of the game over the past month. I am not ready to back him on an Outright bet at this shrunken price, but I do like his Top 10 (+400) and Top 5 (+800) props here.
Known for his long tee ball and pinpoint iron accuracy, Joaquin Niemann has been making his biggest strides of late with his scrambling. The 23-year-old Costa Rican has gained an outstanding 1.8 strokes per round Around-The-Green over his last 10 tour rounds and gained his most in that department (+5.1 to the field) when he captured a win this season at a tournament sponsored by one of the greats in golf history. That week was at Tiger Woods’ Genesis Invitational at Riviera, and I love the price on Niemann (40/1) to be handed the trophy by Jack Nicklaus following this Sunday’s round.
Shane Lowry has played far too good of golf on the PGA Tour this season to be without a win, yet here we are past the halfway point on the calendar and the Irishman has yet to lift a trophy. Heartbreaks at the Honda (2nd) and RBC Heritage (3rd) along with a close call at the Masters (3rd) have put together quite the season for the 2019 Open Championship winner, but only a victory would satisfy Lowry at this point. He has kept a very small schedule since the turn of the calendar year (this is only his 7th PGA Tour start since January 1st), so we can expect him to bring his A-game from the 1st tee box onwards here.
The top play on my card this week is a strict talent-to-price bet with Collin Morikawa at 20/1. Throughout his career, I have been one of many in the golf gambling community to benefit from backing him any time his outright price has drifted north of 20/1, and time & time again he has come through. He won the 2020 Workday at 35/1, the 2020 PGA Championship at 30/1, the 2021 WGC Workday at 40/1, and the 2021 Open Championship at 30/1. The days of his pricing going that high are behind us, but seeing him drop to just the 7th betting favorite here has my attention. Morikawa finished 2nd at the Memorial last year and his 2020 Workday win was hosted at Muirfield Village, so it is very fair to say he has taken a liking to the course. Even though his results have been far below his talent level since March, the only thing that has been off has been his putter, and we know with Morikawa all we need to cash a winning ticket is to just have a week where he can break even on the greens.
Memorial Golf Tournament Picks Card
Rickie Fowler (+750)
Patrick Reed (+400)
Patrick Reed (+800)
Joaquin Niemann (+750)
Joaquin Niemann (+4000)
Shane Lowry (+2500)
Collin Morikawa (+2000)