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19th June 2024 5:03 pm

“A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries."

The PGA Tour: The Memorial. At Muirfield. In Dublin. In Ohio

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Sandy Lane previews this week’s USPGA event, the Memorial at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio
 
Watching Robert MacIntyre’s maiden PGA Tour victory in last week’s Canadian Open was genuinely refreshing. With his rugged-featured Dad on the bag, the shy Scotsman proved to be a natural front-runner, and his humility shone out in the post-tournament interviews. This guru welcomed his 80-1 success, as was Tom Kim’s late run into the T4 spot.
Onwards and upwards, then to the Memorial, on the course that Jack built. Muirfield in Scotland was the favourite Open Championship Course of the legendary Jack Nicklaus, an 18-time major winner, so he named the first course he designed in its honour. Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, first staged the Memorial in 1976. The heavily wooded parkland course presents a stiff but fair challenge to the world’s finest golfers. The rough here can be brutal, and there are water hazards at 11 of its holes. The Par-72 course features bentgrass greens. The key stats revolve around the Strokes Gained category: tee-to-green, approach the green, off-the-tee.
Scottie and Rory are hot favourites to win but are surely vulnerable, given their recent well-documented off-course distractions. We have, therefore, looked in other directions but must confess to having had a battle to narrow this field down to seven selections. With all this in mind, here are my Magnificent Seven (Name and Current Price) picks for the Memorial. Please note that bets should be placed by Noon on Thursday.
 
VICTOR HOVLAND 17/1: The defending champion is coming to the boil at just the right time. His strong finish into 3rd place in the PGA Championship came after being reunited with his original swing coach, Joe Mayo. The Norwegian superstar could be in for a strong summer campaign.
JUSTIN THOMAS 28/1: The former World #1 has been overshadowed by several of his contemporaries in recent times, but there have been real signs of a revival in his last three appearances (5-21-8), and he has had 2 top twenties here in the past. His stat-matching this week is only exceeded by Scheffler.
TOM KIM 56/1: One of our favourite rising stars had been quiet this season until playing impressively in Canada last week, where he finished T4. An analysis of his past form indicates that most of his victories have been signalled in advance by his play in the preceding tournament.
LUDVIG ABERG 25/1: The Swedish giant is said to be fully recovered from his recent knee injury and will relish the challenge presented by Muirfield. His astonishingly rapid rise to #6 in the Official World Golf Rankings resulted from finishing in the top 25 in eight of his last nine tournaments.
COLLIN MORIKAWA 14/1: What’s not to like about the affable 2020 Memorial champion and 2022 runner-up? Yes, he has not converted his chances in his two recent outings, but finishing 4th in both was not too shabby.
MAX HOMA 41/1: Rather mixed form this season, but a return to Jack’s course, where he finished 6th in 2022 and 5th last year, could be just the ticket. Max loves long, demanding courses like this one, and his T3 in The Masters is still fresh in the memory.
SAM BURNS 41/1: Two top twenty placings here in the last three years and some very strong recent form make Sam a natural choice. This could be the week where the nappy factor kicks in, following the recent arrival of baby Bear.
Stake 1 point each way on all, and keep an eye out for Scottie Scheffler 15/4 on Saturday evening.
Good Luck – Sandy Lane
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