The Memorial Tournament 2014 – Golf Tips & Picks
This is one of just five invitational tournaments on the PGA tour, which means it features a more competitive field of around 120 rather than the usual 156.
It was established by Jack Nicklaus in 1976 at a course that he designed in the suburb of his home town of Columbus. For the first twenty years of its existence, there were only three non-US winners, but four of the last ten have been from outside the States.
The Muirfield Village Golf Club at Dublin, Ohio was designed as a testing course, rewarding golfers who think their way round, and takes some getting used to. The fairways are wide and forgiving, so although the rough is pretty long, the course does suit the longer hitter. The greens are small and fast, water is in play on many holes and there are plenty of traps for those who take on risky shots.
In The Bunker
Matt Kuchar has been as reliable as ever this year, and it is no surprise to see his name once again amongst the antepost favourites. He’s managed eight top ten finishes in 2014 and goes into this event as defending champion. But last week’s missed cut at Colonial, his first since February, suggests that he may be running out of steam. Even the most consistent players will have the occasional slump and this could be the moment to step off the Kuchar bandwagon.
Justin Rose has been in excellent touch in recent weeks, recording top fifteen finishes in seven of his last nine events, including three consecutive top tens on the PGA Tour, culminating in his fourth at the Players Championship. He finished down the field at Wentworth last week but can bounce back on a course that was the venue for his breakthrough PGA victory, back in 2010. Back him to repeat that triumph at 16/1.
Phil Mickelson’s results this season seem to be following a pattern of top twenty followed by a missed cut, and he’s worth backing to continue the trend at Muirfield. This is one of the few prestigious PGA events missing from his CV and after three weeks off, he should be raring to go, as he aims to hit form with the US Open just a fortnight away. At 25/1, he’s worth a look.
Jason Dufner doesn’t have a good record in this event, having missed the cut on both of his appearances, but he hasn’t played it since 2010 and given that he’s hitting form at the right time, he’s worth giving another chance. After two poor shows at the Players Championship and the Byron Nelson, his second at Colonial last week featured a superb closing round of 66. He goes into this event in great heart and at a tempting price of 35/1.