Helllloo Columbus! Tom and I are both hometown boys, so this is one of our favorite events all year. Muirfield typically rewards course managers, like past winners Hideki Matsuyama and Matt Kuchar. However, that’s not to say that length doesn’t help with some reachable par 5’s. Course history is also good to take a look at as well, as typically those players who have played well here, continue to do so COUGHRyanMooreCOUGH. With the added bonus of having a stacked field, the Memorial Tournament is sure to be a must-watch this weekend.
The Top 3
What to do with Rory, Day and Spieth? I’m tempted to say fade them all, however then I start sounding like the Mad King — “FADE THEM ALL!” — Of the three, I think Spieth is the most likely to go top-10, if only to prove that he can dominate a “Augustesque” course (see hole 12 at Muirfield Village). Day is a member at Muirfield, so in theory, he should have that home-course swag, but we all saw how that can turn out with Webb Simpson at Quail Hollow. I could see Day getting into the “trying too hard” mentality and start really feeling some quick sand. Rory actually lines up pretty well for Muirfield, and will most likely be the lowest owned among the three. I could see him getting it done, but I will probably have very little stock in the OWGR top 3.
Rickie Fowler – He’s up, he’s down, he’s winning, he’s cut. He’s like a penny stock, and course history would suggest his position isn’t skyrocketing this week. Boom, faded.
Phil Mickelson – Speaking of stocks…nothing like playing in front of bunch of people who think you’re a crook. Top that off with Phil being overtly critical of the Muirfield fans taking pictures of him and boom, faded.
High End Plays
Hideki Matsuyama – This is far and away my play of the week — along with everyone else on the planet I’m sure. I will be building all sorts of lineups around Matsuyama. He’s definitely the chalk play, but he’s the chalk play for a reason. He’s got great form coming in, great course history, and played well at a similar course this year, Augusta. I’m all chalked up for Mr. Matsuyama.
Dustin Johnson – I actually really like DJ this week. His ability to bomb, makes those reachable par-5’s all the more easier, and I can see him gaining some a lot of strokes there. Remember when DJ was cut this year? Yeah, me neither. He has been trending upwards at this tournament as well, with a nice T13 last year. I really like the DJ play this week.
Bubba Watson – In the same vein as DJ, Bubba has been playing great golf, and can make those par-5’s a lot easier with his distance. He also hasn’t missed a cut this year. The only thing I worry about with Bubba is a little rust, not having played since The Players back in mid-May. Still though, Bubba looks like a nice GPP play.
Matt Kuchar – Not much else to say other then he’s a cut making machine. Comes in with great form, and good course history. Cash game play for sure. Ownership might dictate that you stay away from him in GPP’s.
Mid Range Plays
Paul Casey – I really like Paul Casey this week. I think his Masters showing, makes him look like a solid play here. Definitely a little worried about some rust, but he should be well rested, and ready to play this week. Slightly worried about his ownership, as I think people may look at his Masters finish and think they’re being sneaky.
Charl Schwartzel – $8,000 really? talk about a discount. There’s a lot of guys that should be in the 8k range, but I don’t think Charl is one of them. He’s notched a few top-20’s at The Memorial and comes in with perfectly fine form. I could see him shaking Jack’s hand on Sunday.
Daniel Berger – Berger is another name that seems to be totally discounted. Once again form would dictate that he is ready to go this week, and notching top-10’s at both The Masters and The Players would suggest he’s not afraid of the field.
Kevin Chappell – If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a hundred times. I love the bounce back play. How many people did Chappell burn last week to see his price go back to its average? I like DJ-lite at The Memorial. He’s shown he can get it done here, and is probably just seething knowing Webb Simpson somehow got it going last week, when Chappell couldn’t.
Other names I like: Marc Leishman, Jason Dufner, Bill Haas, Russel Knox, Ryan Moore.
Low End Plays
Daniel Summerhays – Summerhays has quietly been having a solid year. He’s got decent course history and I would look for him to come out and contend. The only worry is the strength of field but I wouldn’t be surprised with a top-10 from Dan The Man.
Adam Hadwin – Surprise, surprise, Adam Hadwin shows up again in this list. He’s been making cut after cut, and he just cruises with his putter week in week out. His ownership is growing every week. I could definitely see Hadwin coming out of nowhere and surprising everyone with a win.
Will McGirt – Tom, my co-author, who happens to be on the road, really called it saying McGirt plays his best when he’s in a field with the top guys. Well guess what, he’s in a field with top guys. The price tag dictates that he should be a nice value play this week, and a good guy to use to fill out some roster spots.