The Memorial Tournament played at Jack Nicklaus’ Muirfield Village Golf Club, is at an elite level of PGA Tour events, which along with the Genesis Invitational and the Arnold Palmer Invitational, award three year Tour exemptions with a victory. Players have to earn it, with the par 72, 7,543-yard layout always one of the more challenging venues they face all year, and it may be even more difficult in 2021 as the course underwent some alterations since last year’s tournament.
The 2020 edition was postponed to July due to Covid-19 and was one of two consecutive events held at the course, with John Rahm winning by three shots over Ryan Palmer despite shooting a final round three over par 75. At one point on Sunday, his lead had swelled to eight shots which enabled him to survive a five-over par 41 on the back nine.
Some of the biggest names in the sport are in the field, which for many players will be their last start prior to the U.S. Open that will be held at Torrey Pines on June 17-20. In addition to the defending champion, last week’s runner-up Jordan Spieth, reigning U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and four-time major champion Rory McIlroy are in the field.
Charley Hoffman (+5000) has made eleven consecutive cuts, with four top-10s and nine top-20 finishes in that stretch.
Rahm is the futures odds favorite at +1200, followed by Spieth at +1600 and DeChambeau at +1800. Collin Morikawa, the winner of the 2020 PGA Championship is also at +1800 along with McIlroy, who recently broke a year and a half victory drought with a win at the Wells Fargo Championship.
World number two Justin Thomas leads a trio of players at +2000 that also includes Patrick Cantlay and young phenom Viktor Hovland. Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama is at +2800, 2020 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Scottie Scheffler is at +4500 and slumping but ever-popular Rickie Fowler is a big underdog at +6000.
Underdog Betting Picks: The Memorial Presented by Nationwide
Charley Hoffman at +5000 fired an eight-under par second round 62 at Colonial Country Club last week on his way to a third-place finish in the Charles Schwab Challenge and has seemed to be lurking on the leaderboard for much of the season. He’s made 11 consecutive cuts with four top ten and nine top twenty finishes in that stretch.
The ultimate grinder, Billy Horschel at +6600 has done a lot of that this season on his way to five top-ten finishes with a second place in the WGC – Workday Championship at The Concession. With the changes in the course making scoring tougher, it might set up well for the former FedEx Cup champion.
Rickie Fowler is making his first start since a tie for eighth in the PGA Championship, and like Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy before him, is hoping to make 2021 the season where he breaks out of a multi-year slump. His last and fifth PGA Tour win came in the 2019 Waste Management Open and it’s just a matter of time for him to add a sixth title.