Golf Betting: Memorial Tournament tips: Past winner and course lover Kuchar can scramble to victory at Jack's Place


Memorial Betting market and overview

It's destination Jack's Place, and "second shot track" Muirfield Village - one of the best and most aesthetically pleasing courses and events outside of the majors. Many of the big names will be using the Memorial Tournament as a warm up for the US Open at Erin Hills and we will see a stellar field led by Dustin Johnson - 7.00 - and Jon Rahm - 12.00. Due to their aggressive nature though, Muirfield Village is a course where I feel they can be taken on. The same goes for local resident and former recent world number 1 Jason Day - 15.00 - who has never really gotten to grips with the track.

There are three names that are pretty much pencilled in to contend here every year and unfortunately, one of those is Justin Rose who has decided to go and practice elsewhere ahead of the US Open. Matt Kuchar - who we will talk about later - is another, and Hideki Matsuyama - who led the proximity to the hole stats en route to victory at Muirfield Village a few years back in 2014 makes up the trio. Matsuyama finished fifth here the following year and at 17.00 I couldn't put you off. Rory McIlroy continues to be absent due to injury.

 

The Course: Muirfield Village - 7,392 yards par 72

Jack Nicklaus designs always offer a little wiggle room off the markers and we can expect the usual pristine, lush conditions (according to early Twitter reports from players) around this tree-lined venue. Key around Memorial is on approaches into small greens protected by bunkering, and usually thick rough. Surfaces are generally the fastest on Tour, especially from above the hole, so accuracy and leaving yourself under the cup is vital. Short siding yourself around Muirfield Village is a huge error, often leaving impossible up and downs from penal the greenside rough. Course specialist Matt Kuchar describes the surfaces as the fastest on Tour from above the hole. 
A buzz phrase you'll hear many times this week from the commentators and from me banging on about it every year here, is the above "short side" but I'll make no apologies as it is unbelievably important at Muirfield Village, and it is why, year in year out, certain players thrive and others don't. These are players who excel in course management and distance control / proximity with approaches and mental side of the game. “Proximity to the hole” will be another buzz phrase this week. Those with a high ball flight will be at an advantage and as mentioned keeping yourself under the pin is hugely important. Par 5 scoring is always a player here too.

 

Memorial Tournament - Best Bets

Matt Kuchar's - 34.00 or 7.50 - Memorial form figures now read 13-10-5-8-2-1-15-26-4 and if it weren't for a weather delay late in the 2016 event, arguably Kuch would have bagged win no. 2 last season. His rhythm was interrupted, leading him to fire into a bunker and then make a very uncharacteristic error in hitting the lip on his next shot. Kuchar is a course specialist at Memorial for all the reasons mentioned above: His course management is second to none and he knows where to play to at Muirfield Village, even if it's away from the pin. Kuch's scrambling/putting on fast greens is where he excels and he's more than efficient with the wedge. Smart play is the key for Kuch who (as mentioned above) says the greens at Memorial are the fastest he's played from above the hole, and he's very wary of leaving his shots under the cup and avoiding the "shortside".  Matt is 11th in scrambling this year

Kevin Chappell - 51.00 Or 11.00 - finally bagged his maiden win on tour at the Valero Texas Open and many are expecting the flood gates to open now. He described it as "a monkey off his back" and, as written in last year's preview, Chappell has previous at Jack's place having been the one to chase Matt Kuchar home in 2013. Both he and Kuchar coped with the course conditions and being in contention extremely well that Sunday. Indeed, Chappell fired a bogey free 68 on the final day for a runner-up finish. He's been simmering at Muirfield Village since but with the injection of confidence the excellent 30-year-old ball striker could contend again on a course he knows how to manage.

I'm going to stick with former Memorial winner Steve Stricker - 67.00 or 14.00 - this week. He struggled a bit at Colonial in the poor conditions over the first three days but when the wind dropped on Sunday, he powered to a birdie blitz -7 (63) and another top 10 finish. Stricker hasn't finished outside the top 50 at Memorial since 2007, and again, he is a player that knows how to use course management skills and play smart here. Steve is trying to qualify for the US Open in his home state via the world rankings, or qualification, and a high finish here would help his cause.