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The Memorial Tournament odds, preview, and course notes

Profile Picture: Ashley Anderson

June 2nd, 2021

Last season, the PGA Tour enjoyed an extended stay at “Jack’s Place” for the WGC Workday Charity Open and Memorial Tournament, hosted across consecutive weeks at Muirfield Village Golf Club last July.

Collin Morikawa won the Workday event, which served as a one-time replacement for the John Deere Classic during the COVID-19 pandemic. A week later, Jon Rahm celebrated a three-stroke victory at the Memorial, one of golf’s most prestigious non-major tournaments.

While the double-dose of Muirfield action gave us a glimpse at which players were best suited for Jack Nicklaus’ famous design in Dublin, Ohio, golfers will confront a fairly new layout this season.

The par-72 course will stretch to 7,543 yards and will feature 18 reconstructed and re-grassed greens, comprised of bentgrass, plus rebuilt bunkers, re-grassed fairways, resurfaced tee boxes, and newly planted trees.

Leading the pack of 121 players at this invitational is tournament favorite and defending champion Rahm (+1100).

The Memorial Tournament Presented by Nationwide 2021

Sun, June 6 2021, 7:59 PM

Rahm, Jon

+1100

Hovland, Viktor

+1400

Thomas, Justin

+1400

Cantlay, Patrick

+1600

McIlroy, Rory

+1600

Morikawa, Collin

+1600

Schauffele, Xander

+1600

Spieth, Jordan

+1600

DeChambeau, Bryson

+1800

Finau, Tony

+2000

The No. 3 golfer in the world will compete alongside a star-studded bunch including up-and-comer Viktor Hovland (+1400), World No. 2 Justin Thomas (+1400), 2019 Memorial champion Patrick Cantlay (+1600), Morikawa (+1600), Jordan Spieth (+1600), Rory McIlroy (+1600), and Bryson DeChambeau (+1800), the 2018 champion.

Muirfield course layout and relevant statistics

As with most Nicklaus courses, exceptional iron play is essential to climbing the leaderboard. Fairways are wider, while the greens measure around 5,000 square feet and are expected to be firm and lightning-fast.

Nearly 70 bunkers and 13 water hazards come into play on 13 holes, and Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass, and fescue will add about four inches of rough.

Ten par 4s measure between 360 and 500 yards, including seven between 450 and 500 yards. Four par 3s range from 180 to 210 yards, and the par 5s are between 547 and 592 yards.

While the three previous winners played a slightly different course, some statistics from the past should still apply here.

Each of the last three Memorial champions ranked 12th or better in greens in regulation percentage at the time of their win. They also ranked 11th or better in ball striking, 12th or better in putting: birdie or better percentage, 12th or better in strokes gained tee to green, fifth or better in scrambling, and 11th or better in par-4 scoring.

Thirteen of the last 15 winners also ranked in the top 40 in adjusted scoring average and in the top 60 in par-5 scoring.

Best bets at the 2021 Memorial Tournament

Morikawa (+1600) should come in confident at the revamped Muirfield, where he defeated Thomas in a play-off at last year's Workday Charity Open.

The 24-year-old just finished 14th at last weekend's Charles Schwab Challenge, and landed seventh and eighth at the RBC Heritage and PGA Championship, respectively, in his two prior appearances on tour.

The winner of this year's World Golf Championships event at the Concession (a course co-designed by Nicklaus), Morikawa has the perfect game to match the challenge of Muirfield.

He's the top iron player on tour and ranks first in greens in regulation percentage, strokes gained tee to green, and par-4 efficiency from 450-500 yards. He also ranks third in ball striking, sixth in birdie average, and seventh in birdie or better percentage putting.

For a longshot play to finish toward the top, back the hot hand of Emiliano Grillo (+5000). The 28-year-old from Argentina finished eighth at the Charles Schwab Challenge and second at the RBC Heritage back in April.

This season, he has posted four top 10s and seven top 20s. He missed the cut at both the Workday Charity Open and Memorial Tournament last year while struggling through a shaky season. However, in 2019, Grillo finished ninth at the Memorial and placed 11th in his debut in 2016.

Grillo currently ranks second on tour in ball striking, third in greens in regulation percentage, ninth in strokes gained approaching the green, 11th in par-4 efficiency from 450-500 yards, and 14th in scoring average.

How to watch the Memorial Tournament

The winner of the Memorial Tournament will receive $1.674 million of a $9.3 million purse and 550 FedEx Cup points.

You can catch the action on the Golf Channel on Thursday and Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. ET, on Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET, and on Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET. CBS will provide live coverage from 3 to 6 p.m. ET on Saturday, and from 2:30 to 6 p.m. ET on Sunday.

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