The 2018 Memorial: Preview and picks to win

The Memorial


The 2018 Memorial Tournament at Muirfield in Dublin, Ohio starts this week with 120 players teeing off in the first round on Thursday.

Jason Dufner is the defending champion.

This is the strongest field we have had on the PGA Tour since the Players Championship with 8 out of top 10 in the Official World Golf Rankings at the Memorial.

Tiger Woods returns for the first time since 2015 and tournament host Jack Nicklaus says it would not surprise him to see Woods win this week. Woods has won the Memorial five times in his career.

Facts about the Memorial:

Dates: May 28-June 3, 2018

Where: Dublin, Ohio

Course: Muirfield Village Golf Club 36-36—par 72/7,392 yards

Field size: 120

2017 champion: Jason Dufner

Purse: $8,900,000 ($1,602,000/winner)

FedExCup: 500 points to the winner

Format: 72-hole stroke play

How Jason Dufner won in 2017

Jason Dufner overcame a four-shot deficit on the final day to win the 2017 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide by three shots over Rickie Fowler and Anirban Lahiri. Locked in a battle that saw five players within two shots of the lead with three holes to play and two weather delays, Dufner made a par at the 72nd hole with a putt of 32 feet, 7 inches to secure the victory. The win marked Dufner’s fifth PGA TOUR title in his 278th start at the age of 40 years, 2 months, 11 days. Born in Cleveland, Dufner became just the second Ohio native to win the Memorial Tournament, joining tournament-host Jack Nicklaus, who won in 1977 and 1984.

Final Leaderboard

Jason Dufner 65-65-77-68—275 (-13)

Anirban Lahiri 74-70-69-65—278 (-10)

Rickie Fowler 70-66-72-70—278 (-10)

Predictions to Win the 2018 Memorial

  1.  Rory McIlroy

This will be the first time I have picked Rory to win this year. McIlroy won earlier this year at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He finished T-5th at the Masters, and T-16th at the Wells Fargo, both events he has won in the past.

What impressed me was last week at the BMW PGA Championship.  McIlroy should of won but failed to close for the win on Sunday and finished 3 strokes back. No win but his game was solid and a much better putting performance, something that has been on and off this year. When his putter is on, there are very few that can beat him when he is running on all cylinders.

He has a good record at the Memorial. In 2011 he finished 5th at Memorial and went on to win the US Open. So this week is a good indicator of how players will fare at the US Open.

Rory McIlroy is 27 under in 22 rounds playing 6 years- 4th out of all players with that have played the event 2 years or more.

He averages (-1.23) per round

In six appearances at the Memorial, McIlroy has made 102 birdies, and 5 eagles. That is an average of 4.86 birdies/eagles per round. In the field of 120 that is ranked sixth.

*McIlroys finishes at Memorial- 2016-T-4th, 2014-T-15, 2013 T-57, 2012-Cut, 2011- 5th, 2010-T-10th.

The Memorial is one of the most coveted championships in golf and Rory would love to add this event to his list of victories.

As mentioned above, McIlroy was disappointed with his second place finish and he plays good when he is mad. Also rain is predicted for Thursday and Friday, and McIlroy thrives in bad weather while other players hate it.

I look for McIlroy to pick up his second win of the season and make him a favorite for the upcoming US Open.

2. Justin Rose

After his dominating and impressive win last week in Fort Worth, everyone is picking Justin Rose to win this week. I cannot disagree with their logic but I don’t believe he will win back to back this week at the Memorial.

Rose is currently a favorite of mine to win the US Open.

He has two wins on the PGA Tour this year. He won the WGC at HSBC Championship, and the Fort Worth Invitational last week. He also T-3rd at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

His putter has been the only missing piece of solid game and his putter was on fire last week at Fort Worth. He ranks 15th in strokes gained off the tee, 13th in SG putting, and 3rd in Strokes Gained total this year.

With the win last week he has jumped up to 3rd in the OWGR.

  • Rose finishes at the Memorial, 2015-2nd, 2014-cut, 2013-T-8, 2012-8th, 2011-cut, 2010-WON, 2009-cut, 2008-2nd, 2006-T-14th.
  • In six appearances he has made 89 birdies/eagles and averaged 4.45 birdies/eagles per round.
  • The reason I don’t pick Rose this week is something I see on tour almost each week; it is very difficult to win back to back. It is not the game or condition of the player, it is the demands on the players time after the win the previous week. Meeting with the media, photo shoots, celebrations with sponsors, radio and tv spots on the following Monday and various other request and demands that come with winning. In summary, it is exhausting for a player and most come to the next event really tired and just want to rest. For that reason and that reason only, I am not picking Rose to win this week. On the other hand, like McIlroy, Rose plays well in wet weather and it looks we will get plenty in the first two rounds.
  • 3.Justin Thomas

How do you not pick the No. 1 player in the World Golf Rankings, especially after a fourth place finish here last year.

Thomas did not fair well here in his first few appearances at Muirfield Village. Yes a T-4 last year, but the previous two years he missed the cut. We have seen a much improved Justin Thomas since then. The Justin Thomas who is the No. 1 player in the World can win on any given course, any week. It all depends on the putter, and how he feels, as with all the great ones.

He last four starts have been less than impressive, with a T-17 at the Masters, a MC at the Zurich Classic, a T-21 at Wells Fargo, and a T-11 at the Players, but still good enough to jump up to the No. 1 spot in the rankings.  This will be his first start at the No. 1 ranked player.

That added motivation of being introduced on the first tee should be a huge boost for Thomas. He should be rested and like most of the top players, using the Memorial for a tune-up for the US Open so I expect to see him giving it his best all four rounds with the US Open in the back of his mind.

Again, you cannot bet against the best player in the World, and while he is my third pick, he could easily be the 2018 Memorial champion this year. I told you so!


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