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BlogWho will win at Memorial on Sunday?

Memorial Tournament

May 29 – June 1, 2014

Muirfield Village G.C.

Dubin,, Ohio

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,392

Purse: $6.2 million

with $1,116,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Matt Kuchar

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

Things you need to know before Sunday’s final round:

Gosh golf is fun to watch again, what gives?

Since the Masters, we have seen some good play from the marquee names we are used to seeing at the top of the leaderboard.  We saw Bubba Watson win the Masters and since Matt Kuchar, Martin Kaymer, Adam Scott and even Rory McIlroy have won.  We have had Brendon Todd and Seung-Yul Noh slip their the cracks to win for the first time, but I can’t stress the importance of having players like #1 Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Matt Kuchar and Bubba Watson winning

So why are the marquee players doing well again?

Frankly they are playing which is news.  Guys like Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy only played sparingly until the Masters, now they are playing more.  With the bulk of the big events upon us, the marquee players are now warming up and ready to make runs at the U.S. Open, British Open, PGA Championship and along with the FedEx Cup playoff events and the Ryder Cup.

What’s happening at the Memorial?

After breaking off his engagement, Rory McIlroy won the BMW PGA Championship, hoped a plane across the Atlantic and shot an opening round 63, the lowest opening round in the 39 year history of the Memorial.  But on the seventh hole McIlroy caught his spikes on some grass and twisted his knee that caused him pain during the round.  Of course when you’re playing well you don’t feel that pain, but in the second round the knee played a role as he was seven over on the front nine and went on to shoot 78, 15 shots higher.  During the second round, Paul Casey shot a second straight 66 to take the lead.  Casey, a former Ryder Cup player who many thought would be the games next superstar.  After winning the BMW PGA Championship in 2009, Casey rose to 3rd in the world ranking but, had another great year in 2010 and then in 2011 before the bottom fell out.  He endured injuries to his shoulder in a skiing accident and his toe that kept him winless for more than two years. By the time he got healthy again his personal life went into the dumper as he had endured a divorce.  In 2013 he worked hard on his game but when he missed the cut in the BMW PGA Championship it had to be the low point of his life.  He played the U.S. Open and finished T45th but was down to 165th in the world rankings.  He started the comeback a month later when he won the Irish Open and its been a work in progress.  2014 hasn’t been the best as inconsistency has been his problem, but in looking at his record for the year you can see he has had some good moments.  So maybe this week will be a good omen for him, yes he shot 76 on Saturday with a bad stretch of bogeys on 10, 12 and 13 then finishing with a double bogey at 18 but that has been his problem, that one bad stretch of nine holes in a tournament..  Taking the lead in the third round was Bubba Watson, who after shooting 66-69 started out strongly with birdies at 2, 3, 5, 6 7 and even with a bogey at 4 shot 32.  He traded a bogey at 11 with bogies at 15 and 18 to shot 69 and lead Scott Langley by a shot.

Who else is close?

In second place is Scott Langley.  Now in the past we would say “bet the farm against him winning” but now, in the year of the faceless champion anything is possible. In a way, Langley may be just like Brendon Todd was two weeks ago at the Nelson.  Two weeks ago I didn’t think he had a chance and he came through to win.  In hindsight, you could see the reason why, he was very secure money wise so he didn’t have the same pressures that others would have.  Now for Langley in looking he is in the same boat as Todd.  Langley has been third two times and has earned just under $1.4 million in just two years on tour.  So with that thinking Langley may be a good choice.  One thing that should be mentioned is the tournament itself, the Memorial has only been won once by a first-timer and that was Roger Maltibie in its first year.  That’s a pretty solid record, but as the Players Championship learned when Craig Perks became the first to win that event in his first start, anything is possible.  In third place at 10 under is Hideki Matsuyama, who I think has a big future in professional golf.  I am saying it now, but I can see Matsuyama playing an important role in both the U.S. Open and British Open.  His game is good right now and mark my words, he will be the first Japanese player to win a major.  At 9 under in fourth place is Adam Scott, who is also playing well, his 68 on Saturday was close to flawless until he made bogey at 18.  Now at 8 under is a big group of players led by Jordan Spieth, Charl Schwartzel, Brendon Todd and Casey.  So there are a lot of good players knocking on the door.

One fact that is indisputable.

18 times a 54 hole leader has gone on to win. It’s also interesting to note that not many winners have come from far back with low rounds.  Look at the list of winners and look at their final round scores.  There is a trend of going low in the final round to win, the last seven winners have shot in the 60s on Sunday to win so expect that again this year.

Below is a list of the top-30 players on the leader board going to five under which is 7  shots back of Bubba Watson

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Of the top-30 on the leaderboard, who is playing the best: for the Memorial Tournament

Player Colonial BMW PGA Byron Nelson Open de Espana The Players Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Volvo China RBC Heritage Maybank Malaysian Masters Shell Houston
Rory McIlroy
(343 pts)
DNP Win
(198)
DNP DNP T6
(60)
T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T8
(33.33)
T7
(18.33)
Jordan Spieth
(205 pts)
T14
(36)
DNP T37
(13)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP T2
(66.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Brendon Todd
(201.67 pts)
T5
(70)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T38
(4)
DNP DNP T43
(2.33)
Adam Scott
(168 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP T38
(12)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(24)
DNP
Chris Kirk
(114 pts)
T14
(36)
DNP DNP DNP T13
(37)
T30
(13.33)
DNP DNP T27
(7.67)
DNP T20
(20)
T65
(0)
Jason Dufner
(97.33 pts)
2
(100)
DNP T48
(2)
DNP T48
(2)
DNP DNP T54
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Brendon De Jonge
(90.67 pts)
T30
(20)
DNP T29
(21)
DNP 70
(0)
T6
(40)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T37
(8.67)
T37
(4.33)
Bubba Watson
(90 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T48
(2)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP
Robert Streb
(86.67 pts)
T38
(12)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T23
(18)
T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Ben Martin
(79.67 pts)
T21
(29)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T50
(0.67)
T15
(23.33)
DNP T3
(30)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Bo Van Pelt
(67.33 pts)
T14
(36)
DNP DNP DNP T26
(24)
CUT
(-6.67)
T25
(16.67)
DNP T48
(0.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Hideki Matsuyama
(65 pts)
T10
(40)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(27)
T38
(8)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Steve Stricker
(58.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T31
(12.67)
T24
(8.67)
Paul Casey
(57.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T16
(34)
DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP T18
(10.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Andrew Svoboda
(50.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T44
(4)
T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Charl Schwartzel
(42.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
T11
(39)
DNP T48
(2)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T19
(10.33)
Ryan Moore
(28.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T26
(24)
T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Scott Brown
(26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T62
(0)
T30
(13.33)
DNP DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Billy Horschel
(26 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T26
(24)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T68
(0)
DNP T37
(8.67)
DNP
Kevin Na
(20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T38
(12)
T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Jason Day
(20 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T20
(20)
DNP
Justin Hicks
(19.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T17
(33)
T69
(0)
DNP DNP T38
(4)
DNP DNP T43
(2.33)
Scott Langley
(18 pts)
T68
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T34
(16)
T38
(8)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T38
(4)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Hunter Mahan
(9.67 pts)
T60
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T50
(0.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T26
(16)
T31
(6.33)
Kevin Stadler
(7.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T38
(4)
DNP T8
(33.33)
CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Of the top-30 on the leaderboard, who isn’t playing well: for the Memorial Tournament

Player Colonial BMW PGA Byron Nelson Open de Espana The Players Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Volvo China RBC Heritage Maybank Malaysian Masters Shell Houston
Camilo Villegas
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T27
(7.67)
DNP DNP T43
(2.33)
Luke Guthrie
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP 70
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T80
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Ernie Els
(-22 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP T72
(0)
T44
(4)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T64
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T43
(2.33)
Ben Curtis
(-14 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
Justin Leonard
(-1.33 pts)
T57
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T38
(12)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T65
(0)

How Player Rankings are Computed

In conclusion:

The big question will be if Bubba Watson can hand on to win.  This year he didn’t fare too well with the third round lead at Phoenix, but two weeks later came out of nowhere to win from behind.  At the Masters, we were worried since he had the third round lead and if he could win.  He played great and showed that yes he can win with the lead.  So which direction will he go this time, I tend to think that he will win.  Just a shot back is Scott Langley, who hasn’t won and will be in the final group for the first time.  He did finish third this year at Valspar and goes into the final round with a nice streak going; he has played 41 straight holes without a bogey, so he is hot.  I also like Hideki Matsuyama, I will tell you this he has been jittery in other times in this position.  Also, he has a lot of pressure on him, being Japanese he knows a whole nation will be rooting for a win.  Can he do it, probably not but don’t be surprised if he does.  We have to also wonder if an Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth or Paul Casey can come from behind.  Yes they can, last week Scott overcame a two shot deficit to win at Colonial.  Speaking of comebacks is Rory McIlroy at six back too far back?  Probably but last week at the BMW PGA is was 7 back, shot 66 and won by a shot, so anything is possible.

Who to watch for at the Memorial Tournament

Best Bets:

Bubba Watson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T29 CUT T42 T33 T23 CUT T23 T34

Have to think that he has the fire power to win, has done great in first 54 holes and can’t see him losing, but he will probably need a 69, 70 to do the deed.

Scott Langley

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
First time playing in this event

For many this may sound fair fetch, but he has nothing to lose and has played 41 straight holes without dropping a shot so anything is possible

Adam Scott

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T13 T46 T33 CUT T5 T4 T52 T29

This course is right up his alley, I can see him adding this event onto his already great resume. If he can come back from two back last week he can do it again.

Best of the rest:

Jordan Spieth

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T63

He is flying under the radar screen, if he can get off to a great start and post a score he could win this.

Brendon Todd

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
First time playing in this event

Probably the hottest player in the last two weeks, he needs a 65 but anything is possible.

Hideki Matsuyama

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
First time playing in this event

It’s all down to the nerves. Last week had a share of the third round lead but finished 10th I think that for him to win it he will have to back into a victory, winning it in the clubhouse. The good news is that he is getting a lot of experience in playing under pressure and it will get easier for him.

Paul Casey

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T63 T58 T31 T18

The problem I have with him is that he played bad the final nine on Saturday, that’s hard to bounce back from. That double bogey on 18 probably dropped him too far back but you never know

May be too far back

Rory McIlroy

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T57 CUT 5 T10

If he could make up seven shots last week, conventional wisdom says he can do it again. Only problem, he only had two people in front of him at the BMW PGA, on Sunday there will be 12 players between him and Bubba so it will be a tall order.

Billy Horschel

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T41

He is four back and it’s possible, but I think he has to back into it after posting a very low final round.

Charl Schwartzel

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T8 T19 T22 T27 T62 T62

Another of those players that can do it, but he hasn’t really shown us much in being able to win on American soil.

Jason Dufner

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT CUT

Seven back is a tall order but he can do it if he is putting great.

Matt Kuchar

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
Win T2 T8 T5 T10 T13 CUT T32

Yes too far back at 8 with too many folks in-between him but he had an incredible comeback at Heritage so don’t count him out.

What’s on tap for Phil this week???

Phil Mickelson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
WD T13 T5 T20 WD T4 T9

Just have to wonder if this investigation is going to hamper him at Pinehurst. It’s really hard to play well with this hanging over you, surprised to see him at 2 under.

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