Note from Banks: With one less day this week Thursday snuck up on me a bit. So this is getting posted at the midnight hour. Apologies. Maybe the weather will push back the start of the tournament and you can ride some of these bets before balls are in the air. Or just grab some action live. Either way, I'll be better.
Welcome to Jack's Tournament, which for my money is a top 10 tournament of the year. You've got the 4 majors, you've got THE PLAYERS, and then you've got a mix of tournaments including WGC's and East Lake to fill out that back half of the top 10. I think this has gotta be in that group. It's an invitational field that draws most of the world's best, it's a phenomenal course that presents a great challenge for them, and it's all overseen by the 2nd greatest to ever do it.
Also, milkshakes. You're gonna hear a fuck ton about milkshakes.
Last year's COVID edition was won by Jon Rahm after he made a ridiculous flop/chip on the treacherous 16th par 3 to reach world #1 for the first time in his career.
The Workday Charity Open was also a tournament played at Muirfield that was squeezed in a week before the 2020 Memorial, albeit under less challenging conditions. That was won in a playoff by Collin Morikawa in dramatic fashion over Justin Thomas.
Leaderboards for both tournaments, along with recent winners:
2020 Memorial Tournament
2020 Workday Charity Open
Muirfield Village was built in the 1970's by Jack Nicklaus near his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. It was named after Muirfield in Scotland - where Jack won the first of his 3 Open Championships. It has hosted the Memorial since 1976 and has been a mainstay on Tour ever since. The guy wanted to make this place a test for the world's best - and he still does. He nearly went broke investing in this place back in the 70's and now it's one of the most affluent golf communities in the country. He's constantly tinkering with it. This year he's had the green complexes completely rebuilt. Some of these greens were some of the most undulating on Tour, nearly rivaling Augusta National. Players have already been talking about the challenge that is re-learning some of the slopes and how to attack these greens. Here's Jack summarizing some of those changes:
What I think you can still count on is that the rough is going to be absolutely gnarly. Always is. You'll see all kinds of balls disappearing into this stuff if it's off the fairway. The course isn't overly narrow, but you can't just spray it all over this place because this rough will catch up with you. Especially if the layout is a bit different than how you've played it in the past.
Best Hole - 11th Hole, Par 5 567 yards
Absolutely sick par 5 that snakes from right to left and back right at the end. Perfect set up where if you drive it in the right spot, you're presented the opportunity to take aim at the green in 2 and score. If not, you're laying up and it's a 3 shot hole.
Obligatory Tiger Ridiculous Moment
Absurdly downhill shot out of some serious junk. Only Tiger, man.
Nasty weather to start off the week here. Ton of weather slammed Ohio Wednesday night and Thursday morning here, so there may be a delay to start the tournament. After that, things should clear up and be seasonably warm. Oh, and there will probably be cicadas. That'll be fun.
Thurs: Golf Channel 3-7
Fri: Golf Channel 3-7
Sat: Golf Channel 12:30-3, CBS 3-6
Sun: Golf Channel 12-2:30, CBS 2:30-6
The crystal is classy, always has been. But I'm not too wild about the image of the tournament on it… which is quite literally the Claret Jug. Feels weird to commemorate another more prestigious tournament at your own tournament. I know "Muirfield Village" is named after Muirfield in Scotland, but pave your own path, man. This is a 4/10.
Defending champion Jon Rahm is the highest ranked player in the field and is the favorite at the Barstool Sportsbook at +1100. You could make the case that his 3-shot victory last year should really be looked at as a 5-shot victory due to the penalty he took on 16 where his ball moved just a smidge. He'd be a fine pick but I'm going to take another former champion.
I'm gonna go with Bryson here at +1800. He should not be that far down the board. He won here in 2018 before he bulked up and his ability to chop the ball out of the rough with his higher club head speed should only serve to further that advantage. The conditions here are not too different from US Open conditions and he won that running away last year too. Bay Hill presented challenging conditions earlier this year too and the rough there posed no issue for him. There's a lot to like here. I just wish Brooks was here to see it.
Justin Thomas Top 5 +300 - He's played well here before but hasn't won. I think that will continue.
Patrick Cantlay Top 10 +150 - Former champ. All-around game and a favorite of Jack.
Sam Burns 1st Round Leader +6000 - Not just going to let him continue to dominate Thursdays and Fridays and not cash in on it
Hideki Matsuyama Top Asian +163 - Think the Masters honeymoon is over and Hideki starts to cruise towards some good results again.
Bubba Watson Top Former Georgia Bulldog +450 - This is the first time I've seen this bet available at the Barstool Sportsbook (there's also Texas, Florida, Georgia Tech, and OK State bets available) so I figured I'd get involved there.
Tony Finau To Win +2000 - (WARNING: This is merely a FOMO pick. Been chasing that Tony win for like 4 fucking years and there's just no way I'm going to miss the boat. This pick will be a mainstay here for the foreseeable future, ride or don't.)
Enjoy the Memorial.