Expert picks provided by: Jarod Kieler
Follow on Twitter: @Jkieler1010
After two wet and soggy weeks in Texas, the PGA Tour makes its way to Muirfield Village and the home of the Golden Bear. The Jack Nicklaus designed course has been host of the Memorial Tournament for the past 39 years. Jordan Spieth is playing once again and headlines a field that includes twelve of the top-20 golfers in the world. Tiger Woods will also be teeing it up for the first time since finishing 69th at THE PLAYERS Championship. Your defending champion is Hideki Matsuyama, who finished 13 under par and defeated Kevin Na on the first playoff hole. Matsuyama became the first person to win the Memorial in his inaugural appearance.
My picks for this week:
1) Justin Rose (1) – Rosie’s up and down season includes a runner-up finish at the Masters and a victory at the Zurich Classic. I am expecting the good Rose to show up this weekend on a course where he has found a ton of success. The 2010 Memorial Champion has six top-15 finishes in ten career trips to Muirfield Village.
2) Bill Haas (0) – Maybe a little bit of a surprise pick, but Haas has been playing solid golf as of late. Haas has top-17 finishes in four of his past seven starts, including a share of 4th at the PLAYERS. In his last two trips to Muirfield Village, Haas tied for 4th in 2013 and shared 8th last year.
1) Francesco Molinari (1) – Molinari struggled early in the season, but he returned to Europe and seems to have his game back together. Molinari tied for 2nd at the Open de España and then finished solo 5th at the BMW PGA Championship. Molinari will be making his first career trip to Muirfield Village.
2) Ben Martin (2) – Martin has top-20 finishes in four of his past seven events. In his most recent start, Martin tied for 10th at the Crowne Plaza Invitational. In his first career trip to Muirfield, Martin shared 49th last year.
1) Kevin Na (3) – Although he has yet to win this year, Na continues to put himself at the top of every leaderboard. Na has not finished outside the top-20 in any of his last seven stroke play events. In fact, Na has top-10 finishes in five of those events. Na fired a final round 64 in last year’s Memorial, but lost to Hideki Matsuyama on the first playoff hole.
2) Kevin Kisner (1) – Even though he withdrew last week, I am still riding Kisner’s hot streak. Kiz has made five straight cuts, including two runner-up finishes (both playoff defeats). Two weeks ago at the Crowne Plaza Invitational, Kisner was once again in contention, but finished in a share of 5th.
Other Golfers Considered:
Hideki Matsuyama (Tier A): Matsuyama has seven straight top-25 finishes, including three top-10’s. Matsuyama came from two back on Sunday to win last year’s Memorial in a playoff over Kevin Na. I like him a lot this week, but it is tough to win the same tournament in back-to-back years.
Brooks Koepka (Tier B): Koepka made a late charge at last week’s Bryon Nelson, but ended up settling for a share of 16th. The 2015 Phoenix Open Champion will be making his first career trip to Muirfield Village. While I would not be shocked with a Matsuyama like run, I don’t want to take that chance with him.
Pat Perez (Tier C): Perez comes to Muirfield playing some exceptional golf. Perez has four top-20 finishes in his past six starts. In his most recent start, Perez shared 5th at the Crowne Plaza Invitational. His best career finish at Muirfield came in 2013 when he finished in tie for 8th.