The Memorial: Best Bets by Golf Analyst Extraordinaire Greg Logan

Patrick Cantlay, a two-time winner of The Memorial, is congratulated by tournament host Jack Nicklaus after his most recent victory in 2021.

LONG ISLAND, New York – Every now and then, a PGA Tour player runs into a course that sets up perfectly for him. After winning two of the past four Memorial Tournaments over the Muirfield Village Golf Club layout, it seems like a stretch to pick Patrick Cantlay to win for the third time in five years when the tournament is held June 1-4.

But I can’t help myself. Cantlay is my No. 1 pick to win the Memorial because he has been a dominant presence on that 7,543-yard, par-72 track during four of the past five years. Billy Horschel is the defending champ, and he has two other top-15 finishes in the past four years. He has played better lately, but he’s not really in top form, which is required to win the Memorial, a tournament hosted by all-time great Jack Nicklaus.

Not only was Cantlay the champion in 2021 and 2019, but he finished third last year and fourth in 2018. His one off year was 2020, when he shot a final-round 79 to finish +7. But if you just look at Cantlay’s two wins and his top-5 finishes in 2022 and 2018, he was a combined -53 in those four years at Muirfield Village, which is a very demanding course. Imagine averaging better than -13 in those four events.

Expect Rory McIlroy to be a factor since he has an impressive record at Muirfield Village.

In addition, Cantlay is in the midst of a stellar season. He hasn’t won, but Cantlay has seven top-10 finishes in 13 events and has made 12 cuts. In his past nine events since January, Cantlay’s worst finish is T-21. That stretch includes six T-10 finishes. Combine his performance at Muirfield with his play this season, and Cantlay has to be the hands-down pick to win.

Okay, where do I go from there? I hate to pick big names all the time, but there is no escaping the fact that Xander Schauffele, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm all have stellar records at the Memorial. Both Schauffele and McIlroy have three T-20 finishes at Memorial in the past five years, so they are my No. 2 and No.3 picks in that order. I picked Schauffele to win the PGA, and he let me down with a so-so T-18. He hasn’t won this season, but he has made all 14 cuts and has eight T-10 finishes. I just feel he is primed to win.

McIlroy has struggled to find his game of late and has taken off considerable time. But he was T-7 in his last event at the PGA and finished with three straight 69s. I think he’s getting there. My fourth choice is a no-brainer – World No. 2 Jon Rahm, who won the Memorial in 2020 and was T-10 last year. Obviously, he is playing great.

Jon Rahm is ranked No. 2 in the world.

My fifth choice to win is another player with a great record at Muirfield Village. Si Woo Kim has finished in the top-20 the past three years in a row. He also has made 17 of 20 cuts this season and has four T-10 finishes. He is very consistent in terms of finishing in the T-20, but if he gets hot, watch out.

So, I want to give you a list of others to consider for your six-man Draft Kings teams. I picked Jordan Spieth to win the Colonial last week because he had a stellar track record on that course, but he missed the cut. He’s struggling, but don’t dismiss him because he has four T-20 finishes at Memorial the past five years. Defending champ Horschel is a consideration, but pay attention to Aaron Wise, who was T-10 the past two years and Max Homa, who also was T-10 the past two years.

Seven other players have two T-20 finishes the past five years, including 2018 winner Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, Kevin Streelman, Brendan Steele and Joaquin Niemann. This is a big tournament, so stick with the big names if you can afford them in your lineups.

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