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Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Tournament - Power Ranking

Big names take center stage in our power ranking for the Memorial Tournament, but there is plenty of depth in the field and a number of players to cover as we prepare to bounce back in our fantasy formats this week.
Here we go:
  1. Justin Rose – The 2010 winner has posted back-to-back eighth-place finishes in this event and has finished T8 or better in his last three PGA TOUR starts. Splits were great across the board and was an impressive eighth in sand save percentage.
  2. Rory McIlroy – Newly single, McIlroy seems in the correct frame of mind for winning golf tournaments as he proved at Wentworth last week. He’s been a top-10 machine on the PGA TOUR, but the word of caution is his recent record in this event. After T10 and a fifth in his first two Memorials, he missed the cut in 2012 and tied for 57th last year.
  3. Matt Kuchar – A complete shocker of a missed cut last week at Colonial, Kuchar returns to defend his 2013 title at Muirfield Village. Considering he’s finished inside the top five here in three of his last four starts with a runner-up in 2012 complimenting the win, he can’t drop past this spot.
  4. Adam Scott – Reversed a poor history at Colonial to cement his stay at World No. 1 with his win last week and now turns his attention towards the Memorial. At fourth in par 4 scoring average and first in par 5 scoring average, a layout with 10 par 4s and four par 5s is a green light.  His T13 here last year was his best start since a T5 in 2007.
  5. Luke Donald – Met expectations with a T3 at Wentworth last week and did similarly with a runner-up at Harbour Town in the RBC Heritage. He had four consecutive top 15s in this event before a T21 at Muirfield a year ago.
  6. Jim Furyk – Was an unpleasant surprise tying for 51st last week after back-to-back runner-up finishes, but he’s back on the short list this week having gone 17/18 with 13 top 25s, 6 top 10s a win and two runners-up at Muirfield Village.
  7. Jordan Spieth – Tough call, as he tied for 63rd here last year in his first trip and then didn't perform all that well in the Presidents Cup. T4, T37, T14 in his last three PGA TOUR starts. A bad showing this week likely means that this course doesn’t fit his eye.
  8. Brendon Todd – With a win and a T5 in his last two PGA TOUR starts, his first trip to Muirfield Village comes on the wings of an unbelievable run. Ranks inside the top 20 in SGP, Sand Save %, Scrambling, Par 3 and Par 4 Scoring average.
  9. Dustin Johnson – Were it not for a bad third round at Colonial, he may have emerged as the surprise winner last week. Knowing that he contended on a layout that wouldn’t normally suit is eye is a big boost of confidence for his current form. He’s 5/6 with 3 top 25s including a 4th in 2011 at Muirfield, so he’s absolutely a contender. Finished T7 and T14 in his last two PGA TOUR starts.
  10. Gary Woodland – I can’t fade a guy any further than this when he’s finished no worse than T26 (Masters) since the Match Play and carries a T18, T11, T7 streak into this week. He’s two for three with a sixth and a T16 at Muirfield Village, meaning all signs point to a top-20 finish at worst.
  11. Charl Schwartzel – He’s improved every trip year-over-year to the Memorial with the last three going for a T22, T19 and a T8. Has a pair of top-12s in his last three PGA TOUR starts, so this is a play on converging trends.
  12. Bill Haas – Seems like he scores a top 25 every week, but hasn’t contended much this year. He tied for fourth here last year in what was easily his best of eight trips (no other top 40s) and enters off a T21 at Colonial where he didn’t make any noise. Ranks inside the top 30 in par 3 and par 5 scoring average.

The Next 5 (alphabetical):
  • Jason Day – Hard to know what to make of Day, but what we do know is that this is his first start since a T20 at the Masters. He’s been fighting an injury.
  • Chris Kirk – Enters riding a nice wave of momentum With top 30s in each of his last four starts and top 15s in his last two. He’s only 1/3 at Muirfield Village, with his T25 in 2012 the only payday.
  • Ryan Moore – Having a great season and has made some noise here in the past, with three top 10s in eight starts including a runner-up. Finished a steady T13 last year. Recent form doesn’t stand out, but isn’t a red flag either.
  • Steve Stricker – He’s 12/13, with his win in 2012 serving as his only top 10 in this event. Tied for 13th at THE PLAYERS a few weeks back, so his form checks out.
  • Bubba Watson – While this has never been a sweet spot for Bubba, he does has two top 25s to just two missed cuts in eight trips.

Don’t forget us!

The new kids on the block:
  • Carlos Ortiz – If you haven’t been paying attention, this guy has been lighting up the Web.com Tour. He has two wins and has come close to a battlefield promotion with a third victory on two other occasions. Season-long gamers will want to pay close attention to this for next season.
  • Justin Thomas – I had the opportunity to watch him in person for 36 holes at the BMW Charity-Pro Am, as he played with a friend of mine, and I was very impressed with the 21-year-old’s game (he turned 21 the week before the BMW). He can run a little hot, especially after a mistake, but is an impressive iron player and is very good with the wedges. Keep an eye on how he handles / bounces back from the bad holes. He will earn a PGA TOUR card for 2014-15 via the Web.com Tour.
  • Russell Knox – We touted him last week as a solid option and he didn’t disappoint, scoring a T21 at Colonial. While this is his first trip to Colonial, his form and stat sheet checks out favorably.
  • Ben Martin – Made his last four cuts, including a T21 last week. After a bumpy start to the season, he’s settled into a very consistent groove. With his 2014-15 status secure, he can relax and get after it.

Our trends converge too:
  • Charles Howell III - He’s 7/11 with B2B top 25s here and tied for third in his last PGA TOUR start (Byron Nelson).
  • Chris Stroud – After missing two cuts, he tied for 53rd here last year. Broke a dry spell on TOUR with a solid T14 at Colonial last week and is a solid scrambler/scorer.
  • Freddie Jacobson – 3/5 with a T5 in 2007 and tied for third last week at Colonial.
  • Michael Thompson – Followed a missed cut in his first trip to Muirfield Village with a T8 last year. T11-MC-T10 in last three TOUR starts.
  • David Hearn – Top 25s in each of his two Memorials with a T6-T21 run in his last two TOUR starts plays well.
  • Kevin Chappell – Last year’s runner-up enters off a T11-T26-T10 run on TOUR.
  • Brian Davis – Top 25s in last three Memorial starts including a T8 LY and top 15s in two of last three PGA TOUR starts (T14 LW).
  • K.J. Choi – At 13/14 (including a win) and top 25s here in each of his last three trips, he would have been gobbled up in our Course History section were it not for a T13 at THE PLAYERS rendering him in play here.
  • Bo Van Pelt – Welcome back Bo! T25-MC-T26-T14 in his last four PGA TOUR starts and four consecutive top 25s at Memorial.

Course History Crowd:
  • Will MacKenzie – Hasn't played here since 2009, but has a T11 and a T10 in his two trips. Recent form is a concern.
  • Matt Every – Tied for sixth here in 2012, but another guy struggling of late.
  • Hunter Mahan – T13-T19-T16 in his last three Memorials but can’t crack a top 50 lately.
  • J.B. Holmes – 4/7 with two top 10s and a T13 LY, but missed the cut at THE PLAYERS following Quail Hollow win.

Class is permanent:
  • Keegan Bradley – Two missed cuts preceded last year’s T50 in this event and last three TOUR starts have yielded an unpredictable T8-MC-T29.
  • Phil Mickelson – Was terrible here last year and has been wildly unpredictable this season. He’s Phil.
  • Jason Dufner – Last week’s playoff loser is 0/2 at Muirfield Village and didn’t show well on my stat sheet for this week. Still, class is permanent!
We will return with a look at some games tomorrow. Until then, best of luck to all!


  1. Schwartzel missed the cut at the BMW PGA in Wentworth with a +9 in 2 rounds!! Is that not a concern for you? Group C is really not obvious this week...

    1. Nice point. It's a concern but, like you point out, the lack of obvious choices makes him about as close to chalk as there is in the C. I'd also throw in that he's enough of a veteran that one bad week shouldn't be a huge deal (unless there is an unknown injury etc). Thanks.