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2024 PGA Tour Preview: The Memorial Tournament

With the U.S. Open looming on the horizon this week, the PGA Tour travels to Muirfield Village for the Memorial Tournament. Designed by legend Jack Nicklaus, this event has been a mainstay on the golf calendar since its inception in 1976 and is called the most significant non-player or major championship of the season. Given elevated status a year ago, a field of just 73 golfers will compete for a $20 million total purse, with $4 million to the winner. This includes defending champion Viktor Hovland and 13 other players in the Official World Golf Rankings. Looking to build off a strong showing at the PGA Championship, Hovland carded a three under 69 in round one on Thursday morning.

Chris Gallagher and Everett Davidson contributed to this article.

The Course

Originally designed by Nicklaus in 1972, Muirfield Village continues to be one of the crown jewels on the PGA Tour calendar. Designed similarly to Augusta National, the course underwent multiple renovations in 2019 after Patrick Cantlay finished the tournament at 19 under par, pushing the length to nearly 6,700 yards. A traditional par 72 layout features four par 5s and four par 3s, which played as the hardest on Tour a year ago. Meanwhile, with wide fairways into small, narrow bentgrass greens, an added emphasis will be placed on the approach and around the green play. Two of the past three winners at The Memorial Tournament have gained over 4.0 strokes around the greens for the week.

The Field

The seventh of eight signature events on the PGA Tour schedule this year, the Memorial is one of the most prestigious non-major events on the circuit, and it compares to events like the Genesis and the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. All but one of the top 10 players in the World are playing (Jon Rahm is now on the LIV Tour), and the only eligible player in the OWGR top 50 who isn't playing is Robert MacIntyre, who withdrew from the event after winning the Canadian Open last week. Only two players in the FedexCup top 50 aren't playing, as well, and those are MacIntyre and the recently passed Grayson Murray. Overall, this is one of the best fields on the PGA Tour, and whoever wins will undoubtedly earn it.

Chris' Memorial Tournament Picks

Outright: Scottie Scheffler

While Scheffler does not offer fantastic value at just +375 odds, the current world number-one torched Jack's place from tee to green last year, gaining over five strokes, according to Data Golf. This was en route to a solo third-place finish and his ninth top-five of the season. Had it not been for a cold putter, the New Jersey native would have finished a handful of shots clear of the field. Additionally, Scheffler heads into this year's event in red-hot form. A winner at the Master's Tournament and the RBC Heritage in April, the 27-year-old was also a runner-up during his last start at the Charles Schwab Challenge despite a lackluster final round that saw him shoot a one-over-par 71.

Outright: Viktor Hovland

The defending champion, Hovland, won The Memorial Tournament, kick-starting a run that saw him capture two playoff events and the FedEx Cup. Beginning to round into form after a disastrous start to the season, the current world number five reunited with former swing coach Joe Mayo. As a result, the Oklahoma State product placed in the top 25 in his last two events, including a third-place finish at the PGA Championship. Needing to putt well if he hopes to repeat at Muirfield Village, Hovland has been locked in on the greens at Jack's place in the past. He has picked up over 1.5 strokes with his flat stick in his last two starts at the event.

Sleeper: Keegan Bradley

With an excellent track record at Muirfield Village throughout his career, Bradley has twice finished in the top ten at The Memorial Tournament. Now up to 13th in the Official World Golf Rankings, the Vermont native is coming off a T2 at the Charles Schwab Challenge a week ago. Along with this, he also placed T18 at The PGA Championship and T21 at The Wells Fargo. An ideal course setup for a guy with the length and accuracy off the tee like Bradley, he ranks 20th in the field in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 23rd in Strokes Gained: Approach, and eighth in Strokes Gained: Putting. Furthermore, as a former U.S. Open Champion who has also won a FedEx Cup playoff event, the 37-year-old offers excellent value at 60-1 odds.

Everett's Memorial Tournament Picks

Outright: Xander Schauffele

Schauffele is making his first start since his first major championship win three weeks ago at the PGA Championship. There isn't a hotter player on Tour right now, with his win coming one week after a solo second-place finish to Rory McIlroy at the Wells Fargo Championship. Schauffele re-wrote the record books with his victory at Valhalla, becoming the first player in major championship history to finish at 21-under par; Bryson DeChambeau, who finished one stroke behind Schauffele, became the fifth player to finish at 20-under par in a major but was the first to lose while doing so. Schauffele has a good history at the Memorial, as after missing the cut in his first appearance here in 2018, he has rattled off five straight top-25 finishes, though he hasn't finished better than T11. If Schauffele can continue his hot streak, there is no reason to believe he won't have his best finish in this tournament, and he could even end up on the top step of the leaderboard.

Outright: Collin Morikawa

Morikawa hasn't won this season, but since the major season started at the Masters in early April, he has four top-10s in six starts and hasn't finished worse than T23, which he did at the team event at the Zurich Classic while playing with Kurt Kitayama. He was hit-and-miss at the start of the year, trading top-25 finishes with missed cuts, but since Augusta, he has been at the top of his game. He has a good history at Muirfield Village, too, with a win at the Workday Charity Open in 2020 (that was held the week before the Memorial) and a solo second-place finish at the Memorial in 2021; he was also two strokes off the lead heading into Sunday last year before withdrawing due to back spasms. Combine the fact that he is playing well and that Muirfield Village is one of his favorite courses, and Morikawa should have a good chance at winning this week.

Sleeper: Shane Lowry

The 2019 Open Champion has had an up-and-down year so far. Still, he broke through and won at the Zurich Classic while playing with Rory McIlroy in the last week of April, and outside of that, he has three other top-10 finishes this season, with the most recent being a T6 finish at the PGA Championship three weeks ago. He also has a decent history at this tournament, with a T6 finish in 2021 being the highlight. Lowry hasn't won on his own anywhere since the 2022 BMW PGA Championship, but he has a decent chance to end that streak this week.

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