Ahead of the Memorial Tournament, Compleat Golfer staffers pick their winners, contenders and players who may just miss the weekend.
Wade Pretorius: It’s long overdue that I pick a winner … but this week, like Andre says, is harder than most. The field is stacked. Rory is back and no doubt arriving with a chip on his shoulder over his recent form. The presence of Tiger – and the form he’s shown (sure, it’s a small sample size) – does scare me. JT, Morikawa and Patrick Cantlay all have arguments for. And that’s before Webb Simpson and Bryson DeChambeau are added to the equation. This is as close to a Major as you get.
I’m going then, obviously, for someone without a Major win to his name … Jon Rahm. A player for the big occasion and ready to take the world No 1 ranking. Finished last week with a 64.
Andre Huisamen: Given the significant number of big names involved this week, predicting a winner has arguably never been more difficult. Tiger Woods is back in action and undoubtedly many will be rooting for him to go all the way as he has enjoyed an extended rest. But, my personal pick will go to world No 1 Rory McIlroy, who now finds himself with something of a point to prove. Skipping last weekend’s Workday Charity Open presented an opportunity for Jon Rahm to overtake the Northern Irishman at the summit of the rankings. He will be hoping to put some distance between himself and Rahm and the rest of the chasing pack with a big performance at Muirfield Village Golf Club.
Pretorius: Viktor Hovland. Hardly an out-of-the-box suggestion given his record – he has five-from-five cuts made since the restart and not finished outside the top 25, including third last week. The kid is class and leads the field in tee to green over the last THREE events.
Huisamen: It’s a tough decision to pin-point one specific player in this category but given how impressive Collin Morikawa was last week, I will back him for another solid showing in Ohio. The 23-year-old was box-office at the Workday Charity Open from round one. He showed nerves of steel when most people probably had Justin Thomas pegged to claim that intense playoff. But, Morikawa proved his ability with some distinction and will no doubt be eager to follow that up with another big showing.
Social golf on Saturday
Pretorius: I’m not picking on him. But Charl Schwartzel is likely to struggle again.
Huisamen: Brooks Koepka was a little off his game last week. Of course, given the enormity of this week’s event, the former world No 1 will be determined to be back to his best. He has been struggling for some time now and that could very well be the case again if the strong field starts pulling away. The quicker greens this week and more difficult set-up could also be a decisive factor.