The Memorial Tournament 2013 Preview

The PGA Tour moves on to Muirfield Village for the 2013 Memorial Tournament this week. The course was designed by golfing legend Jack Nicklaus, the winner here in 1977 and again in 1984. The tournament regularly attracts some of the world’s best golfers and this is illustrated by a star-studded roll of honour including Tom Watson, Greg Norman and Tiger Woods.

Woods will be a hot favourite this week as the world number one goes in search of a remarkable sixth win in the event. He won for three consecutive years from 1999 to 2001 and followed up in 2009 and 2012. With such a phenomenal record here, Woods is obviously going to be the man to beat this week.

However, he will not have things all his own way with Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott in opposition. The trials and tribulations of McIlroy have been well documented but he is gradually finding his form whilst US Masters Champion Scott is still at the top of his game.

Other likely contenders include 2010 winner Justin Rose as well as former world number one Luke Donald and rising star Brandt Snedeker. The quality of the field is shown by the fact that nine of the current top-10 in the FedEx Cup points are taking part and eight of the top ten on the PGA Tour money list.

Woods is one of nine previous winners, the others being K.J. Choi, Fred Couples, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Kenny Perry, Carl Pettersson, Rose and Vijay Singh. Perry can boast three victories here having won way back in 1991 and again in 2003 and, most recently, in 2008.

McIlroy and Donald missed the cut at Wentworth last week, particularly disappointing for the latter who was seeking a third consecutive victory in the tournament. People are beginning to question McIlroy’s ability to rise to the challenge of Woods this season but there has been some encouragement in four top ten finishes. His turn cannot be far away but he may not be quite there just yet.

The bookmakers are certain to go very short on Woods this week and that could give some inflated prices elsewhere in the outright win market. Scott continues to pick and choose his tournaments carefully and the policy is paying off with some consistent golf.

Matt Kuchar finished runner-up to Boo Weekley last week and looks to be coming into form for this event. He was also runner-up here in 2011 so he has proven course form. Keegan Bradley also made the frame in the Byron Nelson a week earlier but hasn’t got a great recent record here.

Lee Westwood made some costly errors at Wentworth in the closing stages but could still prove to be the best of the Europeans this week. 2012 US Open Champion Webb Simpson has been largely overlooked this season but performed reasonably well at the Players Championship and could be ready to move into contention.

Memorial stats; In 2012 Woods birdied three of the last four holes to win from two back. In 2000 Woods became the first Memorial winner to successfully defend his title. The following year he won for a third time, this time by a record seven-shot margin.

Adam Scott 22-1 Betfair
Matt Kuchar 28-1 Betfair
Lee Westwood 33-1 Betfair
Webb Simpson 56-1 Betfair