2021 Memorial Sleeper Picks: Our Favorite Longshot Bets at Muirfield Village
Julio Aguilar/Getty Images. Pictured: Troy Merritt
The PGA TOUR heads to one of the most iconic courses this week for the 2021 Memorial at Muirfield Village. While Jack’s Place has been on the TOUR calendar for nearly 50 years, it will look different this time around as the course underwent some major renovations right after it hosted back-to-back events last summer.
Muirfield Village will feature completely new greens, fairways and bunkers, plus it was lengthened to nearly 7,500 yards. So, while we do have few decades of history to use here, the changes can throw a wrench into things.
Most years we see one of the bigger names hoist this trophy, but there have been a couple of major surprises here in the past. In fact, David Lingmerth and Willie McGirt went back-to-back here at 400/1 and 200/1, respectively, in 2015 and 2016.
With that in mind check out our favorite longshot bets for the 2021 Memorial Tournament:
Luke List (+17500)
Once upon a time, I thought List was, well, “budding star” might be an exaggeration, but I did think he was an up-and-comer who would become a very good PGA TOUR pro. At times, that’s been the case, as he’s been a solid player at times, with a few KFT wins and four top-three in the big leagues. I still think that, even at age 36, his best golf might be ahead of him rather than behind him, but that window is obviously starting to close a bit. That said, his ball-striking numbers are impressive this season and I think there’s value in taking him for props – anything from top-20 to top-40, which should have more value in a limited field. Playing on a sponsor’s exemption, List has a T-6 and a T-17 amongst his last six results.
Emiliano Grillo (+6600)
Emiliano Grillo was on my betting card last week and I’ll go back to him again at +6600. The Argentinian is in good form after finishing eighth at Colonial and has had a good run at the Memorial before, finishing inside the top-25 in three of four starts prior to MCs in both events held here last year.
Grillo obviously needs the putter to cooperate to really contend, but we’ve seen players who struggle on the greens like Morikawa and Matsuyama come out on top here.
Adam Scott (+8000)
My favorite longshot of the week is with Adam Scott, who has been uncharacteristically inconsistent with his ball-striking this season. His biggest issues have been off the tee where he’s lost strokes in bunches at times this year. That was never more apparent than with his very first tee shot at the PGA Championship a couple of weeks ago Scott sprayed it into the water on his way to an opening hole triple-bogey. Considering that blunder it’s fairly remarkable that Scott was able to miss the cut on the number at the most recent major, and could be a sign that he’s closer than it appears.
I’m going to take that chance on the Australian this week at +8000, as he heads to one of his favorite layouts at Muirfield Village. Scott ranks as one of the best players on TOUR at Jack Nicklaus courses, and he’s had a great showing at the Memorial in his career. If he can put the full bag together this week there he can contend throughout the weekend and it’ll have us looking back at why a player of his caliber was ever at such long odds.
Troy Merritt (+14000)
Merritt has quietly posted back-to-back seventh-place finishes at Charles Schwab and Bryson Nelson. He also seems to be a pretty good fit for Muirfield village as he finished 17th here in 2019. He’s been playing well in all areas of his game and is gaining strokes across the board, which is encouraging.
In this field in his past 24 rounds he ranks 5th in Par 4: 450-500, which should be a major factor this week. He also ranks 14th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green which will be crucial at a course where the missed green percentage is one of the highest on TOUR.
Betting Merritt as a top-10 or first-round leader could pay dividends this week as well.
Kevin Streelman (+5500)
Not exactly sure how much of a sleeper this is, but at 55/1 it’s most certainly worth a bet. Few players in this field have the type of course history that Streelman has, as he boasts three top-10s and two additional top-20s since 2011. He also tied for seventh last year at the Workday, which as you know was also played at Muirfield.
Streelman is also coming in hot, posting three consecutive top-26 finishes, including a T-8 at the PGA Championship. He ranks ninth in SG: Ball-Striking and 12th in total strokes gained over his past 12 rounds in this field and everything looks to be in place for him to contend again at a course he fancies.
Kyle Stanley (+13000)
Man, did I feel like a newb when Jason Kokrak connected for victory at Colonial. He was +5000 and as close to the bull’s-eye as it gets at one of the most predictable tournaments on the docket. I even wrote about it, yet still proceeded non-winners as my favorite (Scottie Scheffler) and longshot (Maverick McNealy) in our preview here. No such “obvious” sleepers at Muirfield Village, so it’s back to finding value on an upswing.
Stanley is fresh off a T8 at Colonial where no one saved more strokes on approach and tee to green. His precision into greens also was second-best in the field. Meanwhile, with a trio of top-six finishes at the Memorial, his comfort level piggybacks the form at a time when Muirfield Village is wearing a new outfit, so to speak.
Remember, when greens are unfamiliar – as they are in large part after the widespread renovation – ball-strikers tend to pounce first.
Cameron Tringale (+10000)
Which player has made the most money on the PGA TOUR this season without capturing a win? That would be Cameron Tringale.
Tringale has become one of my favorite golfers over the last two years mainly because I’ve made so much money backing him with top 20s, top 10s, and top 5s. The win is coming for this guy, so why not this week?
Jack Nicklaus designed this course to be a true test, one that will place pressure on every aspect of a golfer’s game. I’m really honing in on complete players this week, and Tringale definitely fits the mold. Over the last 50 tracked rounds, he ranks 19th in SG: Approach, 9th in SG: Around the green, 27th in SG: Putting, 45th in SG: Off the tee, and 1st in Bogey Avoidance.
At +10000 we’re getting a complete player that is backed up by the statistics I just presented. This is a great number.