Updated 2022 Memorial Tournament Odds & Picks for Jon Rahm, Shane Lowry, More
Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Jon Rahm.
Click arrow to expand 2022 Memorial Tournament odds via BetMGM
2022 Memorial Tournament Odds
|Si Woo Kim||+10000|
|Erik van Rooyen||+15000|
|Charles Howell III||+25000|
|Min Woo Lee||+35000|
“Not again …”
One year ago this week, we collectively witnessed the most incalculable moment of professional golf during the pandemic, when Jon Rahm raced out to a six-stroke lead through 54 holes at the Memorial Tournament, walked off the 18th green at Muirfield Village and listened as a PGA TOUR executive whispered that he’d tested positive for COVID-19. Then, television viewers around the world heard him exclaim those two little words in disbelief at the prospect of his forced withdrawal.
The previous year, in a similar, yet all too different scenario, Rahm had walked off that same green on Sunday afternoon with a five-stroke victory, only to be informed about a violation he didn’t know had occurred, and was forced to take a two-shot penalty and claim a three-stroke victory instead.
That one was a nuisance. This one hurt.
In the aftermath, though, Rahm handled the situation beautifully. When he finally spoke publicly a week and a half later at the U.S. Open, he didn’t play the blame game, didn’t whine about the rule, didn’t insist that he should be credited with some unofficial title.
What he did was diffuse the situation and handle it like a pro.
“Unfortunately, I had a really good showing and I was pulled out of the tournament right before the final round,” he said. “But, again, the PGA TOUR did what they had to do. I’ve heard a lot of different theories: I should have played alone; that’s nonsense. The rules are there and it’s clear.”
It’s not a coincidence that just four days after Rahm essentially ended that story, he was able to focus on golf and win his first major championship.
I’ll get back to Rahm and some unfinished business at the Memorial soon, but first a few notes about Jack Nicklaus’ annual event.
This isn’t one where you can fake it around the golf course and, as a result, it’s rarely won by a longshot. Sure, there was the David Lingmerth-Will McGirt exacta in 2015 and ’16, but the past quarter-century has included five wins by Tiger Woods, two of Kenny Perry’s three, a pair from Patrick Cantlay and one each from the likes of Fred Couples, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Justin Rose, Steve Stricker, Hideki Matsuyama, Bryson DeChambeau and, yes, Rahm.
No surprise, but this is a track where tee-to-green play is paramount to success.
Before his WD, Rahm was lapping the field in this category. Ultimately, five of the top six on the leaderboard were the top five in Strokes Gained (SG): Tee-to-green, which tells us much of what we need to know for this one. With plenty of approach shots from the range of 175-200 yards, it’s the week to play some of our favorite flushers.
(Also: The most popular play this week is ultimately going to be whomever trails by seven strokes entering the final round, as both Justin Thomas and Sam Burns were down by a touchdown going into each of the past two Sundays, only to come from behind for victories.)
With that in mind, let’s get to the picks, starting with my favorite outright — a player you’ve already been reading about here.
One player to win the tournament.
Jon Rahm (+1100)
Without a doubt, Rahm exorcised any lingering demons from that Saturday situation last year by winning the U.S. Open two weeks later, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely over.
When he arrives at Muirfield Village this week, he’ll be asked to relive it all over again.
That major championship victory certainly helps soften the blow, but it’s tough to believe this is all water under the proverbial bridge. Not that Rahm has — or should have — any specific beef with what happened other than, perhaps, how it was handled out in the open like that. Any additional motivation can be a scary thing for his fellow competitors.
The world’s No. 2-ranked player owns as much fire and intensity as anyone around. Stoke those flames and he could certainly use it to his advantage.
Rahm ranks first in SG: Off-the-Tee, second in SG: Tee-to-Green and 22nd in SG: Approach. This just in: He’s pretty talented. Sure, the putting stroke has been noticeably suspect this year, but if there’s a week to overcome that, it’s this one.
This is a course where the same players tend to show up on the leaderboard year after year. Rahm coulda/shoulda/woulda had two wins here already, but here’s betting he finishes off that unfinished business this time around.
Potential selections for one-and-done options.
Viktor Hovland (+2200)
This should be a nice week to target a top-tier player in OAD formats who you haven’t used (and aren’t planning to) at a major championship. I can understand the trepidation in using Hovland at one of the four big ones. He ranks dead last in SG: Around-the-Greens and while that number was a bit improved last week at Colonial, he was still well below the field average.
That said, Muirfield Village is a big-boy course which requires plenty of long- and mid-iron shots into the greens, suiting his skill-set nicely. There’s also the matter of him finishing 47th-48th in his previous two starts here. That’s not great, obviously, but it should scare off most of your fellow OADers, offering an upper-echelon star as a nice leverage play.
Hideki Matsuyama (+2400)
There hasn’t been a tougher player to pin down over the past two months than Matsuyama. He withdrew from THE PLAYERS Championship prior to the opening round, then had another WD from the Valero Texas Open after just a single round — both due to a back/neck injury.
Matsuyama was a full red light entering his title defense at the following week’s Masters, only to finish T14. From there, though, he took a five-week hiatus, giving us some reason to stay away at the AT&T Byron Nelson, but he returned to finished T3. Figuring he was fully healthy and a green light once again at the PGA Championship, he failed to break 72 in any round and wound up T60.
Good luck trying to get on the right side of any of that.
Now, he returns to a place where he won in 2014 and owns three results of 13th or better since then. I’m willing to take a chance that this is the week we finally figure him out again.
Max Homa (+3100)
The best thing we can say about Homa is that when he contends, he usually wins. (What, you thought the best thing about him is that he’s witty on social media and seems like a fun dude to grab a post-round beverage with? OK, maybe that, too.)
Homa now owns six career top-five finishes and four of ‘em are victories. While he’d likely explain that he feels more comfortable in these situations with each one that occurs, he might not admit that he feels like he’s playing with house money. However, with two of those wins already this season, that might be the case and we all know how dangerous it is to bet against a guy playing with house money.
With a T6 here last year, this is certainly a place where he can replicate that success.
One player to finish top-five.
Shane Lowry (+450 for top-five)
I haven’t been shy in recent weeks/months about how much I like Lowry for next month’s U.S. Open, but it’s easy to envision him peaking two weeks too early (and severely shortening his odds in the process).
Few have played at such a consistently high level recently. In his past 11 worldwide starts, Lowry owns three top-three finishes and nothing worse than 35th. Last year, he finished T6 at Muirfield Village, his best result in five starts, and as a former winner at Firestone, there’s a nice correlation to that other beefy Ohio track, which no longer resides on the annual schedule. I’ll take him for a top-five at this one, but don’t be afraid to play him for an outright, too.
One player to finish top-10.
Keegan Bradley (+450 for top-10)
Most casual observers wouldn’t realize what a strong season it’s been for Bradley. He’s top-20 in both SG: Off-the-tee and SG: Tee-to-Green. He’s top-30 in approach shots and top-50 around the greens.
I can almost hear your, “Yeah, but…” coming through the Internet, however it’s not quite what you think.
Sure, Bradley has a reputation of being a below-average putter, but he’s above average right now. Add that to the fact that he owns three top-10s in his past six starts and has a pair of top-10s here in the past and he’s a player I think we’ll see on the leaderboard come Sunday’s back-nine.
One player to finish top-20.
Matt Kuchar (+230 for top-20)
It does feel a bit weird to be living in 2022 and admitting that a Matt Kuchar bet is my favorite play of the week, but I absolutely love this one — a conservative wager that’s just oozing with value.
Let’s first start with his recent form. It wasn’t that long ago when Kuchar went through an early-year stretch that included a T67 and three MCs in four starts. Since then, he’s turned things around with six consecutive made cuts, including a pair of top-three results and two other top-20s.
Then there’s his form on this course, which has always been a personal favorite. In 16 career starts, he has a win, seven top-10s and 10 top-20s. A few weeks shy of his 44th birthday, Kuchar is no longer anything close to the top-five player he once was, but he still owns plenty of game.
On a course that has served as his personal ATM over the years, this is a smart place to play him.
One player to finish top-30.
Regular readers of my weekly previews already know I’m very bullish about both the long- and short-term future of Wise, who owns all the tools to be a top-20 player in the world at some point in the not-too-distant future.
Wise is one of the players I’m worried about failing to mention on any given week because I’m waiting for that next breakthrough performance. Instead, I’ll list him here for an admittedly conservative top-30 play. I don’t mind being a bit more aggressive with a few other prop tickets, as well. He was T9 here last year.
One player to finish top-40.
Justin Lower (+400 for top-40)
I’m taking a chance here on a local boy who grew up less than two hours down the road from Muirfield Village.
He hasn’t exactly been Cameron Young or Davis Riley or Mito Pereira here in his rookie season, but Lower is showing signs he can hold his own. With three top-40 results in his past six starts, I like taking a shot on him here at a relatively big number.
And remember: Much like last week’s Charles Schwab Challenge, there are only 120 players in this week’s invitational field, meaning these types of wagers own more value — Lower only has to finish in the top 33.3% for the week.
DFS Free Bingo Square
A safe plug-and-play option for DFS.
With seven of the world’s top-10 players in this field, it might seem strange to list a PGA TOUR rookie as the free square, but not if you’ve been paying attention to Young. He’s now finished top-three in his past three starts — and at three wildly different courses in Harbour Town, TPC Potomac and Southern Hills.
What’s even crazier is that Muirfield Village might suit Young’s game better than any of those. I don’t mind taking a chance on him for an outright or props, but I think he offers nice value against the biggest names at the top of a lineup, although it wouldn’t surprise me to eventually see him as a chalky play, even in his first career start at this one.
A lower-priced option for DFS.
A decade ago, if you’d attempted to assess the long-term potential of the Class of 2011 grads, Rodgers’ name would’ve been listed right near the top.
Spoiler alert: He hasn’t quite had the same success as Jordan Spieth or Justin Thomas. While they’ve turned into superstars, Rodgers is still seeking his first career PGA TOUR victory, but there are signs he might just be a late-bloomer when it comes to picking off that long-elusive win.
Rodgers owns three top-10s this season, and there are signs of more solid performances around the corner. He’s currently top-40 in both driving distance and putting, which is a nice start — and his ball-striking looked solid in the final round last week.
Granted, Rodgers was out ahead of the strong Sunday afternoon winds at Colonial, but the tee-to-green numbers were fourth in the field, suggesting he’ll have some momentum coming into this one.
One player to post the low score Thursday.
Joaquin Niemann (+4000 for FRL)
So far this year, Niemann has played eight individual PGA TOUR stroke-play events. These are his Thursday scores: 69-63-70-67-69-65-67-68.
Whether it’s some impeccable prep work or just his ability to step on the gas pedal from the get-go, Niemann has proven himself a fast starter, currently leading in first-round scoring average.
While he hasn’t played great at Muirfield Village the past few years, he did hold a share of a three-way opening-round lead here back in 2018. What’s interesting here is that while books will obviously price players entering a final round based on their ability to close, they rarely alter the prices for FRLs from the original outright list, meaning a player like Niemann should own some built-in value.
One player who should beat comparable players.
Will Zalatoris (+3200)
Two weeks ago, Scottie Scheffler missed a cut for the first time in seven months, failing to reach the weekend at the PGA Championship. He said afterward that maybe it was a blessing in disguise, that having a few days off could help refocus him. One week later, he nearly won at Colonial, losing to Sam Burns in a playoff.
Zalatoris is fresh off a MC last week, and it’s certainly possible to envision a similar bounce-back performance since we know he’s not far from being in top form.
We all know that his putting stroke looks downright ugly at times, but Zalatoris is the type of player who only needs to putt to the field average. He can win for the first time, especially at a course like this that places a premium on ball-striking.
Also Receiving Votes
Other players who should provide value.
Rory McIlroy (+1000), Seamus Power (+5000), Alex Noren (+6500), Luke List (+12000), Erik Van Rooyen (+12000), Keith Mitchell (+12000), Stewart Cink (+12000), Brendan Steele (+12000), Sahith Theegala (+21000)
The Big Fade
One top player to avoid at this tournament.
LIV Golf first event field entrants
By the time you read this — or at least very soon thereafter — LIV Golf will have released an entry list of players competing in the first event in London next week. Undoubtedly, some of those players will also be competing at Muirfield Village this week, making for a situation that’s just going to be … awkward.
This doesn’t mean they can’t play well — it just means there will be plenty of probing questions from the media and dirty looks in player dining and catcalls from the gallery. There’s no great analogy here, but it’ll be something like a college football player in a bowl game who’s already announced he’s transferring to the opposing team afterward.
For such a mental pursuit, one in which competitors often speak of the need for a calm state of mind to have the most success, I think having this impending news swirling around them should be enough to fade these guys this week.
My favorite non-PGA TOUR play of the week.
Minjee Lee to win the U.S. Women’s Open (+1200)
In speaking with an LPGA insider friend of mine, this pick came down to Lee or Nasa Hataoka, each of whom has won recent titles and enters the week at Pine Needles in solid form.
Hataoka owns the better record over the years at this event, including a runner-up finish last year, losing to Yuka Saso in a playoff at Olympic Club.
I love the way Lee plays, though. She’s currently ranked 21st in driving distance, 10th in greens in regulation and fifth in putts per GIR. That’s a deadly combo and it’s placed her at No. 1 in scoring average this season. Give me the Aussie to win it, with maybe a little Hataoka chaser if the situation arises.