2023 Memorial Tournament First Look: Patrick Cantlay, Jason Day Among Early Picks

2023 Memorial Tournament First Look: Patrick Cantlay, Jason Day Among Early Picks article feature image

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Cantlay.

If you missed the final few holes of regulation on Sunday at the Charles Schwab Challenge, you missed an incredibly quirky stretch of golf that ended with Emiliano Grillo blowing an easy win on the 18th, and then taking it back with a birdie on the second playoff hole.

It was just the second win of Grillo's career and his first since 2015, when he won in his first start after securing his card. He beat Adam Schenk, who now has two painful runner-up finishes to his name in 2023, though he continues to put himself in position for that illusive breakthrough win.

Charles Schwab Challenge aside, it was a week off for many of golf's biggest names. They get right back to it as we head to the annual stop for Jack's tournament.

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The Memorial Tournament kicks off on Thursday from Muirfield Village, where a $20 million purse is up for grabs. Scottie Scheffler will come in as the top player in the world after another top-five finish at Colonial Country Club. He and Jon Rahm will be the top two on the odds board — the only question is what order and what number.

Rahm, who has great history at this course, has unfinished business after an unfortunate withdrawal in 2021 due to COVID. He was the runaway leader in the third round at the time.

While the top of the board will have a lot of presence, the middle of the top tier packs some punch.

Patrick Cantlay has two wins on this course while Collin Morikawa has a victory and a runner-up finish. Beyond the first tier, players like Billy Horschel have found their way to the top at this event — he captured the title last year.

There are a bunch of players who have found success at this tournament and I'll be more focused on form than skillset as I build my betting card for The Memorial.

First Look

Patrick Cantlay

It's safe to assume Patrick Cantlay is a big milkshake guy. He has one finish outside the top four in his last five trips to The Memorial.

Read that again, it's not a typo.

He has one finish outside of the top four in his last five appearances at this tournament — and two of those were victories. Sure, one was by default after Rahm's withdrawal, but that doesn't take away from his pure dominance .

Cantlay is playing great golf. His opening round at the PGA Championship quickly quelled any hopes of winning his first major, but he fought back for a top-10 finish.

I don't expect to get a number in the 20s like we did back at the start of the week for Oak Hill, but I'll be shopping around for the best number. Strokes Gained Milkshakes appear to be a real thing with PC.

Jason Day

There is no question Jason Day mailed it in at the PGA after he captured his first win in five years at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

I realize that's a strong claim, especially for a major championship, but he openly stated on the Wednesday prior to the event that he hadn't — and wasn't — going to see the course prior to the tournament. Who can blame him? After all he's been through over the past several years — and to capture that victory on Mother's Day — he gets a pass from me.

Day is a longtime member at this course, something that will get played up once again. The difference this year is that he is in form and playing some of his best golf since he was circling at the top of the world rankings.

I'm looking to back Day to continue his good play — this is an event that could suit him well as he continues his rise back to the top.

Sahith Theegala

Jack Nicklaus was one of the best shot-makers in the history of the game, so it's no surprise that his courses set up for that type of play.

Sahith Theegala is one of the young players who can simply be defined as a shot-maker. He has them all in his bag. It's just a matter of time before he puts it together for his first win, and I wouldn't be surprised to see that triumph come on a Nicklaus track. He even has a top-five finish from last year to lean on.

Theegala has quietly put together some great weeks over the past four tournaments with four made cuts and a couple top-10 finishes.

He is one of the players I expect to fall closer to the long-shot tier. If the number is right, I'll be adding Theegala to my card in the hopes he can start hot and give himself a chance over the weekend.

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