2023 the Memorial Tournament: Stats Favor Patrick Cantlay, Jon Rahm

2023 the Memorial Tournament: Stats Favor Patrick Cantlay, Jon Rahm article feature image

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Cantlay.

The yearly showdown of Patrick Cantlay vs. Jon Rahm at the Memorial looks to be back as both enter Saturday inside the top seven of the leaderboard.

From a betting perspective, one of those two winning the tournament would be less than ideal since both players were essentially priced out of consideration before the event at sub-10/1 totals. We have gotten a lot of that this season on boards that continue to be more juiced than 90s baseball.

Let's see if we can find where the stats are pointing for the final two days. Personally, I'm crossing my fingers that one of Si Woo Kim, Rickie Fowler or Hideki Matsuyama wins since I placed pre-event wagers on them to walk out of Muirfield Village with the trophy and a handshake from Jack Nicklaus.

If you haven't already, you can find me on Twitter @TeeOffSports. There, I provide a link to my pre-tournament model, a powerful and interactive data spreadsheet that allows user inputs to create custom golf rankings. That sheet is released every Monday, so be sure to check it out and construct your own numbers from my database of information.

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Memorial Tournament Stats Through Two Rounds

Baseline Putt + ATG Score

That combines actual ball-striking metrics for the event and merges it with a golfer's baseline in putting and around the green over two years.

The stat aims to find the most likely players to experience regression with their more volatile metrics for the week. That is something that has the answers for all players inside of my model.

Baseline Putt + ATG Difference (Underachievers)

The score in the chart above shows how many strokes below their baseline a golfer is performing putting + around the green. The category features a ton of shaky putters that I wouldn't necessarily trust.

However, the noteworthy returns should be viewed as Scottie Scheffler, Matt Kuchar, Collin Morikawa and Rahm grade in the top 10 for the difference of those who made the cut. It is also worth noting Cantlay is underachieving by -0.17 shots.

My model seems to believe we are heading for Rahm vs. Cantlay on Sunday.

Strokes Gained Off-The-Tee

Jason Day failed to make the weekend at the Memorial after posting an expected result of 21st — if he got a "fair" output with his short game. Unfortunately, the 3.7 shots he lost with that portion ended up shrinking his top production mark for the week off the tee.

You are going to get a strong indication of why my model likes Cantlay and Rahm as much as it does with how often they land near the top in my credible categories.

Strokes Gained Approach

Every track on tour can be classified as a second-shot golf course, but there are reasons why my model expected a 4.2% increase in dispersion of scoring in that area over a standard venue.

Every top-15 player through two days is playing into the weekend, and only one golfer who lost more than two shots in that area made the cut (Eric Cole, -2.15). 

Strokes Gained Around The Green

Pre-event, my model had a 2.9% increase in importance for strokes gained around the green, but I feel like I should have placed a greater emphasis on GIR percentage after seeing all the missed cuts from players who excelled in that area.

When I removed all golfers outside the top 25 of the leaderboard from the list above, it condensed it down to eight names who all shared the same quality approach and around-the-green dominance.

If building a model for Saturday, I would look at the combination of ATG + GIR a little heavier.

Strokes Gained Putting

I always find it dangerous to chase hot putting — though I would like it to continue for Matsuyama and Fowler because of my pre-tournament outright wagers. 

Outright Grades Entering Saturday

It is a rather aggressive stance from my model to have Cantlay No. 1 across the board, although I have no real complaints when we look into his course history, form and stats.

My model respects both David Lipsky and Mark Hubbard if going further down the list, but it is out on Justin Suh even though he currently has the lead. 

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