Odds and Ends: Patrick Cantlay can be Dublin and trebling at The Memorial Tournament in Ohio

Patrick Cantlay has won The Memorial Tournament twice at Muirfield Village in Ohio, and he could make it three this weekend
Patrick Cantlay has won The Memorial Tournament twice at Muirfield Village in Ohio, and he could make it three this weekend

THE dust has barely settled on Brooks Koepka’s win at the US PGA Championship and yet we find ourselves just two weeks out from the third Major of the season, the US Open at Los Angeles Country Club.

It’s a hectic time in the golfing season, and the big events keep on coming, with this week’s Memorial Tournament leading into the Canadian Open, where Rory McIlroy will defend his title before heading to Los Angeles seeking that long-awaited fifth Major.

It never pays to get too far ahead of yourself, however, and the fact the Jack Nicklaus-hosted Memorial is now an elevated event should ensure the top dogs remain in the here and now as they seek the winner’s cut of another $20 million prize-fund.

This is the ninth such elevated week of 2023 already, and when you throw two Majors into the mix as well, the stated aim of getting all of the main men together more often is clearly working.

Not that The Memorial ever really struggled to attract a stellar field to Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, with Nicklaus’ name alone being enough to ensure that.

This one really is his baby, and he will be standing behind the 18th green on Sunday night to welcome home the champion.

On five occasions in the past that has been Tiger Woods, while the likes of Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay and Hideki Matsuyama have claimed the title in recent times to suggest Muirfield is a playground for the elite.

Billy Horschel won 12 months ago while at the very peak of his powers, barely putting a foot wrong on a Major-type test to win by four shots.

Like any Nicklaus course, landing areas on the fairway are generous enough, although the rough is thick if you do stray, while the emphasis is very much on approach play into small, but very quick, putting surfaces.

With that in mind, it is no surprise to see Scottie Scheffler just about lead the betting from 2020 champion Rahm at 13/2, with the Texan delivering stunning tee-to-green displays almost every week he tees it up.

He was third in the Charles Schwab Challenge on Sunday despite being the second-worst putter in the field over the weekend, while he was second in the PGA the previous week while also giving up shots on the greens.

At some stage he will get the flat stick to behave and then race off into the sunset, but I’m happy enough to give him a miss at the price, even though he was third in the Memorial in 2021 before opting out last year.

Rahm should have two Muirfield wins on his CV rather than one, as he was leading by six after three rounds as defending champion in 2021 before a positive Covid test forced his withdrawal.

The Spaniard is obviously to be feared, but I’m edging towards the man who picked up the pieces two years ago, Patrick Cantlay, to win again here.

Cantlay (10/1 generally) has had plenty of criticism this term for slow play, but he won’t let that bother him one little bit, and it has taken away a little from the fact he is performing at a superb standard each time he appears, although he is without a win in 2023 thus far.

He is an elite tee-to-green machine, and was last seen closing with a 66 at Oak Hill for ninth in the PGA, making it five top-10s this year so far. 

Cantlay comes alive at Muirfield Village, with wins in 2019 and 2021 backed up by a third last term and fourth in 2018, while he was also seventh in the

one-off Workday Challenge around an easier set-up of the course in Covid times in 2020.

All of that makes him a rock-solid each-way bet at the very least at 10/1 here, and he could easily be shaking the hand of Nicklaus for the third time as winner come Sunday night.

Tyrrell Hatton has been in fine form of late and could have a strong run at The Memorial title at 28/1
Tyrrell Hatton has been in fine form of late and could have a strong run at The Memorial title at 28/1

Elsewhere, Ohio resident Jason Day is of interest at 28/1 but at the same price I’ll keep the faith with Tyrrell Hatton despite very little course form on a track that sees the same players shine time and again.

The Englishman’s only visit to Muirfield Village resulted in a 33rd in 2019, but he has come on leaps and bounds since then and can rightly claim to be a world-class operator.

He frustrated us at the PGA, opening with a seven-over 77 before fighting back to share 15th place.

The final three days showed Hatton at his best, and he is a fine tee-to-green performer who loves a tough course and is 10th for approach play on the PGA Tour this term.

He was second at Sawgrass in March, before finishing third at the RBC Heritage and fifth in the Byron Nelson prior to the PGA so all facets of his game are firing, and after a week off he should be raring to go at a venue that really stacks up very well for him.

Returning to proven course pedigree, the 40/1 quoted by Sky Bet about Rickie Fowler is enough to tempt me in as he creeps back towards his best.

At his peak the Californian was a contender for every big event, and while he’s not quite at that level again, the signs are he is getting there with six top-20s in his last seven outings.

The most recent of those came with a fast-finishing sixth at the Charles Schwab Challenge on Sunday, and Fowler’s tail should be up returning to Muirfield Village, where has been second twice, in 2010 and 2017, and posted three other top-15s.

Everything is working well, but the fact he is ninth in approach play makes him of real interest at the price.

Finally, at huge odds I’ll have a small tickle on Sepp Straka at 175/1.

The Austrian makes a third trip to The Memorial, and while a best of 45th last term is not exactly impressive, he has enough form at another Nicklaus course to tempt me.

The winner of the 2022 Honda Classic at PGA National, Straka was fifth in defence of his title this term and has returned to form, with a share of seventh in the PGA based on exceptional iron play, when he was second only to Viktor Hovland  in that regard over the four days.

That performance on a tough Major test bodes well for this week and the big events ahead, which are coming thick and fast as the golfing summer rolls around.   


Patrick Cantlay, e/w, 10/1 (General);

Tyrrell Hatton, e/w, 28/1 (Paddy Power);

Rickie Fowler, e/w, 40/1 (Sky Bet);

Sepp Straka, e/w, 175/1 (Sky Bet); top continental European, e/w 14/1 (Bet365).