As we type this, we should be preparing to watch the Open Championship, which is the best golf tournament to watch on television. The long summer days in Scotland and England, coupled with the time difference mean we wake up watching golf and are still watching golf by the time happy hour rolls around.
While Mrs. Hangover is especially sad that there won’t be golf on our television for 12 hours a day for the next four days, no one is happier than Shane Lowry. Last year’s Champion Golfer of the Year gets another full year with the Claret Jug due to this year’s cancellation and considering he hasn’t sniffed a top 10 since winning last year, he appears to be thoroughly enjoying his reign.
While we won’t have the Open Championship to enjoy this week, we will have a major caliber field at The Memorial, which is played at Muirfield Village (coincidentally named in honor of Muirfield in Scotland and part of the Open rota). Nine of the top 10 ranked players in the world are teeing it up, we have our first potential showdown between Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau after their most recent Instagram feud (that’s a sentence Jack Nicklaus would have never imagined) and a fella named Eldrick is also in the field. So, by now, you all know where this is headed – 10 to Win the Memorial!
In alphabetical order, here are our 10 picks. Place your bets accordingly:
Day is a member of Muirfield Village, calls Ohio home (a clear mistake) and he played well here last week, quietly finishing T-7. So, he’s in decent form, he’s staying at home, and he finally appears healthy. It’s hard to believe that it has been two years since his last win, and if there’s a place for him to break through, it just might be in his own backyard.
We don’t want to do it, but we can’t help ourselves. While everyone is making a big deal about his weight gain and subsequent increases in
diabetes distance, it should be noted he was playing really strong golf prior to the pandemic. Since the return, his results have been T3, T8, T6, Win. In 16 competitive rounds, he has 14 rounds in the 60s with two rounds of 70. Throw in the fact that he won this tournament two years ago and he must be one of the betting favorites. The only thing that might throw him off are the famous Muirfield milkshakes.
Over the weekend, Finau posted video on Instagram of a round of 59 at some course in Utah. We realize that shooting a low score with some buddies in one round doesn’t exactly translate to playing against the top players in the world on one of the more difficult courses with tall, thick rough and green speeds running as fast as they will all year, but a 59 is a 59.
Rickie has finished second here twice, but never won, which feels like a microcosm for his entire career. Last Sunday, he watched his buddy Justin Thomas battle in a playoff, with a drink in hand after finishing off a respectable T-22 finish which should have been a little better but a final round 73 did him in. However, just when people start talking about how he probably has underachieved, he goes out and wins. He’s a great putter and the faster greens this week should play to his favor. Also, we’d love to underachieve and earn $38 million for our efforts.
In the proud tradition of Willie McGirt and Carl Petterson, we had to throw in a slightly chubby long shot who looks like he’d be better suited for a Bar Golf course than an actual golf course. We can relate. Recently, Higgs described his signature drink: Styrofoam cup, ice, Tito’s Vodka. Watch out Arnold Palmer, we may have a new leader in the clubhouse for delightful eponymous refreshment. The Harry Higgs will be available at all local country clubs and watering holes any day now.
Koepka has made more news recently for his social media activity than his actual golf, which is the first reason he’ll win this week. His tweet of a “Kenny Powers Addressing Steroid Allegations” gif after DeChambeau berated a camera man for filming his temper tantrum was, and is, pure gold. Add in the fact that this is the closest we’ve come to a major since last year’s Open Championship, the sports best player in majors over the last four years will be ready to play.
Candidly, we just didn’t want to leave out the best player in the world. He’s been solid but not spectacular since golf returned, but he’s just priming to try to end his major drought, which is now in its sixth year.
Rose has a win and two second-place finishes at The Memorial, so that kind of past success is difficult to ignore. He hasn’t really been a factor since the restart, and actually missed the cut on this same course last week with a cool 80 in the second round. Want more piece of evidence that the pros are so much better than you? We mock the pro golfers when they shoot 80 but if you shot 80, we promise you’d be in the bar after the round bragging about it should have been a 75 but if only you had made a few more putts (that’s Hangover-level analysis, by the way). Regardless, recent form doesn’t bode well for this, but we’re going to rely on veteran savvy to carry the day.
On the other hand, recent form would indicate that Thomas has to be on the list. Or, in reality, we should have Collin Morikawa who just won here on Sunday, but we’ll take the guy he beat in the playoff. Thomas seems to enjoy pretending to be a tough guy – all 5’6, 117lbs of him – but we will give him credit for this – he seems to be one of the more competitive guys out there. Thomas let the win on Sunday slip away with two bogies in the last 3 holes, but that will only motivate him this week while Morikawa likely hasn’t picked up a golf club since Sunday, except after he tripped on his golf bag in a drunken stupor Monday morning.
Speaking of drunken stupors…too soon? Tiger returns for the first time since golf’s restart, and we’ll give him this…he’s no dummy. With this condensed schedule, he’s doing everything he can to save his body for the majors, but he needs tournament reps. Where would you want to go? Maybe a place that you’ve won five times? Good idea. We’ll be straight with you – we don’t think Tiger will win. This is a practice tournament for him. But if anyone can win a tournament that he’s treating as a practice tournament on this course, it’s Tiger.
Enjoy the golf. It’s all we have.