124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

Betting Analysis

Memorial Tournament picks 2024: Can Viktor Hovland go back-to-back?

June 04, 2024
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 19: Viktor Hovland (NOR) reacts after missing a putt at the 18th hole during the final round of the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on May 19, 2024 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

With another major on the horizon next week, many of the world's best will descend on Dublin, Ohio, for one last U.S. Open tuneup at the Memorial Tournament this week. Muirfield Village, one of Jack Nicklaus' crown jewels, will serve as the site for the 49th straight year. It remains one of the iconic stops on the PGA Tour schedule.

It also has a knack for producing great finishes and great winners, with Viktor Hovland, Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau among them in the last six years. DeChambeau and Rahm, sadly, won't be there this year, but the likes of Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and PGA champion Xander Schauffele will all be in the field, and they are all at single-digit odds to win.

Our betting panel is comprised of a caddie reporting anonymously from the grounds of Memorial Park, Pat Mayo of Underdog/Mayo Media Network, Brandon Gdula of numberFire/FanDuel, Andy Lack of RunPureSports.com, your two authors and Keith Stewart, the CEO of Read The Line. Stewart, our newest member of the panel, is our new betting content partner as well.

Scroll down to see who we like this week at the 2024 Memorial Tournament

Memorial Tournament picks 2024: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions

Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Xander Schauffele (+900, FanDuel) — Pandora’s box is open now for Xander. He went so long without winning, and all those questions are gone. The sky’s the limit now.

Pat Mayo, Underdog/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Viktor Hovland (18-1, FanDuel) — The turnaround has come at exactly the right time for the defending champ. After struggling with this ball-striking all year, it quickly returned to an elite level the last two events. Then his short game returned from Dante’s third circle of Hell after a reunion with Joe Mayo, not Cerberus. Hovland’s short game stats have always been better at courses with heavy, difficult bunkering and lush rough directly off the green like they have Muirfield Village.

Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Viktor Hovland (18-1, FanDuel) — Hovland could repeat at Muirfield Village, a course where he has putted well the past two years. He showed a lot at the PGA Championship, his most recent start, including much improved wedge play. The long-term ball-striking coupled with a shored up short game makes Hovland very appealing.

Keith Stewart, Read The Line: Collin Morikawa (14-1, Bet365) — Over his last five starts, Collin Morikawa has finished third (Masters), ninth, 16th, fourth (PGA), and fourth. Fourth at Valhalla certainly sticks out as a Nicklaus design and course comp. He has won at MVGC (Workday 2020) and was in contention last year until he withdrew with back spasms on Sunday. A big part of this five-event run is gaining 2.5 strokes (on average) around the green. The elite approach player now has a short game to complement that accurate iron game. Watch him flight his classic fade right down Jack’s fairways on his way to that traditional handshake on Sunday afternoon.

Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Collin Morikawa (14-1, Bet365) — Morikawa is peaking, coming off back-to-back top-five finishes at the PGA and Colonial. The two-time major champ is sixth in this elite field in SG/off the tee over the past 36 rounds, and we can rely on the stellar iron player’s success on small greens—he’s fourth on courses with small greens since 2023, per RickRunGood.com. He’s also third in SG/total at Muirfield Village in the past 36 rounds, powered by a win, a runner-up finish at Muirfield Village, and you might forget he was just a few back, gaining almost two strokes per round on approach last year before WDing due to a bad back. This is a great spot for him to find the winner’s circle.

Christopher Powers, Golf Digest senior writer: Patrick Cantlay (25-1, DraftKings) — Cantlay has made plenty of headlines this year, but unfortunately none of them have been for his play. However, he’s played well at the places he’s always played well—T-11 at Pebble, T-4 at Riviera, T-3 at Harbour Town. Muirfield Village is a place he’s played well historically, including a pair of victories and two other finishes inside the top four. Getting a horse for the course at 25-1 is not something I’ll ever pass up.

Andy Lack, Run Pure Sports and Inside Golf podcast: Viktor Hovland (18-1, FanDuel) — I saw enough at the PGA Championship. Viktor Hovland is the all the way back, and Muirfield Village is a perfect setup for his skill set. Hovland’s combination of elite total driving and long iron play continues to pay dividends on long and difficult golf courses, and he consistently raises his baseline around the greens on courses with thick rough. I’m taking the young Norwegian to go back-to-back at Jack’s place.

Past results: The boys officially bagged a major, with our anonymous caddie and Christopher Powers both correctly predicting Xander Schauffele’s PGA Championship victory at 14-1 (and, more importantly, we avoided the dreaded headline curse). That’s CP’s first hit of 2024 and our caddie’s third (!) cash of the year. He leads the way, with Pat Mayo checking in next with two wins (Jake Knapp 40-1 in Mexico; Akshay Bhatia 65-1 at Valero). Stephen Hennessey also cashed on Bhatia at Valero. Not bad, not bad.

Memorial Tournament picks 2024: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win

Caddie: Sahith Theegala (55-1, FanDuel) — It was a bad week for Theegala in Canada, but perhaps a weekend off was good for him. The ball-striking has been great all season with five top-10s in big-time events. This won’t be any different.

Mayo: Byeong Hun An (60-1, FanDuel) — If this was three weeks ago, An’s number would be half this and everyone would have called him a “sneaky value” and lined up to bet him. He has two off rounds with his irons at Valhalla and apparently the ship has sailed on any hope for his first PGA win. Lest we forget, An should have gotten his breakthrough here in 2018 before losing in a playoff to Bryson. Gazing over his numbers since the Masters, An’s putter has been shockingly stable and the downturn in his chipping numbers are primarily due to a horrid run between the Players and Heritage, two courses quite dissimilar to Muirfield Village (although quite similar to Pinehurst next week). The win remains equally as close as it has all year.

Gdula: Russell Henley (50-1, FanDuel) — Henley continues to gain strokes with his ball-striking, and he’s an accurate driver. That’s a good recipe for this course. Additionally, he checks the box as a strong putter. 50-1 is a nice number this week.

Stewart: Si Woo Kim (60-1, FanDuel) — Si Woo Kim has four straight top-20 results at the Memorial. An excellent driver of the golf ball, Kim can thread a needle let alone any fairway. Complement that off-the-tee skill with a very solid short game and you can see why he’s top five in career scoring average for the signature field at MVGC. The biggest issue facing Kim’s contention is always the putter. In seven career starts at Muirfield Village, he has gained strokes five times on the green. Kim also putts well at the Nicklaus Course in Palm Springs (the American Express) and other comp courses like Augusta National, TPC Sawgrass, and TPC Scottsdale. With seven top 20s this season, he’s primed for another signature Si Woo win.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Shane Lowry (75-1, FanDuel) — The Irishman’s irons have been hot—he’s fifth in this field in SG/approach over the past 36 rounds. The only event he didn’t have a stellar approach week? Valhalla, where he finished T-6, and he gained almost 10 strokes/putting. We have similar agronomy on these bentgrass greens from Kentucky to Ohio. And we know Lowry already has a PGA Tour win in Ohio, winning the WGC at Firestone back in the day. Time for Lowry to add an individual title to the team win with Rory.

Powers, Golf Digest: Sam Burns (50-1, FanDuel) — I generally like guys who the entire world was on last week and will now hop off because they didn’t win and Burns fits that bill this week. Even better, we’re getting him at way better odds than he was in Canada, where he still played great despite not raising the trophy. He gained over four strokes on approach and nearly nine tee-to-green, resulting in a top 10. He now has two top-15s in his last three starts and appears to be trending toward a sixth PGA Tour win. Win equity like you read about.

Lack: Matt Fitzpatrick (55-1, FanDuel) — It’s never a bad strategy to take a chance on Matt Fitzpatrick on a long and difficult golf course anytime he creeps past 50-1. The former U.S. Open champion is playing better than his results would suggest, gaining over a stroke in both ball-striking categories at the PGA Championship. Now he returns to a golf course he has already recorded two top 10s in nine appearances, including a ninth-place finish last year.

Memorial Tournament picks 2024: Players We’re Fading

Caddie: Collin Morikawa (12-1, BetMGM) — I know he’s been playing better, but Morikawa’s irons aren’t back to peak-Morikawa. I’m seeing him continuing to work on the ball-striking, and don’t think he’s near the elites at this point, plus I don’t trust the putter in pressure moments.

Mayo: Rory McIlroy (+750, BetRivers) — It feels like if he was ever going to win at Jack’s place it would have happened by now. And I certainly don’t want to lay single-digit odds to find out ion this is the year.

Gdula: Patrick Cantlay (25-1, FanDuel) — I know Cantlay has had a lot of success at Muirfield Village, but the current form just doesn’t stack up for the 25-1 number. The ball-striking is stuck in neutral too frequently.

Stewart: Patrick Cantlay (25-1, FanDuel) — I’m not sure what’s going on here. Everyone’s best guess is that Patrick Cantlay leads the field in strokes-gained “distractions.” The ninth-ranked player in the world has only two top-10 finishes since the Tour Championship last summer. Cantlay’s claim to fame was always his consistency. When Patrick couldn’t produce at Valhalla, a great Muirfield Village comp course, I really started to wonder what was happening. Unfortunately, five elite events in seven weeks don’t allow for much time to rebuild. While he’s trending down, I’m staying away at one of Cantlay’s classic tour stops.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Tommy Fleetwood (30-1, Bet365) — Tommy has some of the worst course history at Muirfield Village out of anyone, ranking 65th in this small field on SG/total at Muirfield Village, per RickRunGood.com. He’s playing better, but I’d rather bet a lot of other players in this range.

Powers, Golf Digest: Xander Schauffele (8-1, Bet365) — If you’ve followed me at all this year, you know I’m fully in Xander’s corner, but let’s tap on those brakes at single-diggie odds here. That said, I thank him for his service, because Schauffele, Scheffler and Rory all being single-digit has made a lot of these other elite players bet-able at their juiced-up odds (see: Cantlay, Patrick).

Lack: Ludvig Aberg (18-1, BetRivers) — I don’t hate this betting number, but I still have concerns about Ludvig Aberg’s lingering knee injury, and he looked all out of sorts at the PGA Championship. While talent can always trump course history, Ludvig has still never played Muirfield Village, a course with considerable nuance. I would rather take my chances on more experienced, healthier players in this spot.

Read The Line's Memorial betting preview

Memorial Tournament picks 2024: Matchups

Caddie: Viktor Hovland (+125) over Collin Morikawa (BetMGM) — I look at Hovland’s stellar Sunday against Morikawa stalling out and think Hovland has a great chance to continue to show that progress in defending his title this week.

Mayo: Collin Morikawa (+110) over Xander Schauffele (Bet365) — At a course where Morikawa has excelled in his career, coming in playing tremendous golf to boot, it seems disrespectful to have him as such a large underdog to Xander. I get Xander is the best non-Scheffler golfer at the moment, but we’ve seen a lot of great players slump after earning their first major championship. Additionally, Xander has zero top 10s in six career starts at the Memorial. And he basically top 10s every week.

Gdula: Si Woo Kim (-115) over Sungjae Im (FanDuel) — Kim has played this course well in the past and has the right game for it. His current tee-to-green game is some of the best in the entire field. Even with awful putting, he’s the better player – currently – than Im.

Stewart: Russell Henley (-130) over Jordan Spieth (BetMGM) — Jordan Spieth’s approach play has gotten to the point where it is affecting other aspects of his game. The three-time major winner has one top 20 since February. Losing an average of 1.5 strokes per start on approach, Spieth has also fallen back on the field with his flat stick in three of his last four starts. Russell Henley quietly has three top-12 results in his last five starts. Gaining an average of six strokes total on the field over his last five events, the odds reflect how this matchup is going to go.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Corey Conners (-130) over Wyndham Clark (DraftKings) — Conners owns a big approach edge over Clark—the Canadian is first in SG/approach over the past 36 rounds, and Clark is near the bottom of the field in approaches outside of 175 yards.

Powers, Golf Digest: Sam Burns (+100) over Tommy Fleetwood (DraftKings) — If I like Sam Burns to win this week, I better like him to beat the guy who never wins, straight up. That’s just simple math.

Lack: Will Zalatoris (+105) over Jason Day (Book) — The No. 1 most correlated skill at Muirfield Village is middle to long iron play, and the gap between Will Zalatoris and Jason Day in this category is astronomical. Despite having ties to Muirfield Village, Day has recorded just three top-20 finishes in 15 starts at Muirfield Village, and his lack of consistency on approach continues to make this track an uphill battle for him.

Matchup Results from the RBC Canadian Open: Lack: 1 for 1 (Conners (-120) over Cam. Young); Caddie: 1 for 1 (Rai (-140) over Pendrith); Gdula: 1 for 1 (Hubbard (-120) over Taylor); Powers: 1 for 1 (Olesen (-110) over Cole); Hennessey: 1 for 1 (Lowry (+100) over Theegala); Stewart: 1 for 1 (Griffin (+100) over Højgaard) Mayo: 0 for 1

Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Lack 15-6-1 (up 7.41 units); Caddie: 14-7-0 (up 5.22 units); Mayo: 13-8-1 (up 4.46 units); Gdula: 12-8-2 (up 2.44 units); Powers: 10-9-2 (up 0.82 units); Hennessey: 9-9-4 (down 1.01 units); Stewart: 9-12-1 (down 3.72 units)

Memorial Tournament picks 2024: Top 10s

Caddie: Sungjae Im (+360, DraftKings) — Sungjae’s mid-irons are as good as anyone’s, and I think there’s a good chance he contends this week.

Mayo: Sepp Straka (+400, FanDuel) — Three top 10s in his last four starts, a win at a Jack design in his careers and looking to avenge his final-round 75 a year ago when he was sniffing the lead. The accuracy is always present, but it has been Straka’s irons which have been propelling him up the leaderboard lately. He’s averaging over a stroke gained on approach per round since mid-April.

Gdula: Sepp Straka (+400, FanDuel) — Straka’s irons are hot for a sustained period now, and he is due for positive putting regression. Additionally, he’s an accurate driver, which should help him avoid issues at Muirfield Village. He was T-16 here last year.

Stewart: Byeong Hun An (+400, DraftKings) — The first thing everyone notices about Byeong Hun An’s game is how high he launches the ball. A perfect fit for these long approaches, An has a history at Jack’s place. Runner-up to Bryson DeChambeau in 2018, Ben also has five more top 25s at Muirfield Village GC. Ben’s ball striking is only held back by his putter, but here’s another excellent tee-to-green guy who rolls it well in Dublin. His career strokes gained average on the greens at MVGC is positive and he has also gained strokes in his last three starts. Taking him at 4-1 with 10 places is a great ticket to cash come Sunday.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Corey Conners (+400, DraftKings) — Conners has been better than Scottie Scheffler on SG/approach over the past 36 rounds, and I love that he finished strong in Canada.

Powers, Golf Digest: Will Zalatoris (+500, DraftKings) — As much as I’d love to bet him to win at a great price, his recent results do not indicate a win is just around the corner. That said, the iron play has still been plenty good enough to hang around the top 10, and that should serve him well at Muirfield Village, where he already has a fifth-place finish in one of two career starts.

Lack: Byeong Hun An (+400, DraftKings) — The Byeong Hun An breakthrough is coming soon, and Muirfield Village is the perfect fit for his skill set. An remains one of the best total drivers and long iron players in this field, and he possesses an underrated short game as well. He’s already recorded a playoff loss and four other top 25s at Muirfield Village, and I expect his strong play at Jack’s place to continue.

Top-10 results from the RBC Canadian Open: Everybody: 0 for 1

Top-10 results from this season: Hennessey: 6 for 22 (up 52.25 units); Caddie: 4 for 21 (down 3.65 units); Gdula: 4 for 22 (down 2.9 units); Mayo: 3 for 22 (down 6 units); Lack: 4 for 22 (down 7.45 units); Stewart: 4 for 22 (down 8.82 units); Powers: 3 for 22 (down 11.4 units)

About our experts

Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. Mayo helped create the golf stats and research website Fantasy National along with the Race for the Mayo Cup One and Done contest. Mayo won the 2022 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and is a finalist for three FSWA Awards in 2023 (Best Podcast, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 27 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are second-most all-time. Follow him on Twitter: @ThePME. 

Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for numberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @gdula13. 

Keith Stewart is a five-time award-winning PGA professional, a betting contributor for Golf Digest and founder of Read The Line, the premier on-site live golf betting insights service covering the LPGA and PGA TOUR. Subscribe to Read The Line’s weekly newsletter here and raise your golf betting acumen. Keith's winning content can also be found on Sports Grid, Bleacher Report and The Sporting News. Follow him on Twitter @readtheline_.

Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from New York City who now resides in Los Angeles. He hosts Inside Golf, a twice weekly podcast focused on the PGA Tour, betting, daily fantasy, golf course architecture, and interviews, as part of the BlueWire podcast network. As well as contributing to Golf Digest, Andy is also the head of golf content for Run Pure Sports, where he covers PGA Tour betting and daily fantasy. He came to Golf Digest’s betting panel after previously writing for RickRunGood.com, the Score and GolfWRX. In his free time, Andy can likely be found on a golf course. Follow him on Twitter: @adplacksports