Expert Picks: 2014 Memorial Tournament


This week marks the 29th event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, as players head to Columbus, Ohio for the Memorial Tournament. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and John Antonini; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; staff writer Ryan Lavner and defending fantasy champion Charlie Rymer.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Matt Kuchar: It's not always the best idea to pick the defending champion, but after two weeks in the Dallas area with his swing coach Chris O'Connell, Kooch always plays well and in 14 events this year he has nine top-10 finishes.

Group 2: Jim Furyk: Although he stumbled slightly last week at Colonial (T-51) after back-to-back runner-up finishes, he is playing well and has a stellar record at Muirfield Village (a victory in 2002 and a pair of runner-up showings).

Group 3: Chris Stroud: He's been inching toward his maiden PGA Tour victory all season, and was solid again last week with a tie for 14th place.

Group 4: Erik Compton: Sentimental pick here. The two-time heart transplant recipient has played the Memorial before on sponsor exemptions for his courage to overcome his physical challenges, and he's enjoying his most consistent season on Tour.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Justin Rose: In this year's everyone-gets-a-turn-to-hold-a-trophy golf world, it might be time for Rose, who has won here before.

Group 2: Ryan Moore: Confidential info: I asked Moore a few months ago to name the one tourney he thought best suited his game. Here's a hint: it's this one.

Group 3: Brendon de Jonge: His team might not have fared so well at last year's Presidents Cut, but BDJ showed a special affinity for playing well at Jack's place.

Group 4: Nicholas Thompson: We really weren't too far off from Nick winning Colonial, sister Lexi winning on the LPGA and brother Curtis winning the NCAAs in the same week.

Will Gray

Group 1: Matt Kuchar: Kuchar has finished inside the top 10 more than 42 percent of the time since 2010, and he's done it five straight times at Muirfield Village including a win last year. Don't let the hiccup at Colonial fool you - he'll be back in contention in no time.

Group 2: Luke Donald: The Englishman challenged all the way to the 72nd hole last week in England, and his Memorial record is a strong one, with five straight top 25s. Donald's stellar short game should come in handy once again this week in Columbus.

Group 3: David Hearn: Hearn has been playing some good golf lately, following a T-6 at TPC Sawgrass with a T-21 finish at Colonial where he closed with a 66 on Sunday. The Canadian knows his way around Muirfield Village, with top-25 results in each of his two appearances.

Group 4: Stewart Cink: The veteran hasn't won since the 2009 Open Championship, but he tends to save his best for this event: eight straight top-30 finishes at Muirfield Village, including a trio of top 10s from 2007-2010.

John Antonini

Group 1: Rory McIlroy: He hasn't put four good rounds together in a PGA Tour event this year, but he figured it out last week at Wentworth. If he's not too jet-lagged, he could make it two straight wins this week.

Group 2: Jim Furyk: He's third on the Memorial Tournament's all-time money list, so you know he likes Muirfield Village. A T-51 at last week's Colonial ended a run of three straight top 10s on Tour.

Group 3: Ryo Ishikawa: He's having a career year and should qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs for the first time. He was T-9 at the Memorial in 2012.

Group 4: Brian Davis: Coming off a T-14 at Colonial, Davis was T-8 at Muirfield Village a year ago.