Expert Picks: The Memorial Tournament


The PGA Tour heads to Ohio this week, as Jack Nicklaus hosts a world-class field at Muirfield Village 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 new 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 Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner. They will also be joined by former 'Saturday Night Live' star Norm Macdonald, who will serve as a celebrity guest throughout the fantasy season.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Tiger Woods: The last time the world No. 1 arrived at the Memorial with four Tour titles ... wait, he’s never done that. It’s what makes Woods the easiest chalk pick of the year in his quest for his sixth title at Jack’s Place.

Group 2: Keegan Bradley: The ongoing debate over the ban on anchoring will be a distraction – the Tour’s player advisory council is scheduled to meet Tuesday at Muirfield Village – but Bradley’s runner-up at the Byron Nelson suggests he’s game-ready, regardless of his putting style.

Group 3: Sang-Moon Bae: That final-round 77 at Colonial aside, Bae has proven to be one of the hottest players in golf over the last fortnight.

Group 4: James Hahn: He hasn’t been at his best since the Tour bolted the West Coast, but if anyone has the skills, and the steps, to celebrate a victory “Gangnam Style” on Muirfield Village’s 18th green, it is Hahn.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Justin Rose: Everybody else is going to pick Tiger Woods, right? Well, I’ll either pick up ground on the experts field or be in last place by even more. Worth the risk.

Group 2: Jason Day: Two years ago, he skipped this event, much to the chagrin of Jack Nicklaus. Last year, he missed the cut. This year, he’ll contend.

Group 3: K.J. Choi: At the site of his 2007 victory, Choi is always a strong pick to make some noise at his hero’s tournament.

Group 4: Jason Kokrak: Back in his college state of Ohio, the long-hitting bomber should make plenty of birdies in front of some friendly faces.

Randall Mell

Group 1: Tiger Woods: No explanation required as he seeks his sixth Memorial title and third in the last four years.

Group 2: Bo Van Pelt: A consistent record of strong play at Muirfield Village over his last three starts there.

Group 3: Matt Every: Nice T-6 at Memorial last year, nice T-4 at Colonial last week.

Group 4: Jonathan Byrd: Struggling since wrist surgery, but his strong play at Memorial bodes well for rebound.

Win McMurry

Group 1: Tiger Woods: When Woods tees it up right now, it’s impossible to pick against him. Last year’s winner, who rallied down the stretch with birdies on three of his last four holes, won’t be surrendering Jack’s trophy this week. He will lift it for the sixth time in his career and will use the momentum to fuel his fire heading to Merion.

Group 2: Hunter Mahan: He grabbed a top 20 last year by firing a 68 on Sunday despite a 77 in Round 3. He has two top 10s this year.

Group 3: John Huh: Came close to posting top 10s at both the Byron Nelson and Colonial, with a T-8 in Dallas and a T-11 in Fort Worth. He finished T-19 here last year.

Group 4: Jonathan Byrd: This is the week Byrd turns things around. With five missed cuts and zero top 10s, he returns to Jack’s place where a year ago he tied for sixth thanks to consistency throughout the week.