Written by: Scott Schaeffer
We are in the process of trying to erase all documentation of our Workday picks from the internet. Big Randy's McNealy MC prediction was literally the only winner of the week, earning him a very impactful 10 points. Take a look at our wild-ass-guesses for this week's Memorial:
"THE READ": From an undisclosed location, DJ recorded his only pick for the second of two consecutive events at Muirfield Village. A perk of being standings leader is being able to take big swings without worry of the consequence of a big miss. Like a clean-up hitter in a scramble with a safe one out there, Dennis is letting one fly with an opportunity to nearly double his cumulative point total.
Morikawa has established a track record of consistency regardless of result in his prior week. I could see him following up his win with another solid week, especially on a potentially more difficult setup that should reward his premier ball-striking. Rickie is still prone to an unpredicatable foul ball, leading to a big number that is notably absent from the majority of Morikawa's scorecards. Former Jayhawk Gary Woodland will also look to follow up a solid payday in a matchup against Tony Finau, who shot 59 last week at his home course despite a 1 over finish in his last two holes. Both likely have untapped power, and it will be interesting to see if either decides to chase a little more distance in response to Bryson's evolution as the summer rolls on.
A rough week for Jon Rahm finished on a high note as he carded a tournament-low 64 last Sunday. DJ will need less of that type of play and more of the fore rights Rahm was battling last Thursday. Rahm admirably poked fun at himself on Twitter following his round.
"THE READ": Randy took an enormous chunk out of DJ's lead by earning 10 nugs when Mav McNealy missed last week's cut. Still, losses in his remaining picks flushed him from the green to the red in the cumulative totals. A similarly conservative approach this week gives him a chance to get back positive.
For the second time in three weeks, Randy is choosing to back Rickie, who of course was present behind the 18th green to show his close, personal friend JT his love and support. Unselfishly, Fowler finished T22 to give the full spotlight to his buddy. Randy's first pick of the week is in direct opposition to DJ, giving him another opportunity to take a large 35 point chunk out of the current deficit in the standings. The third spring break crew member, Jordan Spieth, will need improvement from the loose swings that led to his Friday collapse in missing the cut last week if he is going to top Sergio, who in contrast has built his career on the foundation of his ball-striking.
A familiar rivalry, Tiger vs. Phil, rounds out Randy's predictions. The big guy has put his heart on the line backing Phil for years...and will be emotionally tied again this week by predicting lefty will wrap his week up by shaking Mr. Nicklaus' hand. If Tiger is to spoil those plans, Randy thinks he would need to do so despite showing some early rust, as he is forecasting The Cat to make 3 or more bogeys in his opening round.
"THE READ": A two-week hiatus from picks seemingly did nothing in the way of curing Neil of his Chez addiction. Icarito has fallen off the wagon, itching for his fix of the scrappy vet. Unfortunately, Reavie showed form during Neil's absence, placing T17 last week. A similar performance at Muirfield this week may service as a scratch to Icarito's itch.
Backing Jason Day is a leap of faith in many ways. Will his body hold up for four days? Will he avoid an illness/positive COVID test? Are his crystals in alignment? If yes to all those....will he actually play well? A staple of Day's most successful days on Tour was his putting from 10 feet and in. His substandard year is partially due to a decrease in his make percentage on such putts. Home surfaces at Muirfield aided JayDay's putting last week. A duplicate performance will be necessary to keep Neil afloat this week...
...unless someone makes a 2 on a Par 5 this week. Completely up to the golf gods. Icarito will certainly be hoping the 14th hole setup utilizes the forward tees in multiple rounds this week. If not, the best chance for an albatross will likely come at #5. Last week, Phil took a line on 5 that left him 114 from the hole in the right rough. We'll see if anyone takes an equally aggressive line this week to give Neil a prayer at hitting the bullseye on this dart throw.
"THE READ": TC's pattern of coming up a leg shy on the mega parlays has not acted as a deterrent. In fact, the number of legs has increased as the weeks have gone on. There's a reason parlay payouts look so juicy...the same reason he's O-fer so far.
Sungjae has been a popular pick throughout the entire crew since the restart despite lackluster results. Putting has been the primary issue in the past 5 weeks, having lost strokes to the field on the greens in every event except his T10 finish at Colonial. Also lackluster have been Finau and Leish since the Tour returned. TC may be looking for value in traditionally dependable players whose odds may be a little inflated due to recent struggles. Or...he may just be showing some love for Leish, who engaged in a mid-round interview last week with an NLU towel in hand. A final acknowledgement was given to "Mike" Wallace of Bellerive acclaim, who is a Euro who has decided to compete in the States for will now be the sixth consecutive week.
"THE READ": Props to Soly for his willingness to change what has been a losing strategy to date. This week, he will ride almost exclusively with defending champion Patrick Cantlay. Cantlay finished last week with a 65, including a 5 under stretch in his first 5 holes. His last three starts at Muirfield Village have netted T4, 1st and T7 results, respectively.
Cantlay's first three rounds during the Workday event underwhelmed expectations he likely had entering the week. He fought a left (and often long) miss that usually leads to the worst places to be on PGA Tour setups. A crafty short-game, nervy par conversions and a grinder's mentality allowed him to make the cut on the number...giving him the opportunity to find a swing key that clicked on Sunday. Given three days to install that key, he's a likely contender again this week.
If not Cantlay, Soly concedes the only other possibility would be JT exacting revenge at Muirfield only 7 days after a surprising defeat. The fire JT has within him makes a rebound win this week infintely more likely than a despondent MC.
"THE READ": Agree with Soly's take on Cantlay this week, but was shocked to see I'm the only one choosing to throw any nugs down on JT. Even at 10:1, I think there's a lot of value backing someone as talented, determined and motivated as Thomas is this week. Taking a flier on Xander to have a low one this week given his hot putter. If he can pair his performance on the greens last week with the ball-striking that helped him lead the field in SG: Off the Tee at the 2019 Memorial, a low one could be out there for Schauffele.
In closing, have to show a little personal bias in picking a friend and former teammate to finish Top 10 @ TPC San Antonio this week. Arman will be making his 2nd career Korn Ferry Tour start by virtue of Monday qualifying, this time pacing the field in posting an 11 under par 60. Can't relate. A Top 10 would certainly be a nice payday...but potentially more importantly would secure his spot in the field of next week's Price Cutter Championship in his home state of MO. A few comments from Nick about his performance Monday and outlook for this week can be seen here.
The standings below are as of completion of last week's streamable Workday Open. If you like my perspective and want more content related to the crew's picks and year-to-date status, I can be found on twitter and instagram @total_misread. If you're making picks and kicking our butts...let us know!