Jack's tournament, the 2008 Memorial at Muirfield Village may be more conspicuous this year for who's not playing. Widely considered one of the best tourneys outside the majors, the withdrawals are stacking up at an unheard of rate. Tiger Woods, knee. Vijay Singh, rib injury. Steve Stricker, elbow. Elbow or ego? Strick's having some trouble making cuts of late. Adam Scott, fatigue. Fatigue? Carrying his own clubs? Hair too heavy? Lie and say food poisoning, not fatigue for cryin' out loud! I'm 51 years old and work in a construction related business. Today I handled 80 pieces of sheet rock and 50 bags of cement, not to mention how many hundreds of pieces of lumber. I'M FATIGUED! How are you going to topple Tiger with that namby- pamby outlook? Enough. The word is that this golf course is the best conditioned course these guys will play all year, including the majors. I'm sure that's how Jack wanted it to be.
As is Average Golfer's custom, we'll dissect the favorites as considered such by Ladbrokes, the British odds house. Here we go.........
Phil Mickelson, 7/1 --- Can't bet against him after last week. By far the best player here.
Geoff Ogilvy, 14/1 --- On the strength of his Florida swing. Legit chance.
Stewart Cink, 14/1 --- Rap on Stew, great tournaments, lots of 2nds, can't win.
Jim Furyk, 16/1 --- Uncharacteristic balky putter. Tee to green, one of the best.
Sergio Garcia, 16/1 --- Expected better odds after The Players. Guess they're waiting to see if his putter implodes.
Kenny Perry, 20/1 --- Bit of a hot head on Sundays. See Stewart Cink.
Ernie Els, 25/1 --- Missed the cut last week at Wentworth, his home course. Was in this tournament, withdrew, got back in. Ernie's a mess. Avoid him like the plague.
K.J. Choi, 33/1 --- M.I.A. since Hawaii, California swing. Was steady, now a bit shaky. Defending champ though.
Luke Donald, 33/1 --- Brits and Scots have a tough time in the states. Ask Monty and Justin Rose.
Rod Pampling, 33/1 --- Gritty and competitive. Wouldn't count him out.
Sleeper picks from down the odds board. Aaron Baddeley, 40/1. Consistent enough to win anywhere. Hunter Mahan, 100/1. Great player. At these odds, worth a look. Daniel Chopra, 150/1. Already won this year, why not? David Duval and Larry Mize at 300/1. Feel bad for David. Larry got in due to the high number of dropouts. Any action on David vs Larry head to head?
As an aside, at about halfway through the professional golf season, the 100th money ranked player is Alex Cejka with $475,848.00. The 1st millionaire to appear on the list is Pat Perez, ranked 43rd on the money list with $1,018,735.00. So, is there any surprise that tournaments are having trouble attracting great fields on a regular basis? All you have to do now is play to keep your card. That's money in the bank.
Almost forgot, Average Golfer's winner prediction for the 2008 Memorial is..................Jim Furyk. Jimbo sheds the "Furyk Funk" and makes the putts he has to make.