Cleat Geeks

Off the Tee: Memorial

The golf world is abuzz talking about the recent accomplishments of the world’s top three players and the anticipation of them all squaring off at this week’s Memorial Tournament.

They’re all a week behind what’s happening here at Cleat Geeks, since last week we already had news on the recent prowess of Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. So that’s already an old story here.

Close-up of Golf Club and Golf BallWhat’s becoming more apparent week by week is that their play has golf in a pretty strong place, arguably the healthiest spot it has been since Tiger Woods’ dominance wore off at the end of the last decade, first with health issues and later with off-the-course issues coming to light.

This week will bring quite a unique situation, as Day, McIlroy and Spieth all come into the Memorial off wins in their last starts – Day three weeks ago at TPC, McIlroy two weeks back at the Irish Open and Spieth last weekend at Colonial.

That winning streak can possibly only continue for one of them, and 140 other guys will have intentions of bringing it to an end for all of them.

Here’s the mindset of each of the young stars coming into this week:

Spieth: “Rory is rounding into form, and he’s the one out of us three with double my major championships, with four of them. He’s certainly a scary person to be teeing up on the other side of when he’s on his game. Same with Jason.”

Day: “I’m motivated to be No. 1. I’m motivated to extend that lead, but I’m very motivated to win as much as I can right now.”

McIlroy: “I really feel like my game is in good enough shape to kick on from here and to challenge in the three final majors, and obviously everything else we have to play for this year, Olympics, Ryder Cup, Race to Dubai, FedEx Cup.”

No doubt a popular spot for galleries Thursday morning and Friday afternoon will be following McIlroy and Spieth, as they play in the same trio as Justin Thomas. Day tees off in the other wave of players, on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, with Jim Furyk and defending champion David Lingmerth.

With the U.S. Open now looming just a couple of weeks away, it’s time to get into midseason form. Each of these guys already seems to be there coming off victories, but they have a chance to advance that momentum this week.



Having picked the winner two straight weeks, we are on quite a roll. Can it possibly continue?Rickie-Fowler-Cover

Rickie Fowler – So naturally, we start by picking a guy not part of “the Big Three.” Fowler has been impressive at this event, finishing runner-up to Justin Rose in 2010. But he may more interested in avenging a horrible final round in 2012 when, playing alongside Woods, he shot an 84 to drop from 2nd to a tie for 52nd. Woods won that day.Gary+Woodland

Charl Schwartzel – The former Masters champion won in March in Tampa but has been just OK since, making three of four cuts but finishing no better than a T13 in Houston. He tied for 8th here in both 2013 and 2014.

McIlroy – We couldn’t go without taking one of the young stars, and Rory seems like the guy ready to make something happen. His recent win in his homeland doesn’t change the fact he hasn’t won a PGA Tour event in more than a year. He’ll have a sense of urgency to win here for the first time.

Longshot – Gary Woodland – One of the tour’s longest hitters, his massive distance will give him a chance to take advantage of the course’s par fives. A tie for 12th at the Byron Nelson two weeks ago was his best finish of the season.

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