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‘They’re Scary’: Justin Thomas, Jack Nicklaus and PGA Tour Golfers Make Their NBA Finals Prediction

Published 06/02/2023, 3:59 AM EDT

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The 2023 Memorial Tournament, currently underway at the iconic Muirfield Village, got off to a fiery start on Thursday. As the event heads into its second round, the star-studded line-up promises great thrills and excitement for fans.

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However, like many others, the competing golfers also have the NBA Finals on their minds right now. On Thursday, the likes of Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, and more made their feelings known about which team they were backing this time around. Even tournament host and legend Jack Nicklaus couldn’t help but chime in!

Justin Thomas and other PGA Tour players make NBA Final predictions


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Ahead of the Denver Nuggets facing off against the Miami Heat team at Game 1 of the NBA finals, several PGA Tour pros competing at Muirfield gave their predictions on Thursday. In a video uploaded by @PGATour on Twitter, the golfers gave varying verdicts concerning the eventual winner.

Billy Horschel, Sam Burns, and Justin Thomas declared their support for Heat, with the defending Memorial Tournament champion Horschel calling himself a big Jimmy Butler fan. Meanwhile, former World No. 1 Thomas said, “My NBA Finals prediction? I’m going Miami Heat.


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Meanwhile, a Lakers fan himself, Sahith Theegala, extended his support to the Nuggets. “If LeBron’s saying they’re one of the best teams he’s ever played then, yeah… they’re scary,” said the World No. 27. Harris English and Collin Morikawa also voiced their support for the Denver Nuggets as they posed alongside the Larry O’Brien Championship trophy. The prized possession, which is awarded to NBA champions, made an appearance at Muirfield on Thursday.

South Florida native Gary Woodland professed his love for the Miami Heat but also acknowledged the Nuggets’ sensational run so far. Finally, 18-time major winner Nicklaus also gave his unwavering verdict, saying, “Miami in 4.” Thursday’s Game 1, however, saw the Denver Nuggets clinch a 104-93 win against the Heat for a 1-0 series lead. Game 2 is slated to take place on Sunday in Denver.

On the other side in the golf world, on Thursday, Davis Riley was the equivalent to the Nuggets of the Memorial Tournament. The golf pro shot a total of 5-under-par to claim the lead and sit solo atop the leaderboard!

PGA Tour’s Davis Riley takes the Memorial lead after round 1


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On Thursday, 26-year-old Davis Riley birdied three of his last four holes to take the lead at Muirfield. The 2023 Zurich Classic winner finished on five-under 67 to sit one stroke ahead of Matt Wallace as the tournament heads into the second round. Meanwhile, World No. 11 Jordan Spieth is currently in a seven-way tie for third place that also includes the likes of Shane Lowry, Mark Hubbard, and Danny Willett.

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Defending champion Billy Horschel had a tough day out on the challenging course as he failed to make a birdie and shot 84. Meanwhile. World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler carded a 74, his highest opening-round score in 2023. World No. 2 Jon Rahm shot a 70. Rory McIlroy, on the other hand, had a good start to the day but shot a triple bogey on the 18th hole to finish day one in the 33rd place.


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Who are you rooting for to win the NBA Finals? What was your favorite moment from Round 1 of the Memorial Tournament? Tell us in the comments!



Abantika Ghosh

443 articles

Abantika is a fresh writer at EssentiallySports who was chosen in the recent round of ‘ES Draft’ for her strong passion for golf writing. Even in her early days, Abantika has displayed an impressive ability to cover golf with gripping and insightful stories backed by thorough research. Her inspiration comes from the words of the legendary golfer and flag-bearer of the PGA Tour, Rory McIlroy: "As long as I keep enjoying my golf, then hopefully I'll be able to play well," which motivates her to continue writing engaging pieces.

Edited By: Sheldon Pereira