Gamers will have to be on point this week as the Memorial Tournament has crowned first-time Tour winners in each of the last three seasons.
the Memorial Tournament
Muirfield Village Golf Club
Yards: 7,392 per the official scorecard;
Par: 72 (36-36);
Greens: Bentgrass; 5,000 square feet on average;
Rough: Kentucky Bluegrass, fine fescue and rye grass at 3.5″;
Water Hazards: 13
Course Architect(s): Jack Nicklaus and Desmond Muirhead (1974);
Purse: $8.7 million; $1.566 million-winner; 500 FedExCup points
Defending Champion: William McGirt became the third consecutive first-time winner on Tour at this event as he defeated Jon Curran on the second extra hole.
Notes: Invitational field of 120; top 70 and ties will play the weekend.
Notes II: Winner receives a THREE year exemption.
Frys.com: Brendan Steele
CIMB: Justin Thomas
WGC-HSBC: Hideki Matsuyama
Sanderson Farms: Cody Gribble**
Shriners: Rod Pampling
OHL Mayakoba: Pat Perez
RSM Classic: Mackenzie Hughes**
SBS TOC: Justin Thomas
Sony Open: Justin Thomas
CB Challenge: Hudson Swafford*
Farmers: Jon Rahm*
WMPO: Hideki Matsuyama
AT&T Pebble Beach: Jordan Spieth
Genesis Open: Dustin Johnson
Honda: Rickie Fowler
WGC-MC: Dustin Johnson
Valspar: Adam Hadwin*
Arnold Palmer: Marc Leishman
WGC-Match Play: Dustin Johnson
Shell Houston Open: Russell Henley
Masters: Sergio Garcia
RBC Heritage: Wesley Bryan**
Valero Texas Open: Kevin Chappell*
Zurich Classic: Cameron Smith* & Jonas Blixt
Wells Fargo Championship: Brian Harman
THE PLAYERS: Si Woo Kim
AT&T Byron Nelson: Billy Horschel
Colonial: Kevin Kisner
**First-time winner AND rookie winner
2016: William McGirt, 273
2015: David Lingmerth, 273
2014: Hideki Matsuyama, 275
2013: Matt Kuchar, 276
2012: x-Tiger Woods, 279
2011: Steve Stricker, 272
2010: x-Justin Rose, 270
2009: x-Tiger Woods, 276
2008: x-Kenny Perry, 280
2007: K.J. Choi, 271
2006: Carl Pettersson, 276
2005: x-Bart Bryant, 272
2004: x-Ernie Els, 270
2003: x-Kenny Perry, 275
2002: Jim Furyk, 274
2001: x-Tiger Woods, 271
2000: x-Tiger Woods, 269*
X-not playing this week
Muirfield Village Golf Club will be a welcome site to those who spray it off the tee and enjoy destroying par fives after the Sawgrass-Four Seasons-Colonial swing.
Jack Nicklaus’ design sits right in front of the players and will test their skills as they get closer to the pin. With big landing areas off the tee not many should complain about the 3.5″ rough that borders the fairways.
Those complaints will be more valid around the greens as they can hardly be describe as large at 5,000 square feet. Gamers know the drill: guys who don’t hit GIR will need to be short game specialists. Guys who hit plenty GIR will have plenty of chances to navigate the slick Bentgrass greens but they better find the proper tier and be below the hole. There has never been a player that has taken less than 100 putts for the week.
The Nickalus design was pounded last year and the cut of minus two was the lowest in tournament history. Also, last year was just the 10th time in 41 events where the scoring average for the week registered less than 71 (70.98).
The last three winners have been first-timers on Tour so winning pedigree isn’t paramount this week as it was at Colonial.
In 2013 only two players were double digits under par and there was one bogey-free round.
Last year the place was torched, as noted above, as the weather cooperated until Sunday.
Dublin has been having an average May so the course set up will be whatever Mr. Jack decides.
As is the tradition with this tournament, there is usually a weather delay or two during this week and this year doesn’t look to be any different.
Tuesday’s forecast suggests a better than 50% chances of storms for the final three rounds.
The better news for gamers is the wind will be prevailing so the course will play as designed.
Facts and Figures:
- 42nd consecutive event held here.
- Tournament record event: 268; Tom Lehman, 1994.
- Course record: 61; John Huston, 1996 .
- Defending champion(s): Woods, 1999-2001.
- Multiple champions: Woods, last, 2012, his fifth.
- Maiden Tour victory: last three seasons and four of the last seven winners.
- First time at event: last, Lehman.
- USA > Internationals 32-9 victories.
- Three playoffs in the first 38 years before three in a row the last three years.
- Rose in 2010 is the only player since 2005 to win by more than two shots #Tight.
- Perry, 47, is the oldest winner while Matsuyama, 22, is the youngest.
In order of preference for this week and this tournament
Dustin Johnson: Hard courses. Easy courses. Long. Short. Doesn’t matter. He’s 23-under in his last seven rounds on this track. Read that again out loud. He always plays Memphis well, when he plays and his defense of the U.S. Open is also right around the corner at Erin Hills. His worst finishes in 2017 have been his last two starts, T-12 and T-13. They are also the only ones outside T-6 from those 10 events.
Jordan Spieth: I hope you took a pass at TPC Four Seasons and jumped back on last week as he missed a playoff by a shot at Colonial. His scattered record here will make you think in limited start games but I like that there’s room off the tee and his short game/putting is a fantastic equalizer. He’s never MC in four tries and T-3 in 2015 was his best of the bunch.
Jon Rahm: 365 days ago Rahm was playing in the NCAA Golf tournament. Today is he’s No. 9 in the world. THE WORLD. Party pooper Kevin Kisner made his putt on the final hole last week to spare us a four-man playoff (Spieth, Rahm, Kisner and O’Hair) that would have been fantastic. Boo. Since winning at Torrey Pines he’s racked up six top 10’s in nine events. #SiSenor.
Hideki Matsuyama: His last-minute WD at Colonial had me scratching my head but no news is good news. He closed with 31 on the back nine at Sawgrass his last time out so it would suggest he’s found something. After winning here in his first try in 2014 and finishing T-5 in 2015, last year’s MC was bizarre. He’s in the top 10 in scoring, birdies, eagles and GIR so it’s hardly a surprise he eats here.
Matt Kuchar: He’s 66-under-par here since 2009. The next closest player is 35-under. In 10 events as a pro, he’s finished outside the top 15 once, T-26, in 2015.
Adam Scott: The Aussie returns for the first time since 2014 when he posted his third top five in nine events. Scott’s inconsistency has been baffling but he’s hit the top 10 at Augusta and Sawgrass in two of his last three, his two best finishes of the year.
Tony Finau: He’s 22-under-par in two trips with T-8 and T-11 to show for his effort. Of those eight rounds, seven are in the red and four are in the 60’s. Bomb it. GIR it. Make birdie. He’s in the top 25 in birdies and scoring.
Marc Leishman: He sits ninth in scoring average and his two best finishes at MVGC are his last two, T-5 and T-11 last year. None of those rounds were par or worse so he’s figured it out over the last six seasons where he’s played the weekend.
Brooks Koepka: One poor round (74, AT&T Byron Nelson) is going to chase me away. His five finishes before that were all T-16 or better. He roasts par fives and he’ll love the large landing areas off the tee. His short game is nasty and he makes tons of birdies. Good combo!
Kevin Kisner: He raked tee-to-green and his short game was on fire last week in winning at Colonial. He only made four bogeys to lead the field. MVGC is another track where he’s had past success as he was T-8 in 2015 so I wouldn’t expect a letdown.
Kevin Tway: His worst finish in the last five on Tour is T-20 and that includes three top five finishes. I have no problem riding the hot hand until it runs out of gas.
Patrick Reed: He’s rattled off three T-22 or better finishes in a row as he is starting to heat up. He’s 17-under here the last two years and put all four rounds in the red last year to finish T-8. He can get up-and-down from a trash can and won’t mind some breathing room off the tee either.
Sean O’Hair: He’s a bit of all-or-nothing here but I’m leaning on the form that saw him finish T-5 at Byron Nelson and T-2 at Colonial. In a field of this ilk, that’s gold.
Ben An: This is a recording. The last time he MC anywhere in the world was last August at Baltusrol. After T-8 and T-5 he jumped across the pond and took home T-24 at Wentworth. He racked up four rounds under par for T-11 last year in his first visit as a pro.
Bill Haas: He had a run of T-4, T-8 and T-18 busted by MC last season. He trashed a run of three MCs in a row with T-12 last week at Colonial so he should be ready to build on that.
Just missed; no particular order of preference
Emiliano Grillo: He’s rolled up 10 in a row and 11th and T-24 at Sawgrass and Colonial in his last two suggests he’s dialed in.
Webb Simpson: I get nervous when the greens are slick and he’s in form. His run of MC, T-11, MC, T-16 and fifth deserves a look but if that putter cools off…
David Lingmerth: The 2015 champ is finding his summer form with T-18 and T-12 in two of his last three, both on Bentgrass greens.
Stewart Cink: He was in the fight on Sunday at Colonial before finishing T-10, his best of the year. He has the third-most rounds under par in the history of the event.
Pat Perez: He hasn’t had many bad ones in 2017 and his short game has been the difference.
Bud Cauley: His streak of top 10’s was broken at three weeks in a row with T-41 at Colonial. He’s never MC in three tries at MVGC.
Morgan Hoffmann: He’s on a nice run of T-12, T-27 and T-12 but be aware he’s had no luck here the last three seasons.
Adam Hadwin: It’s now 15 in a row. He sat one shot off the lead after 54 holes last year before 74 on Sunday set him back to T-11. He now knows how to close the deal.
J.B. Holmes: This will be his 10th event and his T-4 last year is the best of the bunch. He shouldn’t have much trouble overpowering the place again this year.
Steve Stricker: There’s only one way to qualify for the U.S. Open in his native Wisconsin: repeat his 2011 performance here. #W.
Jason Dufner: The unwritten rule of fantasy golf says pile on the guy who lets everyone down the week prior. I’m not sure Dufner can make enough putts around here to test out that theory.
Brian Harman: With three top 10’s in his last four including a win and T-7 on Bentgrass, the lefty makes an interesting option this week.
Off the Beaten Path
Course horses, long shots, cheeky picks, DFS last call, red herrings, general mish-mash.
Billy Hurley, III: If you’re making cuts you’re gaining my attention. It’s now six in a row for BH3.
Kyle Stanley: His solo third here in 2013 is his best finish from four tries. His MC last week will chase away the tailgaters and return some value. He sits only behind Molinari, Spieth and Rahm in SGATG.
Danny Lee: He does the business in the Metroplex, we know that. This isn’t the Metroplex but I’m not ignoring T-5 and solo sixth the last two weeks.
Patrick Cantlay: I missed him in the original post but I’m not making that mistake again. He’s fearless and hasn’t been bothered by a wonky schedule with solo third at Harbour Town and T-22 at Sawgrass in his last two outings.
Hudson Swafford: He went out in 29 last year on his first nine and was 10-under through three rounds before cashing T-38.
Smylie Kaufman: Cashed for T-20 in his maiden voyage last year and has rattled off four straight weekends.
Peter Uihlein: T-5 and T-23 the last two times he played in the States. He hasn’t MC in 12 events in 2017 worldwide.
Keegan Bradley: T-8 the last two seasons here ropes me in here.
Mackenzie Hughes: He announced via social that his wife is pregnant. Let the #NappyFactor begin!
Kyle Reifers: Columbus product who has a pair of top 25’s in his last three starts here.
There’s a reason why there have been plenty of first-time winners on Tour. Not many “regulars” play this course well.
Rickie Fowler: He has one round in the 60’s in his last four trips to MVGC. He’s MC three in a row. I’ll let you break him out of this funk on this course.
Jason Day: He’s never finished better than T-27 here. He showed signs of life last year but had a Sunday to forget. He’s a member and plays here every year and can’t figure it out. He shouldn’t be in this part of the column but I’m not sure he should be in the favorites either. His T-2 at Byron Nelson is going to test the form vs. course form theory.
Charl Schwartzel: WD at Byron Nelson with a wrist injury in the middle of round three scares me to death. He’s collected plenty of cash here (T-8, T-8, MC and T-11 last year) in his last four here but with a major just around the corner, I’m not taking the chance with big rough.
Justin Thomas: He’s played this event three times and has two rounds under par. His last three are 76, 77 and 77.
Bubba Watson: He’s played 10 events and finished inside the top 22 exactly once. Be careful if you’re going to be but he was T-3 in 2014.
Zach Johnson: If he’s not doing the business at Colonial, I’m not sure where he’s going to do the business.
Wednesday I’ll present my gaming angles for the week so keep your eyes peeled at @MikeGlasscott and mikeglasscott.com for more information.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter or email me firstname.lastname@example.org.