Bryson DeChambeau will look to join Tiger Woods as the only players to defend as the 44th edition starts Thursday.
Woods is looking for his SIXTH title and 82nd overall.
For the second week running an invitation is required to tee it up on TOUR as Jack Nicklaus’ Muirfield Village Golf Club hosts the 44th Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide in Dublin, Ohio. The field of 120 players will being playing for a purse of $9.3 million with the winner taking home $1.638 million, 500 FedExCup points, plus a three-year exemption on TOUR.
MVGC plays 7,392 to Par-72 with the par-5 holes scoring as the easiest while three of the four par-3 holes are some of the most difficult. The closing three-hole stretch starts with No. 6 in difficulty followed by No. 4 and No. 1 to close out.
There is plenty of room to swing the driver as the landing areas are welcoming. From there the 5,000 square-foot greens will need to be found, and preferably on the proper tier, or it’s time to scramble. The “Augusta of the North” has, according to Woods, the best greens (Bent/Poa) they putt on all year on TOUR as they will run 13 feet on the Stimpmeter. With almost 15-under being the winning score the last four years, birdies will need to be circled as well.
Memory says that weather is usually a factor in this part of the country this time of year. Of the previous 43 editions, 26 have been interrupted by rain. The course took 1.5 inches of rain Monday night after violent tornadoes swept thru the area.
Bryson DeChambeau (2018, -15): DeChambeau made his FIRST 54-hole lead stand after holing a birdie putt on the second playoff hole to knock out Byeong Hun An and Kyle Stanley. He became the first winner in the last five years to not finish in the top 10 in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green as he was 12th.
Notables: Woods is the only player to defend (1999-2001). … DeChambeau won in only his second start (T38, 2017). … An led the field in GIR while DeChambeau led in scrambling due to his hot putter. … Debutant 19-year old Joaquin Niemann (T6) led in Par-3 scoring. … Of the top 28, there were SIX rounds above par.
Jason Dufner (2017, -13): After setting the 36-hole record (-14) and leading by five shots, Dufner showed up Saturday and posted 77 to drop four shots off Daniel Summerhays’ lead. His 68 Sunday was just one of 17 in red figures as he defeated Rickie Fowler by three shots, just the second event since 2005 to be decided by two or more strokes.
Notables: Dufner led the field in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, Approach-the-Green, Ball-Striking and GIR after MC at Colonial. … Anirban Lahiri (T2) posted 65 on Sunday, the best of the day by three shots. … Fowler needed a birdie at the last to tie Dufner at the time but made bogey.
William McGirt (2016, -15): McGirt defeated Jon Curran as they outlasted co-54-hole leaders Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland. McGirt’s first win on TOUR saw him join Justin Rose (2010), Hideki Matsuyama (2014) and David Lingmerth (2015) as the first-time winners this decade.
Notables: There were only eight rounds worse than par for the top 26 players. Of those eight, four came from the last three pairings Sunday. … Kuchar co-led after 36 and 54 holes. … Johnson began the final round one back before winning the U.S. Open two weeks later.
Key stat leaders
Golfers around the top 25 in each statistic on the 2018-19 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week. This is the 32nd event of the season.
* – Top 10 finish since 2010; noted finishes in parentheses.
Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
1 *Rory McIlroy
2 *Justin Thomas
3 *Dustin Johnson
4 *Hideki Matsuyama (T5, 2015, WIN 2014)
5 *Patrick Cantlay (4th, 2018)
7 *Gary Woodland (T4, 2016; 6 2011)
9 Corey Conners (first time)
12 *Matt Kuchar
13 *Byeong Hun An
14 *Keegan Bradley (T8, 2015; T8, 2016)
15 Jason Kokrak
17 Lucas Glover (five straight but T33 or worse)
19 Luke List
20 Emiliano Grillo (70.42 scoring average here in 12 rounds)
21 Xander Schauffele (MC last year)
22 *Adam Scott
24 Keith Mitchell (82-77 first appearance last year)
25 *Jim Furyk
1 *Patrick Cantlay
2 *Dustin Johnson
3 *Matt Kuchar
4 *Lucas Glover
5 *Jim Furyk
6 Charles Howell III (made the cut in his last six; T21 best)
9 *Aaron Baddeley (T9, 2012; tournament record 28 birdies)
10 *Justin Thomas
12 *Rory McIlroy
13 Ernie Els (2004 champ)
14 Xander Schauffele
19 *Matt Jones (T6, 2013)
21 Russell Knox
22 *Hideki Matsuyama
23 Sungjae Im (first appearance)
25 Bud Cauley (4 out of 5 paydays)
25 Talor Gooch (first appearance)
1 *Justin Thomas
2 *Bryson DeChambeau
3 *Matt Kuchar
4 Luke List
4 *Gary Woodland
9 Troy Merritt
9 Xander Schauffele
12 Adam Hadwin
16 *Dustin Johnson
16 *Rory McIlroy
16 Talor Gooch
16 Martin Kaymer
16 Sung Kang
24 Sungjae Im
24 Sam Ryder
24 Bud Cauley
24 *Tony Finau
24 *Bill Haas (T4, 2013; T8, 2014)
24 *Matt Jones
Birdie or Better Percentage:
1 *Justin Thomas
3 *Bryson DeChambeau
5 *Gary Woodland
6 Jason Day
7 *Matt Every (T6 first appearance; 0-4 since)
8 *Jordan Spieth (T3, 2015)
9 *Justin Rose
11 *Phil Mickelson (T5, 2010)
12 *Rory McIlroy
14 Aaron Wise
15 Cameron Champ
16 *Rickie Fowler
18 Xander Schauffele
19 *Marc Leishman (T5, 2015)
20 *Patrick Cantlay
24 Bud Cauley
25 Andrew Putnam
26 *Tony Finau
Levels of Confidence
Tiger Woods: The five-time champion led the field in both Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and Approach-the-Green last year but finished T23. Remember holing putts for birdie or saving par is a key this week. He’s never MC in 16 attempts.
Justin Rose: Of his nine cuts made from 12 events, SEVEN have gone for top-10 paychecks. His worst finish this decade is T8 and he’s made six of his last eight cuts here.
Matt Kuchar: The scoring stat above should remove any questions of whether or not “short” hitters can make it here. McGirt and Dufner aren’t former winners of long drive competitions either. The 2013 champ plays well here and at Augusta so that’s probably not a coincidence.
Rory McIlroy: He’s 24-under combined in his last two trips and hasn’t cashed inside the top four. His first two and last two visits have cashed in the top 10 from seven total trips.
Rickie Fowler: Barbara Nicklaus’ favorite is 21-under his last two trips but hasn’t been able to break through. He’s been second alone (2010) and T2 (2017) as he keeps knocking. I won’t remind you of the MC X 3 stretch from 2014-2016 after his top-10 paydays the last two years!
Remembering to Forget
Justin Thomas: T37, MC and MC were his first three attempts. He’s now 20-under in his last two visits for T8 and T4.
Dustin Johnson: His first seven trips yielded just one top 10 (4th, 2011) but his two of his last three include a podium (3rd, 2016) and T8 last year.
It Takes a Village
Pat Perez: He’s rattled off nine straight at the event.
Jim Furyk: In 23 events he’s cashed 20 times but the last two years have seen him MC twice. The 2002 champ was T5 in 2015 and has 15 top-25 results to his name over the years. Did he lead last week at Colonial?
David Lingmerth: 2015 champ backed up his play with T27, T15 and T29 last year. He’s never packed up early in six tries.
Tony Finau: He’s never missed in four tries and has posted 11 of 16 rounds in the red. T8 on debut in 2015 is the best but there’s also T11 and T13 sandwiching a T40 from 2017.
Adam Scott: The only time he’s MC in 11 tries was 77-81 in 2009. His best shout is T4 twice and we know which club in his bag tends to hold him back. His best three finishes are inside the top five but the last was in 2014 (T4).
Jason Day: Local and club member, the Aussie’s best finish from 10 starts is T15.
Phil Mickelson: Just three top-10 paydays from 15 weekends with the last being T5 in 2010.
Jason Kokrak: Native Ohioan has been hot lately so it was surprising to see he’s made the weekend just once from five tries (T33, 2017).
|Bryson DeChambeau||2/2||1||1||Win (2018)||T38 2017|
|Kyle Stanley||5/6||3||3||P2 (2018)||T6 2017; 3 2013|
|Byeong Hun An||3/4||1||3||P2 (2018)||L3: T11, T25 and P2|
|Patrick Cantlay||2/2||1||1||4 (2018)||6 of 8 under par|
|Peter Uihlein||2/2||1||2||5 (2018)||15 under with a 76 in 8 rds|
|Joaquin Niemann||1/1||1||1||T6 (2018)||ball-striker|
|Justin Rose||9/12||7||8||T6 (2018)||2010 champ, 2 other podiums|
|Rory McIlroy||6/7||4||5||T8 (2018)||first two and last two|
|Rickie Fowler||6/9||3||4||T8 (2018)||T2 2017; 2 2010|
|Dustin Johnson||9/11||3||6||T8 (2018)||3 2016; 4 2011|
|Justin Thomas||3/5||2||2||T8 (2018)||T4 2017|
|Jason Dufner||4/7||1||3||Win (2017)||T19 is best other|
|Anirban Lahiri||3/3||1||1||T2 (2017)||closed with 65, best by 4 shots|
|Matt Kuchar||12/13||7||10||T4 (2017)||2012 champ; T15 or better all but 1|
|Kevin Kisner||4/5||2||2||T6 (2017)||T8 2015|
|J.B. Holmes||7/11||1||4||T4 (2016)||6/7 this decade|
|Gary Woodland||6/8||2||4||T4 (2016)||solo 6th first time 2011|
|Keegan Bradley||5/8||2||3||T8 (2016)||T8 2015|
|Kevin Streelman||6/10||2||4||T8 (2016)||29-under last 4|
|David Lingmerth||6/6||1||2||Win (2015)||Last four top 30|
|Jordan Spieth||5/6||1||3||T3 (2015)||only 7 rounds in the 60s|
|Marc Leishman||9/10||1||3||T5 (2015)||T11 2016, T15 2017|
|Hideki Matsuyama||4/5||2||3||T5 (2015)||2014 champ|
|Jim Furyk||20/23||7||15||T5 (2015)||2002 champ|
|Tony Finau||4/4||1||3||T8 (2015)||T11, T40 and T13 next 3|
|Adam Scott||10/11||3||4||T4 (2014)||all top 10s are T5s|
|Steve Stricker||15/16||2||5||T6 (2014)||2011 champ|
|Bill Haas||10/13||2||4||T8 (2014)||T4 2013; T18 2015|
|Scott Stallings||4/5||1||3||T4 (2013)||first app since 2015 MC|
|Matt Jones||4/7||1||2||T6 (2013)||last app 2016 T20|
|Pat Perez||9/14||1||4||T8 (2013)||9 straight at event|
|Michael Thompson||2/3||1||1||T8 (2013)||first app since 2014 T37|
|Tiger Woods||16/16||8||12||Win (2012)||5x winner|
|Rory Sabbatini||9/11||1||6||T2 (2012)||He’s on fire|
|Matt Every||1/5||1||1||T6 (2012)||MC next four trips|
|Aaron Baddeley||9/15||2||2||T9 (2012)||28 birdies tourney record|
|Ryan Moore||11/13||3||8||T5 (2010)||2 2007; T10 2008|
|Phil Mickelson||15/18||3||10||T5 (2010)||T13 2018 best in last five|
|K.J. Choi||16/19||3||9||Win (2007)||Last 4 = worst 4|
|Ernie Els||19/24||6||11||Win (2004)||MC last three|