The Confidence Factor: Horses for Courses Memorial Tournament

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.

Let’s ball!

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.

Need more Course Info? Check Rob Bolton’s Power RankingsThe First Look and Course Preview.

Recent Winners

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

Bogey Avoidance

 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)

Par-5 Scoring:

 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

The Landlord

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.

Experience Matters

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).

Bad Memories?

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).

Player Cuts Top Top Most Best/Notes
Made 10s 25s Recent
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
Player Cuts Top Top Most Best/Notes
Made 10s 25s Recent
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

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