The Confidence Factor: 44th Memorial Preview

He built it.

They came and continue to show up annually for great golf and great milkshakes.

44th Memorial Tournament

Muirfield Village Golf Club

Dublin, Ohio

Yards (per official scorecard): 7,392
Par: 72 (36-36)
Greens: 5,000 square feet; Bentgrass, Poa annua
Stimpmeter: 13′
Rough:  Kentucky Bluegrass, ryegrass and fescue.
Bunkers: 73
Water Hazards: 13
Architect(s): Jack Nicklaus, Desmond Muirhead (1974).
Purse: $9.1 million; $1.638 winner plus 500 FedExCup Points.
Defending Champion: Bryson DeChambeau (-15).
Notes: Invitational field of 120; top 70 and ties after 36 holes advance.

Previous Winners:

Year Winner Comment
2018 Bryson DeChambeau -15 Held his first 54-hole lead on TOUR and won in a three-man playoff over Ben An and Kyle Stanley.
2017 Jason Dufner -13 Set the 36-hole record before playing the weekend 77-68; came back and won by three over Rickie Fowler.
2016 William McGirt -15 Defeated Jon Curran in a playoff for his first TOUR victory.
2015 David Lingmerth -15 Picked up his first win on TOUR as Justin Rose couldn’t hold his three-shot 54-hole lead; lost in a playoff.
2014 Hideki Matsuyama -13 Began Sunday two back before eventually beating Kevin Na in a playoff for his first TOUR win.
2013 Matt Kuchar -12 54-hole leader by two won by two.
2012 Tiger Woods -9 Gusty winds Sunday saw Woods make up a four-shot deficit for his fifth win here.
2011 Steve Stricker -16 Became the seventh 40-something to win as he posted all four rounds in the 60’s to hold off Kuchar.
2010 Justin Rose -18 Trailed Fowler by three entering Sunday and won by three, the biggest margin of victory since 2004 (Els, four).

2018-19 Winners

Event Winner
Safeway Open Kevin Tway**
CIMB Classic Marc Leishman
CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES Brooks Koepka
Sanderson Farms Championship Cameron Champ**
WGC-HSBC Champions Xander Schauffele
Shriners Hospitals for Children Bryson DeChambeau
Mayakoba Golf Classic Matt Kuchar
The RSM Classic Charles Howell III
Hero World Challenge* Jon Rahm
Sentry TOC Xander Schauffele (2)
Sony Open in Hawaii Matt Kuchar (2)
60th Desert Classic Adam Long**
Farmers Insurance Open Justin Rose
Waste Management Rickie Fowler
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Phil Mickelson
Genesis Open J.B. Holmes
WGC-Mexico Championship Dustin Johnson
The Honda Classic Keith Mitchell**
Arnold Palmer Invitational Francesco Molinari
THE PLAYERS Rory McIlroy
Valspar Championship Paul Casey
WGC-Match Play Kevin Kisner
Corales Punta Cana Graeme McDowell
Valero Texas Open Corey Conners**
83rd Masters Tournament Tiger Woods
RBC Heritage C.T. Pan**
Zurich Classic of New Orleans Ryan Palmer & Jon Rahm (2)
Wells Fargo Championship Max Homa**
AT&T Byron Nelson Sung Kang**
PGA Championship Brooks Koepka (2)
Charles Schwab Challenge Kevin Na

(* unofficial event; **First-time winner)

Facts and Figures:

For the second week running course history should help us find our way. This is the 44th edition of the Memorial Tournament and the players rave about the conditions of the course annually, especially the greens.

The experience will help with those reads and where NOT to miss it off the tee and into the greens.

Tournament Record: 268 (-20); Tom Lehman, 1994.
Course Record (last): 61; John Huston, 1991.
Defending Champions: Tiger Woods 1999-2001.
Multiple Winners (entered) Woods.
First TOUR win (recent): Rose (2010), Matsuyama (2014), Lingmerth (2015) and McGirt (2016).
First Appearance: Matsuyama.
Margin of Victory (recent): 4 shots; Ernie Els, 2004. 3 shots; Justin Rose, 2010 and Jason Dufner 2017.
Low Rounds 2018: 64; Rory McIlroy, Round 3.
Odd Fact: Weather has delayed 26 of the previous 43 events.
Odd Fact II: There were only five rounds above par from the top 28 players last year.
Odd Fact III: Only seven international winners in 43 events including just three of the last nine. #FastGreens.

The Confidence Factor was the weekly column I wrote for PGATOUR.COM. It has evolved into Horses for Courses. I’ve included the link here for you.

Trend or Not a Trend?

Stats 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
B. DeChambeau Jason Dufner William McGirt David Lingmerth H. Matsuyama
Score 273 275 273 273 273
All Drives 7 35 34 T56 45
Accuracy T58 T7 T39 T11 T11
GIR T12 1 T7 T16 T22
Ball-Striking T11 1 T34 T28 11
Proximity 11 6 8 T23 1
Putting: Birdie or Better % 12 8 31 11 8
SG: Off-the-Tee 25 10 19 13 29
SG: Approach-the-Green 24 1 10 7 2
SG: Around-the-Green 26 T12 38 49 11
SG: Putting 6 47 16 3 46
SG: Tee-to-Green 12 1 7 9 1
Scrambling 1 30 6 T9 T20
Bogey Avoidance T2 T10 T5 7 T9
Par-3 Scoring T2 T28 T33 1 T10
Par-4 Scoring T11 T3 T3 T8 2
Par-5 Scoring T18 T3 T5 T37 T34

Horses for Courses

Each week I’ll put the major players in here. There are always exceptions to rules and “new” players every year so use this as a guide or tiebreaker.

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
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

Thoughts

Jack’s homage to Augusta National shares similar features. Big landing areas should give iron players a chance to attack the greens.

Hitting GIR is great but above the hole, like Augusta, is dead. Unlike Augusta, missing fairways and GIR comes with the penalty of dealing with Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass and Fescue.

The axiom with Nicklaus and his course design template is the hole gets more difficult as you near the cup. This holds true again as greens running at 13 feet will demand attention, especially for putts above the cup.

The four Par-5 holes have been the four easiest over the 43 years so taking advantage is a must. Of the four Par-3 holes, three rank inside the seven most difficult on the course.

Jack was one of the greatest closers of all time and his course brings the heat on the final three holes. It’s not hard to fathom why there aren’t many blowouts around here as there are plenty of places to stumble and fall down the stretch.

The average winning score above suggests there will be plenty of scoring chances. Dublin took an inch-and-a-half of rain Monday and will have more coming Wednesday afternoon so I’m leaning ball-strikers as my tie-breaker this week.

The Chalk

Rory McIlroy: I’ll listen to the argument that he should be at the top and I’m not going to talk you out of that. In 10 events on TOUR in 2019 he’s hit the top 10 in nine. Leading the TOUR in SG: Total, SG: Off-the-Tee and SG: Tee-to-Green will do that. 24-under in his last two visits to Dublin. NOT THAT DUBLIN THIS DUBLIN.

Patrick Cantlay: On his own ball he’s cashed T9, T3 and T3 in the Masters, RBC Heritage and PGA Championship. Of his eight rounds in the last two years seven are par or better. He missed the playoff here last year by a shot and is second on TOUR in scoring average.

Tony Finau: I wrote last week I have “Finau Fatigue”. I’ve found the cure after his solo second. This track works perfectly for him if his driver cooperates. He’s never missed in the last/only four starts and has three top-13 paychecks for his trouble.

Tiger Woods: In honor of his five victories here he goes at No. 5. We’re all learning how to manage Tiger 3.0 or whatever we’re calling this. He led the field SG: Tee-to-Green and SG: Approach-the-Green LAST year but couldn’t putt (T23). Knowing every nook and cranny around here should help the mindset as well.

Matt Kuchar: He’s already won twice this year and his course form at MVGC is ridiculous. Since he started playing regularly in 2007, he has ONE finish outside T15 in 11 events. UNO. His worst finish on TOUR in his last five starts in T12. Automatic in every format as he’s done the business here in all weather conditions as well.

Rickie Fowler: Another event that he’s had chances to win but hasn’t kicked down the door yet. I feel like I have written this before a few times this season.

Justin Thomas: First outing back since a wrist WD knocked him out of Quail Hollow and Bethpage. He’s flipped the switch here and it’s his “home game” during the season where his entire family shows up. If he’s in the field, I’m assuming he’s firing on all cylinders. Wrists and backs, GAAAAAAAAAAAAH.

Hideki Matsuyama: Man, I was on him at the PGA and thought I nailed it. And then Sunday. Ok. Let’s try again.

Adam Scott: Hasn’t MC this decade and just once in 11 tries. I KNOW HE CAN’T PUTT OK. CARRY NOYNE PUTTERS.

Jordan Spieth: Disappointing closing round last week but it is back-to-back top-10 paychecks. Big targets off the tee this week should help mentally and his putter is getting hot.

Justin Rose: Announced this week that long-time bag-man Mark Fulcher would step aside to get healthy. Wobbly lately, relatively speaking, but this track should help swing the pendulum back in the proper direction.

Xander Schauffele: This is a recording. Three worst are on tight, move-the-ball courses. He’ll also enjoy smashing it again and chasing birdies.

Jim Furyk: Two back entering the final round last week at another course he plays really well. Keeps the ball out of trouble but we’ll see if the putter can hold up.

Rory Sabbatini: It was down to him or Piercy last week in my weekly draft. I got it terribly wrong. He’s cashed 9 of 11 here.

Sung Kang: Backed up his win at Trinity Forest with solo seventh at Bethpage. Hawt.

Next Tier

Kyle Stanley: One of only three players in the last two years to hit the top 10. That’s three in his last four trips if you’re scoring at home. I’m hoping he remembers how he was hitting it at Quail Hollow!

Gary Woodland: Posted the round of the day (68) Sunday at the PGA Championship. 10th GIR and second in birdies.

Louis Oosthuizen: When he’s not WD, he’s fine. Closed with 65 here last year in his first trip since 2012.

Kevin Kisner: Probably a click high here but he’s banged a pair of top-10 paydays in the last four years. Top 25.

Keegan Bradley: 12 of his last 14 here are RED.

Lucas Glover: Boringly consistent as top 25 finishes are now the norm.

Peter Uihlein: Back-to-back big finishes (T13, T5) plus (5th, 25) in the last two years here. Heat check this week.

Emiliano Grillo: 20th SG:TTG, 10th SG:ATTG.

Russell Knox: Enters the week off T8 at Colonial and hasn’t missed in his last four here. He’s 39th in scoring average.

Matt Every: When he cashes, he collects. T20 or better in all seven weekends from 10 starts.

Brian Stuard: You’re going the WRONG WAY!!! But he’s still going to the bank weekly and the last four times he’s played Memorial.

I Have No Idea

Jason Day says all of the right things around here but he never plays well. It’s been a decade so I guess even a broken clock is right twice a “Day”. I’ll get my coat but he makes a great “I told you it would be this year” pick for the 11th-year running.

Jason Kokrak hasn’t missed a cut in 16 tries this season but the Cleveland native may have “Day Disease” at MVGC. His previous five visits have resulted in four MC and a T33. Wanna guess which event contains his only round in the 60’s? Of his 12 rounds six are 76 or WORSE. Gulp.

Form/Long Shots/Course Horse/DFS

David Lingmerth: Followed his win with three straight T29 or better. Never missed in six tries.

Ben An: Last year’s P2 goes with T25 in ’17 and T11 in ’16.

Joost Luiten: Veteran ball-striker has cashed eight of his last nine worldwide and should have enough nous to get it around here.

Robert Streb: 4-4 with three T28 or better.

Billy Horschel: Makes too many cuts; perfect roster guy.

Andrew Putnam: Hot finish (67-66) at Colonial saw him break out of a nasty slump. DFS push.

Aaron Wise: Aggressive off the tee can help and hurt but he makes a ton of birdies, which never hurts. Cashed in 7 of his last 8.

Tyrrell Hatton: Four straight which includes a pair of top-10 paydays, including T8 at Colonial last week.

J.B. Holmes: Cashed six of seven this decade including T4 in 2016 and T13 in 2018 on an aggregate of 23-under. I’d be remiss to leave out 76-78 in 2017. Questionable form pushes him down here.

Ryan Moore: With 11 paydays from 13 starts here, you can do worse to fill out a lineup.

Brandt Snedeker 0-for-6 lifetime but this is his first visit since 2013. With T16 at Bethpage and T19 at Colonial, two ball-striking courses, I’m willing to bite.

Talor Gooch: Unexplainable. Great stats. Unbelievable Sundays. DFS city.

Ryan Armour: OSU Buckeye knows how to get it around this part of Ohio. T23 last year as he will hit all of the fairways but that hasn’t helped in his last three (MC x 3).

Kevin Streelman: Four straight on his own ball and four straight at the event. Playing his 11th consecutive Memorial so it’s obvious he’s down to clown here.

Corey Conners: Making cuts and peppering fairways and greens. If he makes anything on the greens this week he’ll grab a nice one.

Peter Malnati: GREAT, not good, GREAT videos at his Twitter page. #NappyFactor happening as he’s cashed in eight of his last nine.

Adam Long: Trending in the proper direction T45, T41 and T19 in his last three.

Sam Burns: T29 at Bethpage and T31 at Colonial. Ok, got it.

Joe Quinn Newman: Joaquin Niemann showed up last year at 19, opened with 65 and finished T6. Imagine if he had have avoided a pair of doubles on Sunday! Form not close to last year’s.

Fades

Francesco Molinari: Nothing since the final six holes on Sunday at Augusta. He’ll snap out of it at some point but he didn’t break par in four rounds last week at Colonial.

Phil Mickelson: It’s not happening right now and his history at MVGC suggests this isn’t the place for it to turn around.

Bryson DeChambeau: One top 25 since February and arrives on a streak of three straight MC. Only one round of 69 or better since February. Let’s be fair, he got up-and-down from EVERYWHERE here last year. Good luck repeating that feat.

Marc Leishman: Last-minute WD at Colonial with a neck/back deal so that’s always in the back of my head. Taking a week off for a bulging disc probably ain’t gonna fix it. He’s made nine weekends from 10 here so be careful.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out on Twitter (@MikeGlasscott) or email me mikeglasscott@gmail.com.

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