Horses for Courses: Workday Charity Open

DH in Dublin.

Dion Dublin? Nah, Dublin, Ohio.

“Let’s play two!” was the famous cry of Cubs hall of fame shortstop Ernie Banks. Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, will become the epicenter of the PGA TOUR for the next two weeks as it will host the Workday Charity Open followed by the Memorial Tournament. The John Deere Classic usually takes place this week but has been put on hiatus until 2021.

The Workday Charity Open at Muirfield Village Golf Club will feature a field of 157 players and a purse of $6.2 million ($1.116 million/500 FedExCup points for the winner) to kick off the fortnight. Now stretching to 7,456 yards (Par-72), MVGC has added six new fairway bunkers and three new teeing grounds to add to the challenge and deviate from the norm.

Tournament Director Dan Sullivan remarked last month that there will be a “clear distinction” between the two events. Tiger Woods has said over the years that these are the fastest greens on TOUR (non-major) but that’s not going to be the case this week. Slower speeds on undulating greens will also bring in new pin placements that will be new to the entire field. This will be the fifth week running that the average green sizes play less than 5,200 square feet and the third week in a row putting on Bent/Poa.

While the teeing grounds and pin positions will rotate to alleviate heavy traffic, the course routing and challenge of avoiding 74 bunkers and 13 water hazards remains the same. The rough will be similar in length and species (Bluegrass) as it was last week in Detroit but will be a bit bushier for the 120-man invitational next week.

Recent Winners at MVGC

2019: Patrick Cantlay, -19

T11 or better in EVERY SINGLE CATEGORY minus driving distance; missed tying Tom Lehman’s tournament record by a shot as he closed with 64, the low round on Sunday. Weather will be 10-20 degrees warmer this year.

Notables: Kevin Streelman (4th) played his final 54 holes 13-under. … Marc Leishman (5th) posted all four rounds in the red. … Hideki Matsuyama, the 2014 champ, signed for 64 on Saturday. … 2017 champ Jason Dufner and Jordan Spieth shared seventh while Bud Cauley, Emiliano Grillo and Billy Horschel rounded out the top 10 (T9). … Only the top eight were 10-under or lower.

2018: Bryson DeChambeau, -15 (not entered)

 Notables: Byeong-Hun An and Kyle Stanley were the victims of a two-hole playoff. … Cantlay played in the final group and missed the playoff by a shot. … Joaquin Niemann (T6) co-led with Stanley after 36 holes. … Niemann and Matsuyama (T13) opened with 65 to share the 18-hole lead. … 2010 champ Justin Rose (T6) also put all four rounds in the red. … Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas and Patrick Rodgers (T8) rounded out the top 10. … Top 22 players were 10-under or lower.

2017: Jason Dufner, -15

Came from four shots off the lead to win by three over Fowler. … Ball-striking clinic as he led the field in GIR, SG: Tee to Green and SG: Approach. … Set the 36-hole record opening 65-65. … Posted 77 in Round 3 and still won comfortably.

Notables: Thomas and Matt Kuchar (T4) nipped Stanley, Bubba Watson and James Hahn (T6) for the last spots in the top five. … Only three players 10-under or better. … Dufner, born in Cleveland, joined Jack Nicklaus as the only Ohio natives to win the event.

The following should give you a decent road map on who understands the routing at MVGC. Next week, with the Memorial proper, I’ll dig deeper into the course horses when rough and slick greens return.

Key stat leaders


Top golfers in each statistic on the 2019-2020 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week.

  * – Top 10 since 2015

 Strokes-Gained: Approach the Green

1  *Marc Leishman

3  Collin Morikawa

5  *Patrick Cantlay

6  *Hideki Matsuyama

7  *Justin Thomas

8  Viktor Hovland

10 *Gary Woodland (T4, 2016)

13 Russell Henley

13 Joel Dahmen

13 *Emiliano Grillo

18 Corey Conners

19 *Joaquin Niemann

20 *Jim Furyk (T5, 2015; 2002 winner)

21 Tom Hoge

22 Matthew NeSmith

23 Cameron Tringale

24 Harold Varner III

25 Russell Knox

Putting: Birdie-or-Better Percentage

2  *Patrick Reed (T8, 2016)

4  *Justin Thomas

5  *Patrick Cantlay

11 *Justin Rose

12 *Jordan Spieth

13 Cameron Champ

14 Scottie Scheffler

17 *JB Holmes (T4, 2016)

21 Sebastian Munoz

22 Vaughn Taylor

23 Bronson Burgoon

25 Charley Hoffman

 Par-4 scoring

 4  *Justin Thomas

5  Xander Schauffele

6  *Patrick Cantlay

8  Brandt Snedeker

8  Adam Hadwin

10 *Patrick Reed

10 Joel Dahmen

10 Scottie Scheffler

15 *Bubba Watson

15 Gary Woodland

15 Harry Higgs

15 *Hideki Matsuyama

15 Sungjae Im

25 *Matt Kuchar

Ohio Connections Entered

 Ryan Armour (Ohio State; born in Akron)

Jason Day (Westerville resident)

Jason Dufner (born in Akron)

Jim Herman (University of Cincinnati; born in Cincinnati)

Bo Hoag (Ohio State; born in Columbus)

Mackenzie Hughes (Kent State University)

Jason Kokrak (Xavier University; grew up in Cleveland)


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