Preview: Workday Charity Open

His words, not mine!

Workday Charity Open

Muirfield Village Golf Club

Dublin, Ohio

Yards: (per official scorecard): 7,456
Par: 72; (36-36)
Greens: Bent/Poa; 5,000 square feet on average.
Stimpmeter: 12′ max
Rough: Kentucky bluegrass mix at 3.5″.
Bunkers/Water Hazards 74/13
Architect(s): Jack Nicklaus (1974)
Purse: $6.2 million; $1.116 million and 500 FedExCup points (winner).
Defending Champion: –NEW EVENT–
Fact of the Week: Field of 157 as Chase Koepka was added. Koepka MQ for Travelers but WD for COVID-19 precautions.
Fact of the Week II: John Deere Classic is taking a one year hiatus and will return during this week next year for its 50th event.

 

2019-2020 Season Winners

*- First-time winner

**- First-time winner AND rookie winner

Event Winner
   
A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier *- Joaquin Niemann
Sanderson Farms Championship *- Sebastian Munoz
Safeway Open Cameron Champ
Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Kevin Na
Houston Open *-Lanto Griffin
CJ CUP AT NINE BRIDGES Justin Thomas
ZOZO Championship Tiger Woods
WGC-HSBC Champions Rory McIlroy
Bermuda Championship Brendon Todd
Mayakoba Golf Classic Brendon Todd (2)
The RSM Classic *-Tyler Duncan
Hero World Challenge Henrik Stenson
Sentry Tournament of Champions Justin Thomas (2)
Sony Open Cameron Smith
The American Express Andrew Landry
Farmers Insurance Open Marc Leishman
Waste Management Phoenix Open Webb Simpson
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Nick Taylor
The Genesis Invitational Adam Scott
WGC-Mexico Championship Patrick Reed
The Honda Classic *-Sungjae Im
Arnold Palmer Invitational Tyrrell Hatton
THE PLAYERS Championship Abandoned due to COVID-19, no winner
Charles Schwab Challenge Daniel Berger
RBC Heritage Webb Simpson (2)
Travelers Championship Dustin Johnson
Rocket Mortgage Classic Bryson DeChambeau

 

Horses for Courses publishes at PGATOUR.COM Tuesdays. It’s a look who has played well here recently so I suggest reading it as I won’t replicate all of the information here.

 

Recent Event Winners at MVGC (read: Memorial)

Year Player Notes
2019 Patrick Cantlay, -19 Closed with 64 to come from three shots off the lead.
2018 Bryson DeChambeau, -15 Defeated Ben An and Kyle Stanley in a playoff. Not entered this week.
2017 Jason Dufner, -15 Opened 65-65 to set 36-hole record; lost the lead with 77 on Saturday; won by three.
2016 William McGirt, -15 Won a playoff over Jon Curran; only TOUR win. Not entered.
2015 David Lingmerth, -15 Won a playoff over Justin Rose; only TOUR win. Not entered.
2014 Hideki Matsuyama,   -13 Won a playoff over Kevin Na.
2013 Matt Kuchar, -12 Held off Kevin Chappell by two.
2012 Tiger Woods, -9 Highest winning score this decade. Not entered.
2011 Steve Stricker, -16 Kuchar was second, one back.
2010 Justin Rose, -18 First TOUR win; beat Fowler by three.

 

Facts and Figures (Memorial):

Tournament Record: 268; Tom Lehman (1994)
Course Record: 61; John Huston (1996)
Defending Champion(last): Woods
Multiple Winners Entered: n/a
First-time – TOUR Rose, Matsuyama, Lingmerth and McGirt this decade.
First-time – Event (last time) Matsuyama
Low Rounds 2019: 64; Cantlay, Matsuyama.
Youngest Winner: 22; Matsuyama.
Oldest Winner: 47; Kenny Perry, 2008.
Odd Fact: Watch the weather. EVERY YEAR it seems there’s a delay.
Odd Fact II: Only five rounds OVER PAR from the top 21 finishers last year.

 

Quick thoughts:

Field of 157 (good job letting Chase Koepka back in) will face MVGC on consecutive weeks, if invited. This week $6.2 million while next week will be time and a half. Course form, to a degree (routing, familiarity with the area, knowing where to miss) will be in play this week regardless of the setup of the grounds.

Good News, Bad News:

Of the OWGR top 20, 11 are in action this week and I would assume we’ll add a few more (DeChambeau, Woods) next week. NO fans in the stands for either event as we continue our patience. Thank goodness for TV.

Changes in Latitude, Changes in Altitude:

Week five running on smallish greens so that’s not going to require an adjustment. Same hot weather, same bent/poa greens but a different test this week. Jack’s design will give plenty of room to swing it but misses come with trouble. Rounds over par don’t work at Memorial and surely won’t this week with slower greens and lesser rough.

So What? So Let’s Dance!

Four more Par-5 holes! Time to swing it!

Acres of Fairway
Last 5 weeks:
 
Colonial 24
Hilton Head 22
Travelers 26
MVGC 28
Detroit: 30

 

Course setup is all the talk this week as the powers that be will ramp up Stimp and rough as the week progresses.  Six new fairway bunkers and three new tee boxes will come into play over the fortnight. The threat of 13 water hazards will keep the attention but if there’s not any wind, it shouldn’t bother too much. Keeping Bent/Poa healthy this time of year takes water so the greens will expand with watering. They’re difficult but perhaps not as much at 11 feet. Can’t let them get slick THIS week! Jack doesn’t make it easier the closer you get to the flag so any previous reps on the greens will help this week.

Those who need a bit more room off the tee should be smiling this week as they will find it. Crooked, as it should be, should be penalized, but at least the rough will be manageable.

The “Augusta of the North” connects the dots for me when splitting hairs, more so next week, but it’s something.

Heat Check: Last Week

Par Breakers SG: Tee-to-Green SG: Approach
     
Matthew Wolff 31 01 Viktor Hovland 01 Henrik Norlander
Cameron Champ 22 02 Henrik Norlander 02 KH Lee
Mark Hubbard 22 03 Hideki Matsuyama 03 Hudson Swafford
Hideki Matsuyama 22 05 Ryan Armour 04 Ryan Armour
JJ Spaun 22 08 Harold Varner III 05 Viktor Hovland
  09 KH Lee 07 Hideki Matsuyama
  10 Matthew Wolff 11 Brian Stuard
  12 Hudson Swafford 12 JJ Spaun

 

Patrick Cantlay: Knocked the rust off with T11 at Travelers as he arrives with his 69.25 scoring average in 12 rounds; 33-under on this track the last two seasons.

Justin Rose: Dropped everything during the break and began T3-T14 before MC in Hartford; spiritual home is MVGC as he picked up his first TOUR win here in 2010 plus six other top 10s.

Hideki Matsuyama: Getting closer as the rust dissipates shown by T21 last week with 22 birdies; should be more comfortable here as a former winner plus 64 last year and 65 the year before.

Justin Thomas: Always mentions this as a home game; all-or-nothing in his last four trips (top 10 or mc); top 10 SG: Off and Approach and makes a shit ton of birdies.

Brooks Koepka: Signs were pointing in the proper direction before Ricky Elliott picked up COVID-19 and shut down the entire fam; won’t have any problem turning this place over and racking up birdies.

Ryan Armour: Ohio native is 3-3 since the restart with T6 at Travelers and played in the final group last week in Detroit for T4. Top 25 the last two years.

Adam Hadwin: Also 3-3 and T4 last week.

Viktor Hovland: 5 straight and the all four after the restart T23 or better. Hasn’t found a top 10, yet. Only DeChambeau is more under-par for the restart.

Marc Leishman: Eats like a fat guy (me) at a buffet here; 4 of the last 5 here are T15 or better including solo fifth last year and T5 in 2015. Absolutely no form to lean on but he leads the TOUR in SG: Approach.

Rickie Fowler: The relationship with the Nicklaus family is no secret and he’s obviously trying to please. Runner up on debut in 2010 but it’s the last three seasons (T14-T8-T2) have caught my eye. T12 last week with only four bogeys/one double suggests he might be turning a corner.

Bubba Watson/Patrick Reed/Jordan Spieth: Augusta angle plays here for all and they all match inconsistent form. Eyes fit and all that.

Joel Dahmen: Of his last six, five have cashed in the top 25. Bent doesn’t hurt either.

Matthew Fitzpatrick: I like the shake up with Bones now on the bag for the next two weeks. Fresh perspective and a billion rounds under his belt here.

Kevin Streelman: Fantastic convergence of second last time out (Travelers, where he always plays well) to a place he was solo fourth last year, his best of an EXCELLENT five-year run (4-T44-T13-T8-T18).

Gary Woodland: Too much talent to lull me to sleep and might even find a decent price on him after MC-T62 in his last two; only MC twice in nine visits.

Matthew Wolff: Did everything but win last week; 31 par breakers suggests a quick turnaround is in store. Not much to fix.

Xander Schauffele: Man crush. Plenty of west coasters do well here. T14 last year in second visit.

 

Digging Deeper

Cameron Champ: Bombs away. Birdies for days. T12 last week and T14 at “tight” Colonial.

Matt Kuchar: I can’t ignore his history here (T13 or better in 10 of his last 12) but I’m going to be more interested next week if he finds something this week. Slow restart.

Kyle Stanley: Had him +1000 top 20 at Travelers when he cashed T21 so I’m not bitter. MC last year but was preceded by T2-T6-74-3rd. Hard to fake that. One bad round in his last eight suggests he’s on schedule again this year.

Collin Morikawa: He’s not afraid of making birdies or painting GIR so I think he’ll settle right in this week on debut.

Mark Hubbard: Cashed in all four starts with T12 last week the best of the four. Remember T9 at TPC Scottsdale and T11 Honda before the break. Gap bridged.

Ian Poulter: Cashed in last 5 on TOUR and four of last five T32 or better; first visit since 2009.

Maverick McNealy: T8 in Detroit was his second top 10 of 2020 (T5 Pebble); cashed in 14 of his last 15 on TOUR.

Troy Merritt: T8 last week is the highlight of three straight; opened 69-66 here last year before fading on the weekend to T17; led field in bogey avoidance in Detroit with just one bogey and one double.

Ben An: Should catch fire here as he annually does; last four T25 or better with P2 in 2018 and T11 in 2016 as the highlights.

Joaquin Niemann: T27 and T4 last two years suggests he’s quite fond of MVGC. Makes all of his money tee to green.

Richy Werenski: Landed in the top 25 in two of his last four, no MC in that streak.

Rory Sabbatini: MC last week after a quick break but lands softly here (10/12).

Patrick Rodgers: Of 14 rounds five are 68 or better; T8 last visit.

Brian Stuard: Hasn’t MC in six on TOUR or five straight here. Only downside no big paydays on either.

Jason Dufner: Knows how to get it around here and has been making plenty of cuts.

Emiliano Grillo: Course horse here on slick greens. Simply can’t putt right now.

Jhonattan Vegas: T27 in four of his last five, all paydays.

 

Ludicrous Speed:

Henrik Norlander, Luke List, Bo Hoag, Bud Cauley, Jonathan Byrd, Keith Mitchell

 

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

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