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BlogMemorial Preview and Picks

Memorial Tournament

May 29 – June 1, 2014

Muirfield Village G.C.

Dubin,, Ohio

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,392

Purse: $6.2 million

with $1,116,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Matt Kuchar

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 26 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with seven players from the top-ten: #1 Adam Scott, #4 Matt Kuchar, #5 Bubba Watson, #6 Rory McIlroy, #7 Jason Day, #9 Justin Rose and #10 Jordan Spieth. The other top 50 players are #11 Phil Mickelson, #12 Jim Furyk, #14 Dustin Johnson, #15 Jason Dufner, #16 Luke Donald, #19 Steve Stricker, #20 Charl Schwartzel, #23 Keegan Bradley, #24 Hideki Matsuyama, #26 Patrick Reed, #34 Bill Haas, #37 Rickie Fowler, #38 Hunter Mahan, #40 Ryan Moore, #42 Gary Woodland, #45 Matt Jones, #47 Russell Henley, #48 Chris Kirk and #49 Matt Every.  Last year this event had 33 top-50 players so their are seven less playing this year.

The field includes 17 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2014.  Those players are #2 Bubba Watson, #3 Matt Kuchar, #4 Dustin Johnson, #5 Jordan Spieth, #6 Patrick Reed, #8 Chris Kirk, #9 Brendon Todd, #11 Jim Furyk, #13 Matt Every, #14 Adam Scott, #16 Ryan Moore, #18 Kevin Stadler, #19 Gary Woodland, #20 Kevin Na,  #22 Charles Howell III, #24 Will MacKenzie, and #25 Matt Jones.

The field includes 17 players in the top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list. Those players are #2 Bubba Watson, #3 Dustin Johnson, #4 Matt Kuchar, #5 Jordan Spieth, #6 Patrick Reed, #7 Jim Furyk, #9 Chris Kirk, #11 Brendon Todd, #13 Adam Scott, #14 Ryan Moore,  #14 Matt Every, #20 Gary Woodland, #21 Jason Day, #22 Kevin Stadler, #23 J.B. Holmes,  #24 Rory McIlroy and #25 Will MacKenzie.

The field includes 17 players that have won 19 events on the PGA Tour this year: Ryan Moore (CIMB); Dustin Johnson (WGC-HSBC Champions); Chris Kirk (McGladrey Classic); Patrick Reed (Humana & Cadillac); Scott Stallings (Farmers); Kevin Stadler (WM Phoenix); Bubba Watson (Northern Trust & Masters); Jason Day (Accenture Match Play); Russell Henley (Honda); Chesson Hadley (Puerto Rico); Matt Every (Palmer); Matt Jones (Shell Houston); Matt Kuchar (RBC Heritage); Seung-Yul Noh (Zurich); J.B. Holmes (Wells Fargo); Brendon Todd (HP Nelson) and Adam Scott (Colonial).

The field includes 8 past champions: Matt Kuchar (2013), Steve Stricker (2011), Justin Rose (2010), K.J. Choi (2007), Carl Pettersson (2006), Ernie Els (2004), Jim Furyk (2002) and Vijay Singh (1997).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Memorial field is our performance chart listed by average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the Memorial in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Memorial.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Memorial Tournament

Player Crowne Plaza BMW PGA Byron Nelson Open Espana The Players Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Volvo China RBC Heritage Maybank Malaysia Masters Shell Houston
Rory McIlroy
(373 pts)
DNP Win
(198)
DNP DNP T6
(90)
T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T8
(33.33)
T7
(18.33)
Jim Furyk
(277.33 pts)
T51
(0)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(150)
2
(66.67)
DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP
Matt Kuchar
(262.5 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T7
(55)
DNP T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T5
(46.67)
2
(33.33)
Justin Rose
(261.5 pts)
DNP 25
(37.5)
DNP DNP T4
(120)
5
(46.67)
T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP T14
(24)
DNP
Jordan Spieth
(257.67 pts)
T14
(36)
DNP T37
(13)
DNP T4
(120)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP T2
(66.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Luke Donald
(221.67 pts)
DNP T3
(135)
DNP DNP T38
(18)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T24
(8.67)
Brendon Todd
(205.67 pts)
T5
(70)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T38
(8)
DNP DNP T43
(2.33)
Adam Scott
(174 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP T38
(18)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(24)
DNP
Gary Woodland
(150.83 pts)
DNP DNP T7
(55)
DNP T11
(58.5)
T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T26
(16)
DNP
Marc Leishman
(146.17 pts)
T21
(29)
DNP T3
(90)
DNP T23
(40.5)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Chris Kirk
(140.17 pts)
T14
(36)
DNP DNP DNP T13
(55.5)
T30
(13.33)
DNP DNP T27
(15.33)
DNP T20
(20)
T65
(0)
J.B. Holmes
(133 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
Win
(88)
T11
(26)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
David Hearn
(123.67 pts)
T21
(29)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(90)
T44
(4)
T34
(10.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Kevin Chappell
(112.33 pts)
T10
(40)
DNP DNP DNP T26
(36)
T11
(26)
T34
(10.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T31
(6.33)
Ben Martin
(109.67 pts)
T21
(29)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T50
(0.67)
T15
(23.33)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Freddie Jacobson
(104.33 pts)
T3
(90)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP 64
(0)
DNP T29
(14)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T19
(10.33)
Charles Howell III
(103.67 pts)
DNP DNP T3
(90)
DNP CUT
(-15)
T18
(21.33)
T34
(10.67)
DNP T53
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Rory Sabbatini
(98.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T45
(5)
DNP T38
(18)
T8
(33.33)
T17
(22)
DNP T9
(30)
DNP DNP DNP
Jason Dufner
(98.33 pts)
2
(100)
DNP T48
(2)
DNP T48
(3)
DNP DNP T54
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Bubba Watson
(91 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T48
(3)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP
Bill Haas
(90 pts)
T21
(29)
DNP DNP DNP T26
(36)
T44
(4)
DNP DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP T20
(20)
T37
(4.33)
Brendon De Jonge
(87.33 pts)
T30
(20)
DNP T29
(21)
DNP 70
(0)
T6
(40)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T37
(8.67)
T37
(4.33)
Mike Weir
(87.33 pts)
DNP DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP T57
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T44
(4)
CUT
(-3.33)
Robert Streb
(86.67 pts)
T38
(12)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T23
(18)
T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Nicholas Thompson
(85.67 pts)
T3
(90)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP DNP T24
(8.67)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Memorial Tournament

Player Crowne Plaza BMW PGA Byron Nelson Open Espana The Players Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Volvo China RBC Heritage Maybank Malaysia Masters Shell Houston
D.A. Points
(-41.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-6.67)
T52
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Woody Austin
(-38.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T53
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Lucas Glover
(-36.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-6.67)
T62
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T42
(5.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Will MacKenzie
(-35 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Scott Stallings
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T65
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Trevor Immelman
(-28.33 pts)
T45
(5)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T74
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Luke Guthrie
(-28.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP 70
(0)
DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP T80
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Nick Watney
(-27.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-6.67)
T75
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T44
(4)
DNP
Carl Pettersson
(-27 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T45
(5)
DNP CUT
(-15)
T69
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T31
(6.33)
Patrick Reed
(-27 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T48
(1.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

What a great week of golf last week

Nice to see two marquee players finally winning in Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy.  After a year of faceless champions having these two win shows that things have not completely changed in golf.  As I have said all year, these guys have to give themselves more chances to win.  Since January, Scott has played 8 times while McIlroy has played 10 times but with this new wrap-around schedule both are way down the money and FedEx Cup lists.  It’s too bad that the schedule is so overwhelmed in the coming months, over the course of the next 18 weeks we have three majors, a WGC event, four playoff events and a Ryder Cup.  So that is nine weeks of really great golf and I haven’t included this weeks Memorial, Tiger’s Quick Loans National and the Canadian Open.  The big question will be if this develops into a trend of marquee winners from now on.

What about Rory and not getting married

Amazing how you can annouce breaking off your engagement on Wednesday and win the biggest event on the European Tour on Sunday.  Have to think that this breakup will benefit McIlroy’s golf game which has been very inconsistent since his engagement to Caroline Wozniacki.  For McIlroy the new found freedom turned into a victory but for Wozniacki she was a first round loser being bounced out of the French Open by Yanina Wickmayer.  On the other end of the spectrum Adam Scott gets married on April 17th and four weeks later is in the winners circle.  After years of being know as the most eligible bachelor in golf, to rumors that he was negotiating to be in the next “Bachelor” in ABC’s reality series it’s time for him to settle down as he and Swedish architect Marie Kojzar tied the knot in the Bahamas.  It will be interesting to see the paths both of these guys will take with and without marriage.

Things you need to know about the Memorial

This is the 39th annual Memorial Tournament. The first one was played in 1976 and it has always been played at Muirfield Village.  There are close ties between the Memorial Tournament and Jack Nicklaus. The tournament was a long-time vision of Nicklaus, who grew up playing the famous Scioto Country Club, which hosted the 1926 U.S. Open.  But the course wasn’t large enough to hold a major championship so Nicklaus built Muirfield Village with that in mind.  In some ways the Memorial mirrors the Masters beacuse it’s the tournament that Nicklaus always thought was the best run on a great course.

The tournament got its name because every year a different golfer was supposed to be recognized for their contribution to the game of golf. The first Memorial Tournament honoree was Bobby Jones in 1976. Beginning in 2002, two honorees were selected annually, a male and female golfer. The 2014 honorees for the Memorial Tournament will be Annika Sorenstam and for the journalism award Jaime Diaz.

Course information:

  • Muirfield Village Golf Club
  • Dublin, Ohio
  • 7,392 yards     Par 36-36–72

 

Muirfield Village has a 76.9 rating and slope rating of 153 from the championship tees. The course is very private. The tees and Fairways are Bentgrass Poa Annua while the rough is Kentucky Buegrass with ryegrass and fescue. The greens are bentgrass.

In 2013, Muirfield Village was the 6th hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 73.256 average which is a shot and a quarter over par.

During the 1966 Masters, Jack Nicklaus told some of his closet friends that he wanted to bring a major championship to the Columbus area.  Unfortunately,the best course in town, Scioto Country Club, was not big enough to hold a tournament that Nicklaus envisioned.  At the time he was just getting into course designing so he knew just enough to be dangerous on the subject.  He also envisioned that his course would have some of the same characteristics that Augusta National had, plus Nicklaus wanted the event to mirror Augusta.

After the Masters, Nicklaus and his trusted friends made secert site surveys around the Columbus area and found the site he thought was perfect, on the Northwestern part of town.  In 1967 with his own money, Nicklaus started buying the land that would be Muirfield Village.

By 1970, Nicklaus realized that he had a future in building golf courses. He started his own company and in 1972, under the supervision of Golden Bear Inc., construction began in Dublin, Ohio. The project encountered many delays, including exorbitant amounts of rain that ultimately postponed the completion of the project until late 1973. Jack Nicklaus played the inaugural round of golf at Muirfield in October of 1973. Fittingly, his round was marred by heavy rain storms. The course officially opened on May 24, 1974 with an exhibition match between Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf. Nicklaus shot a 66, which stood as the course record until 1979.

Over the years, Muirfield Village has racked up numerous prestigious awards, but the most important accolade that Muirfield Village gets every year is when it is voted one of the five best sites by PGA Tour players, not only because the course is great, but because how well the players are pampered here.  It goes beyond even the PGA Tour rules.  It’s the only tournament on Tour that bans equipment manufacturers, tournament representatives and the media from the practice facilities and locker rooms.

When Nicklaus built the course in the ’70s he had championships in mind and of course, a yearly PGA Tour event.  Along with the Memorial, which got started in 1976, the course has held just about every other major tournament, except for a U.S. Open or a PGA Championship.  Other championships that have been held at Muirfield include the 1986 U.S. Junior Amateur, the 1987 Ryder Cup Matches, the 1992 U.S. Amateur, the 1995 Wendy’s Three-Tour Challenge, the 1998 Soleim Cup and last year the 2013 Presidents Cup

The par 72 course has 73 bunkers, with water coming into play on 11 holes. In general, Muirfield Village plays a long, challenging 7,392 yards. With a course rating of 76.9 and a slope rating of 153, it is one of the most difficult venues on Tour.<P>

Nicklaus didn’t just design this course with the golfer in mind; he was one of the first designers to account for the fan. The 220-acre venue strategically incorporates hills and mounds that allow fans to look downward upon most of the action. This set up mirrors most traditional stadium-seating arrangements found at major sporting events.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Memorial:

Key stat for the winner:

This is one of those courses that will get you ready for a U.S. Open. As a matter of fact it would be a perfect Open venue. It has the length, tight fairways with three-inch plus rough, tree line and fast undulating greens. Just about everything that you would see at a U.S. Open is at Muirfield Village.  It always ranks as one of the toughest courses on Tour.  Last year it was played in perfect weather conditions and was 6th toughest course with a 73.677 average.  This week is a bit different as it’s raining on Tuesday and Wednesday with some rain on Thursday morning.  The course will be for the taking as it will be very soft.  For the rest of the week the weather will improve each day with Sunday being a perfect day with 85 degree temperatures.

Another key:

Those that do well in majors, do well at Muirfield Village.  Of the 28 different champions of the Memorial they have accounted for 472 wins on the PGA Tour while 16 have won a total of 65 major championships. What’s more, 14 of the last 20 Memorial champions have been a winner of a major championship.

Tournaments that can claim having the most major winners (Since 1976)

  • 28 – Hyundai Tournament of Champions
  • 26 – Players Championship
  • 24 – Memorial Tournament
  • 22 – Verizon Heritage
  • 22 – Farmers Insurance
  • In the history of the Memorial only two leaders after the first round has won (Ernie Els in 2004 and Justin Rose in 2010). 13 second-round leaders have won and 19 third-round leader have won.  Since 1994, only six 54-hole leaders have failed to win (2001, 2002, 2007,  2008, 2009 & 2010).  Last year Matt Kuchar was 7th after the first round then was 4th after the second round and led after the third round.
  • Ten of the last 17 winners were in the top four in greens hit. In 2009 Tiger Woods was T3rd in greens hit while Justin Rose was T13th in 2010, Steve Stricker was T30th in 2011, Tiger Woods was T1st last year and Matt Kuchar was also 1st last year.
  • Overpowering the par fives is crucial. The last 13 winners have played the par 5s in a average of 9-under, in 2011 Justin Rose was 8 under while Stricker was 6 under in 2011, Tiger Woods was 8 under in 2012 and Matt Kuchar was 7 under last year.
  • Accuracy is key to winning at Memorial, eight of the last 11 winners have been in the top-10 in driving accuracy, which proves the point that you have to drive the ball well at Muirfield Village.  In 2009 Tiger Woods was 2nd while in 2010 Justin Rose was T10th.  In 2011 Steve Stricker kept the tradition up as he was T3rd but in 2012 Tiger Woods broke the tradition when he was T14th in driving making him the first player out of the top-ten in driving since Ernie Els won in 2004.  Even worst things got bad in 2013 as Matt Kuchar was T37th in driving accurany.
  • In its 38-year history there have only been three playoffs, the last coming in 1992.  The next year (1993) was the last one that had a dramatic finish when Paul Azinger holed out of the bunker on the final hole to win by one.  Since then every Memorial except for three (2005, ’07 and ’11) has been won by at least two shots or more.
  • Active tournaments that has the least amount of playoffs since 1976:
  • 3 – Memorial
  • 4 – Players championship
  • 6 – Justin Tiberlake
  • 6 – Honda Classic
  • 6 – Arnold Palmer Invitational
  • 7 – John Deere Classic
  • Only nine times in the history of the Memorial has a player shot four rounds in the 60s with seven of them winning. Steve Stricker did it in 2011 but the the last time that happened before that was in 2005 when Bart Bryant prevailed.

Who to watch for at the Memorial Tournament

Best Bets:

Jim Furyk

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T21 T13 CUT T10 2 T39 T23 T18 T8 T24 Win

He is ready to shine, course is up his alley, his game has come along look for this to be the week.

Rory McIlroy

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T57 CUT 5 T10

Just think he is knocking on the door of a great year, look for him to content.

Matt Kuchar

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
Win T2 T8 T5 T10 T13 CUT T32

May not of made the cut last week at Colonial, forget about that because I can see him playing good this week.

Best of the rest:

Adam Scott

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T13 T46 T33 CUT T5 T4 T52 T29

It’s showing that he can play anywhere without problems. Yes he hasn’t played well at the Memorial the last four starts, but he did have a T4th in 2006 and T5th in 2007 so look for a great week.

Justin Rose

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T8 8 CUT Win CUT T2 T14 T75 4

Can’t put my finger on it, but he should be playing better. I can see him in contention this week, look for it.

Dustin Johnson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT T19 4 T33 T14 68

Haven’t heard much on him since his win in China, bet we hear from him this week.

Solid contenders

Steve Stricker

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T50 Win T17 T27 CUT

We have been guarded on him all here, he just hasn’t played a lot. I now see that it may be time to think about him, has shown some promise, just hasn’t been very consistent. That could change this week.

Ryan Moore

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T13 T38 T22 T5 CUT T10 2 T31

Course is good for him, only problem his game is not in that great of shape. But a lot can be done in a matter of two great practice sessions so don’t give up the ship on Ryan.

Jordan Spieth

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T63

Has become a big mystery on when he will play well and won’t, I am luke warm on him because I think his mind is more on Pinehurst than this week.

Jason Dufner

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT CUT

Looking to get back into the winners circle, came close last week this could be a perfect course for him, forget the fact that he missed two of two cuts because that happened four years ago.

Long shots that could come through:

Freddie Jacobson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T52 CUT CUT T5 T17

Played well last week in Colonial, I can see it spilling over to this week.

Russell Henley

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T6

Was T6th last year, kind of like him as a longshot.

Will MacKenzie

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T10 T11

Has played in this event twice in 2007 and 2009 with a T11th and T10th. So he must know something of the course.

Nicholas Thompson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT T58 CUT

Another of those to watch due to his great finish at Colonial.

What’s on tap for Phil this week???

Phil Mickelson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
WD T13 T5 T20 WD T4 T9

Has not been that great of a year for him, lot has to do with him looking forward to Pinehurst. Hear that he is totally involved with making sure he does the best to get his game ready for the U.S. Open, we will see how that is going this week. Nobody knows if he will continue the bad play or start to shine.

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