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BlogMemorial Preview and Picks

Memorial Tournament

June 1st – 4th, 2017

Muirfield Village G.C.

Dubin, OH

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,392

Purse: $8.7 million

with $1,566,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
William McGirt

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 56 of the top 100 and 30 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with six players from the top-ten: #1 Dustin Johnson, #3 Jason Day, #4 Hideki Matsuyama, #6 Jordan Spieth, #9 Jon Rahm and #10 Adam Scott. The other top 50 players are #12 Rickie Fowler, #13 Justin Thomas, #15 Patrick Reed, #18 Matt Kuchar, #20 Charl Schwartzel, #21 Brooks Koepka, #22 Kevin Kisner, #23 Phil Mickelson, #26 Kevin Chappell, #28 Rafael Cabrera Bello, #31 Tommy Fleetwood, #32 Siwoo Kim, #34 Bubba Watson, #35 Russell Knox, #36 Marc Leishman, #37 Emiliano Grillo, #38 Ryan Moore, #41 Pat Perez, #43 Ross Fisher, #44 Bill Haas, #46 Billy Horschel, #47 J.B. Holmes, #49 Adam Hadwin and #50 William McGirt.

Last year this event had 29 top-50 players.

The field includes 19 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2017.  Those players are #1 Dustin Johnson, #2 Hideki Matsuyama, #3 Justin Thomas, #4 Jon Rahm, #5 Jordan Spieth, #6 Pat Perez, #7 Kevin Kisner, #8 Adam Hadwin, #9 Brian Harman, #10 Rickie Fowler, #11 Brendan Steele, #15 Marc Leishman, #16 Billy Horschel, #17 Brooks Koepka, #19 Mackenzie Hughes, #20 Gary Woodland, #21 Hudson Swafford, #22 Si Woo Kim, and #24 Cameron Smith.

The 6 top 25 players not in the field are: #12 Sergio Garcia, #13 Justin Rose, #14 Russell Healer, #1 Wesley Bryan, #23 Paul Casey and #25 Charles Howell III.

The field includes 20 players in the top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list. Those players are #1 Dustin Johnson, #2 Hideki Matsuyama, #3 Jon Rahm, #4 Justin Thomas, #5 Jordan Spieth, #6 Pat Perez, #7 Kevin Kisner, #9 Adam Hadwin, #10 Brian Harman, #12 Rickie Fowler, #13 Marc Leishman, #14 Brendan Steele, #15 Si Woo Kim, #16 Russell Henley, #17 Billy Horschel, #18 Brooks Koepka, #19 Gary Woodland, #22 Mackenzie Hughes, #23 Bill Haas, and #25 Kevin Chappell.

The field includes 9 past champions: William McGirt (2016), David Lingmerth (2015), Hideki Matsuyama (2014), Matt Kuchar (2013), Steve Stricker (2011), K.J. Choi (2007), Carl Pettersson (2006), Jim Furyk (2002) and Vijay Singh (1997).

The field includes 21 players that have won 26 events on the PGA Tour this year: Brendan Steele (Safeway Open), Justin Thomas (CIMB Classic, SBS Tournament of Champions, Sony Open in Hawaii), Hideki Matsuyama (WGC-HSBC Champions, Waste Management Phoenix Open), Rod Pampling (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), Pat Perez (OHL Classic at Mayakoba), Mackenzie Hughes (The RSM Classic), Hudson Swafford (CareerBuilder Challenge), Jon Rahm (Farmers Insurance Open), Jordan Spieth (AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am), Dustin Johnson (Genesis Open, WGC-Mexico Championship, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play), Rickie Fowler (The Honda Classic), Adam Hadwin (Valspar Championship), Marc Leishman (Arnold Palmer Invitational), D.A. Points (Puerto Rico Open), Kevin Chappell (Valero Texas Open), Cameron Smith/Jonas Blixt (Zurich Classic of New Orleans), Brian Harman (Wells Fargo Championship), Si Woo Kim (The Players), Billy Horschel (AT&T Byron Nelson), Kevin Kisner (Dean & DeLuca Invitational).

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 Dean & DeLuca Invitational BMW PGA Championship AT&T Byron Nelson The Players Championship Wells Fargo Championship Zurich Classic of New Orleans Volvo China Open Valero Texas Open Shenzhen International Masters Shell Houston Open WGC-Dell Match Play Championship RBC Heritage
Jon Rahm
(232 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP T72
(0)
4
(53.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T27
(15.33)
T10
(13.33)
2
(50)
DNP
Kevin Tway
(228.67 pts)
T18
(32)
DNP T20
(30)
DNP T5
(46.67)
3
(60)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Dustin Johnson
(226.67 pts)
DNP DNP T13
(37)
T12
(57)
T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(66)
DNP
Kevin Kisner
(226.17 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP T56
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP T43
(4.67)
DNP T17
(16.5)
T11
(13)
Brooks Koepka
(213.83 pts)
DNP DNP T50
(1)
T16
(51)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP T9
(22.5)
DNP
Si Woo Kim
(201.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP Win
(198)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
WD
(-1.67)
T30
(10)
DNP
Ross Fisher
(193.5 pts)
DNP T9
(67.5)
DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP T6
(40)
DNP T3
(60)
T41
(6)
DNP T5
(35)
DNP
Brian Harman
(178.67 pts)
T7
(55)
DNP DNP T53
(0)
Win
(88)
T14
(24)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T9
(15)
Bud Cauley
(164 pts)
T41
(9)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T9
(15)
Matt Kuchar
(162.67 pts)
T12
(38)
DNP T9
(45)
82
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T40
(6.67)
DNP T4
(53.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T30
(10)
T11
(13)
Jordan Spieth
(161 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-15)
DNP 4
(53.33)
DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
CUT
(-3.33)
T30
(10)
DNP
Byeong Hun An
(153.67 pts)
DNP T24
(39)
T5
(70)
DNP T8
(33.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T40
(6.67)
DNP T33
(11.33)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP
Sean O’Hair
(148.67 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP T5
(70)
CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T49
(0.33)
DNP DNP
Kevin Chappell
(148 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T35
(22.5)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP T7
(36.67)
T44
(2)
T39
(5.5)
DNP
Danny Lee
(146 pts)
6
(60)
DNP T5
(70)
CUT
(-15)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T20
(10)
DNP T39
(3.67)
Charley Hoffman
(143.67 pts)
T24
(26)
DNP T40
(10)
T30
(30)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T40
(6.67)
DNP T22
(18.67)
T23
(9)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Kyle Stanley
(140.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T4
(120)
DNP T29
(14)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
DNP T59
(0)
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
(140.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(120)
T24
(17.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
T17
(16.5)
CUT
(-3.33)
Sung Kang
(139.67 pts)
T57
(0)
DNP T20
(30)
T30
(30)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP T11
(13)
Pat Perez
(136.5 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T22
(42)
T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP T17
(16.5)
T70
(0)
Adam Scott
(126 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(90)
T36
(9.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T9
(30)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Webb Simpson
(120.67 pts)
5
(70)
DNP DNP T16
(51)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T58
(0)
T11
(13)
Smylie Kaufman
(117.33 pts)
DNP DNP T35
(15)
T12
(57)
T5
(46.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T37
(8.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Billy Horschel
(116.33 pts)
T34
(16)
DNP Win
(132)
CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T55
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Steve Stricker
(115.17 pts)
T7
(55)
DNP DNP T41
(13.5)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP DNP DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Jason Day
(112 pts)
DNP DNP 2
(100)
T60
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP
Jason Dufner
(110.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T13
(37)
T60
(0)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP DNP DNP T33
(11.33)
T12
(12.67)
T51
(0)
T11
(13)
Phil Mickelson
(109.5 pts)
T29
(21)
DNP DNP T41
(13.5)
T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T22
(18.67)
T55
(0)
T5
(35)
DNP
Brendan Steele
(108.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(90)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T62
(0)
DNP T27
(15.33)
DNP T30
(10)
DNP
Cameron Smith
(106.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T29
(7)

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Dean & DeLuca Invitational BMW PGA Championship AT&T Byron Nelson The Players Championship Wells Fargo Championship Zurich Classic of New Orleans Volvo China Open Valero Texas Open Shenzhen International Masters Shell Houston Open WGC-Dell Match Play Championship RBC Heritage
Matt Every
(-50 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T65
(0)
DNP WD
(-1.67)
Steven Bowditch
(-46.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Greg Chalmers
(-45 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP 72
(0)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
C.T. Pan
(-41.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T44
(2)
Hunter Mahan
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T52
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Roberto Castro
(-33.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T56
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Anirban Lahiri
(-33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP DNP T72
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T44
(2)
Fabian Gomez
(-33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
75
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T44
(2)
Russell Knox
(-24.83 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T39
(5.5)
T11
(13)
Ryo Ishikawa
(-23.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T72
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

Tiger woes continue

Just two more weeks before the U.S. Open.  As I write this on Monday afternoon, one person that won’t be playing is Tiger Woods.  After what happened yesterday with Tiger getting arrested for DUI, it’s hard to believe that it’s been nine years since Tiger won his last major at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.  Woods recent problems came about when he was arrested at 3am in the morning.  First reports had Woods driving radically but now it seems that Woods had pulled over and was asleep at the wheel when police found his car in the right hand lane and right shoulder. His car was running and police said his speech was extremely slow and slurred.  Police also said that he did not know where he was coming from or how far from home he was. With that police arrested him and the traffic violation was filed that he was driving under the influence. The good news for Tiger, his breath test read .000 which meant he was not drinking.  He was booked into the Palm Beach County jail at 7:18 in the morning and released on his own recognizance at 10:50am.  He is scheduled to be arraigned on July 5th in a palm Beach County courtroom.  In a statement Tiger said that alcohol was not the reason for his arrest, he said it was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications.  Another thing was Tiger’s reaction, after the medications wore off Tiger was quick in taking full responsibility for his actions, probably one of the reasons that they released him with no bail and under his own recongnizance. Unfortunately everyone has seen the police mug shot in which Woods looks stunned and really bad, so a lot of people have jumped to conclusion over this.  Yes he shouldn’t of been driving, but for the world to think because of the photo (which I won’t post) he was drunk out of his mind it’s wrong.

Still you have to shake your head as the problems of Tiger keep on knocking on his door.  Between his personal problems with his wife that led to a divorce, then all of the injuries many wonder if Woods can ever return to golf, let alone win.  With his recent back surgery in April, the U.S. Open will be his sixth straight major missed.  In his last four majors he only made the cut once at the 2015 Masters and hasn’t realistically contended in a major since he finished T-6th at the 2013 British Open at Muirfield.  The sad thing is that you sit back and wonder if it can get any worst for Woods.  After playing at a God like level between 1996 and 2009, Woods life has been full of problems and you have to think that the chances of Tiger playing even close to the same level seems to slip away with each new trauma.  The really sad part of all this, Woods has more money to do whatever he wants to do and never has to worry about his financial future, but you have to wonder if he has a big hole in his life without golf.  Another really sad thing is that instead of looking toward the day that he could reclaim some portion of the game he use to have, we just wonder what other bad thing could happen to Tiger.  It’s a shame to see all of this happen and can only hope that something good can come about in the future.

Will they be ok for the U.S. Open?

Both Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose were planning on playing at the Memorial.  But Rory decided on Friday not to play to rest the ribs which have been sore while for Rose he withdrew on Monday because of recurring soreness in his back.  He played at the BMW PGA Championship outside of London and finished T-12th.  So maybe he just didn’t want to rush to Columbus.  Both are former U.S. Open champions and for all fantasy golf players you have to think about their chances at Erin Hills.  Both haven’t played bad, Rose lost the Masters in a playoff to Sergio Garcia while McIlroy has had a runner-up finish in the South African Open and then three top-tens in his five events he played since hurting his ribs.  So I guess we shouldn’t really panic over the withdrawals, that maybe they will help both of them to be more healthy and ready to go.

Things you need to know about the Memorial

  • This is the 42nd 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 is 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 2017 honorees for the Memorial Tournament will be Greg Norman, while Tony Lema, Ken Venturi and Harvie Ward are posthumous honorees. As for the journalism award, Golf Digest Jerry Tarde is the honoree.

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.
  • Last year Muirfield Village played to a 70.99 average and was the 36th hardest course on the PGA Tour.  In 2015 Muirfield Village was the 23rd hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 71.74 average.  Because of the course being soft with a lot of rain the week before and perfect conditions during the tournament, last year was the third year in a row that the average score was under par.  For comparision, in 2013, Muirfield Village was the 6th hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 73.256 average which is two and a quarter shots 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.
  • 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.

Let’s take a look at key stats that are important for those playing at Muirfield Village:

This is based on the most important stats for the Muirfield Village, based on data from last year’s Memorial and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2017.
Historically Muirfield Village had the reputation as a course to get ready for the U.S. Open. Many have said that the course could 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. That tradition will be spread through articles on the course and it won’t take long for the announcers in the commentary to bring this up.
But over the course of the last three years, things have changed. Muirfield has gone from a very feared course to one that is a layup. Between 2003 and 2013 the course played over par every year except in 2005 (71.93) and 2007 (71.49). After 2008 the course played hard, in 2008 it played to a scoring average of 74.40 ranking 5th hardest course for the year, in 2009 it was 73.42, ranking 6th. In 2012 it played to a 73.68 average and in 2013 it played to a 73.26 average with both years ranked 6th toughest. But then it dropped to 71.90 in 2014, ranked 29th and in 2015 it averaged 71.74 and ranked 23rd. Last year the course played to a 70.99 average, not only ranking 36th of the courses on the PGA Tour but more importantly the easiest the course has ever played in the 40 year history of the tournament. Hate to say it but Muirfield Village may be the victim that other courses on the PGA Tour and in golf have experienced, technology.
The shocking stats were what used to be it’s meat and potatoes, driving accuracy and greens in regulation. In 2014 it ranked the 38th hardest in driving accuracy and 21st in greens in regulation. In 2015 it jumped to 42nd in driving accuracy and 18th in greens in regulation while last year it was 42nd in driving accuracy and 25th in greens hit. There is a lot of reasons for this the last three years, between lot’s of rain before the tournament that made the course play very soft and lack of wind during the championship rounds. Another oddity the winners the last three years, Hideki Matsuyama, David Lingmerth and William McGirt were first-time winners on the PGA Tour, the last time the Memorial had a first time winner was in 1991 and before Matsuyama won in 2014 it only had two first time winners, Kenny Perry in 1991 and Keith Fergus in 1981. So it’s a freak of nature that in the first 38 years the event had only two first time winners and now has had three in a row. I’m not saying this is terribly bad, just that when conditions are easier it opens the course to more players winning, such as players that haven’t won before. So the first thing to consider this year is the weather, it’s rained a lot in the area in the month of May and guess what forecasts are calling for low winds during the championship along with rain so again the norm of players that hit it straight and those great iron players that hit lot’s of greens won’t be in play. Now the rough proximity is going to be tough that stat was high the last two years as it ranked 7th in 2014, 11th in 2015 and T-24th last year so for those that miss the fairways it will still be tough. This and fairway accuracy is not one of our four categories, but something you should keep in the back of your mind and you should take a look at those rankings for this year, you can find driving accuracy stats at this link and those on rough proximity is at this link.In looking at our four categories, our first for Muirfield Village are strokes gained tee-to green, last year the course ranked T-10th while last year’s champion William McGirt ranked 7th and 2015 champion David Lingmerth ranked 9th. Next important is putting inside 10 feet, Muirfield Village has some great greens, they are only 5,000 square feet but have a lot of undulation, and the bentgrass is easy to read. Those are some of the reasons that from 10 feet and in the course ranked 10th last year and 4th in 2015 while champion McGirt ranked T-23rd and 2015 winner Lingmerth ranked 5th. You have to putt well to score well at Muirfield Village, last year the field made 86.73% of the putts in that distance, so look for players that make lots of putts.
Our third important stat is scrambling, players will miss greens and have to get it up and down. The course ranked 14th last year and 13th in 2015 while McGirt was 6th last year andLingmerth was T-9th. Last is birdie average last year it ranked 48th and in 2015 was 43rd which means a lot of birdies were made with the average number of birdies by players is 4.24 per round. So how did our winners do, McGirt not that well at 5.00 which ranked T-16th and Lingmerth averaged 5.50 and ranked T-6th.
The big question, will the course play the same this year? Probably and despite having such a stellar field of seven of the top-ten in the world rankings. That is because the course hasn’t really changed, the weather will help it play easier and it may come down to another battle of players that have never won before.

*Strokes Gained tee-to-green: The per round average of the number of strokes the player was better or worse than the field average on the same course & event minus the players strokes gained putting value.

*Putting inside 10 feet: Very easy, counts every putt from ten feet in to see who makes the most.

*Scrambling: The percent of time a player misses the green in regulation, but still makes par or better.

*Birdie Average: Average number of birdies made over the course of a round

The 107 of the 120 players from this year’s field with stats from 2017:

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

Here is the link to all the stats for 107 of the 120 players in the year’s field at the Memorial

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

Key stat for the winner:

  • As we said above Muirfield for the fourth year in a row is probably going to play easy.  Over the course of the last two weeks just over 3 inches of rain has fallen on the course, making it very soft.  Normally Muirfield Village is a course that will get you ready for a U.S. Open, but with the soft conditions and lack of wind scores will be low again.  No matter how easy, you can’t overpower this course, you have to hit it in the fairway and think each shot to the green.  Despite playing soft it will still be a good practice for Erin Hills.

Another key:

  • Those that do well in majors, do well at Muirfield Village.  Of the 31 different champions of the Memorial they have accounted for 476 wins on the PGA Tour while 16 have won a total of 66 major championships. What’s more, 14 of the last 24 Memorial champions have been a winner of a major championship.

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

  • 29 – Hyundai Tournament of Champions
  • 28 – 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). 14 second-round leaders have won and 19 third-round leader have won.  Between 1994 and 2006, 11 of the 13 winners were in the lead after the third round.  But since 2007, only 3 champions had the lead going into the final round so again look for someone coming out of the pack to win.
  • Ten of the last 20 winners were in the top four in greens hit. In 2009 Tiger Woods was T3rd in greens hit while Justin Rose was T-13th in 2010, Steve Stricker was T30th in 2011, Tiger Woods was T-1st in 2012, Matt Kuchar was also 1st in 2013.  In 2014 Hideki Matsuyama was T-22nd while David Lingmerth was T-16th in 2015.  Last year William McGirt was T-7th in greens hit.
  • Overpowering the par fives is crucial. But just like everything else two of the last three winners Lingmerth and Matsuyama were the rarity to the win as Matsuyama played the par 5s in six under in 2014 while Lingmerth played them in 5 under last year. Last year McGirt was good on the par 5s playing them in 9 under. But before last year between 2000 and 2013 the 13 winners played the par 5s in a average of 9-under, in 2010 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 in 2013.
  • In past years hitting greens has been important, as Muirfield Village has some of the hardest set of greens to hit from the fairway.  Once you miss the greens it’s hard to get it up and down, in 2014 of the 2,631 greens missed only 1,375 par or better was made, it was the fourth hardest course in scrambling at 52.26%.  In 2015 of the 2,504 greens missed only 1,382 par or better were made making it the 13th hardest.  Last year of the 2,386 greens missed only 1,240 par or better were make making it the 14th hardest on tour.
  • Accuracy is key to winning at Memorial, eight of the last 14 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 T-10th.  In 2011 Steve Stricker kept the tradition up as he was T-3rd but in 2012 Tiger Woods broke the tradition when he was T-14th 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 T-37th in driving accurany, in 2014 Matsuyama was T-11th while in 2015 Lingmerth was T-11th. Last year McGirt was 38th in fairways hit.
  • In its 41-year history there have been seven playoffs, the last coming last year when William McGirt beat Jon Curran with par on the second extra hole.  Now between 1976 and 2013 the tournament saw only four playoffs the previous was in 1992 when David Edwards beat Rick Fehr on the second hole.  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:

  • 5 – Players championship
  • 6 – Shriners Hospital
  • 6 – Arnold Palmer Invitational
  • 7 – Memorial
  • 7 – Honda Classic
  • 8 – 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.
  • Last we have to talk about weather.  Frankly with all of the rain in Texas the last two weeks, the PGA Tour has been very lucky to get the Colonial and Nelson completed on time.  Seems that no matter what week the Memorial is played, rain will pay a visit and this year three of the four days will have a 60% of showers.  So expect another week of delays.

Who to watch for at the Memorial Tournament

Best Bets:

Dustin Johnson

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
3 T13 T46 CUT T19 4 T33 T14 68

It’s always a cop-out to pick the favorite, but Johnson knows how to play well at Muirfield Village and will break the streak of three rookie winners.

Jon Rahm

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
First time playing in this event

Has the stats to do well this week, being 2nd in strokes gained tee-to-green and 5th in birdie average. But more importantly he has been very consistent this year and was runner-up last week.

Brooks Koepka

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T52

Should play well this week, he has the stats to do well and has done well with a runner-up at Texas Open, T-5th at Zurich and T-11th at the Masters.

Best of the rest:

Hideki Matsuyama

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT T5 Win

Been steady all year, comes to a place of great memories. Yes not the best of putters but very good in all the rest of his game.

Jason Day

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T27 CUT T37 T41 CUT T33 T27 CUT

Showed signs with his runner-up finish at the Nelson that he is on the comeback trail. Yes his record is not the best at Muirfield Village but he has the game to play well and maybe this is the year he breaks out.

Jordan Spieth

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T57 T3 T19 T63

After missing two cuts he got back on track with a runner-up finish at Colonial last week. Still his weakness for the year is his putting but does make a lot of birdies and could do well this week.

Kevin Tway

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
First time playing in this event

Would fit the mold of the last three winners, someone that is hot and never won before. Has played well in his last five events finishing in the top-20 in all of them. He may never have played in this event before but his stats are pretty good and point to him having a great week.

Billy Horschel

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T11 T15 T41

Good record at Muirfield Village, playing great with the win at the Nelson, this guy is streaky and could do well this week.

Solid contenders

Rickie Fowler

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT CUT CUT T37 T52 T22 2

It’s hard to believe that he has missed the cut the last three years in a row at the Memorial. After finishing 2nd in 2010 it’s gone all down hill as he seems to get worst each year. Still think this is the year that will change he is such a great ball striker and good putter so you have to think he will do well.

Matt Kuchar

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T4 T26 T15 Win T2 T8 T5 T10 T13

Watch him because his game seems to be strong right now and coming to a course he has had good luck on with a win and six top-tens.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T52

Another guy that will cruise under the radar screen this week but he is playing well and is a great putter that could do well this week.

Byeong Hun An

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T11 CUT

Great ball striker that makes lot’s of birdies, he has played well his last three events, was T-24th at the BMW PGA with a poor weekend.

Charl Schwartzel

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T11 CUT T8 T8 T19 T22 T27 T62 T62

Does well at Memorial, his problem of late is a sore wrist but he says that it’s in good shape this week. Still there is that question mark over his head that it could come back to haunt him.

Long shots that could come through:

Danny Lee

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T52 CUT CUT

Another player that will skate through under the radar screen this week, he was 6th last week at Colonial and T-5th at the Nelson.

Sean O’Hair

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT CUT CUT CUT T12 WD T39 T5 T12 T45

Watch him, has played great at the Nelson and Colonial, he has done some good at Memorial. Should not worry that he has missed the cut his last four tries at Muirfield Village, just think he is playing too good right now.

Tony Finau

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T11 T8

Has shown a liking to Muirfield Village shooting under par in seven of his eight rounds on the course. He will surprise you, did you know he has finished three times in the top-five this year? Take a chance on him, you could do very well.

Comments

  1. Steve M says:

    I believe that Jason Day is member there as well. That should benefit but it really hasn’t much in the past.

  2. Steve, that is the problem it hasn’t really helped him being a member and living in the area. For years I always thought that Stewart Cink should win the Tour Championship because he was a member of East Lake but it never happened. Also think that Webb Simpson is a member of Quail Hollow and that has never helped him. So maybe it’s not a big advantage being a member of a course.

  3. Hi Sal
    Couldn’t help noticing that Rickie Fowler was conspicuously missing from your “Who’s Hot” list…Last 10 Tournaments this year: Players tied 60; Masters 11th; Shell 3rd; Palmer 12th; WGC 16th; Honda 1st; Waste Management 4th; Farmers Missed Cut; Abu Dhabi 36th; Hero World Challenge 3rd…Thats 4 top fives with a win, 2 top 20’s with only 1 missed cut in ten tourney’s….seems like Rickie is playing way better this year than most on your list…

  4. Tom B. The Who’s hot is what it is, going back the last 8 weeks to see who has played the best. We have a system in which points are taken away toward the end of the cycle, again to find the player who is hot at the time. If you ask it to give you 80 entries you will see Rickie at #68. The reason why, his last start was at the Players he finished T-60th. Next was Zurich, he missed the cut and then you have his Masters T-11th and T-3rd at Shell Houston. Those two finishes happened eight weeks ago so the points have drastically been reduce.
    So that is the reason he isn’t in the top-20, he isn’t really hot right now.

  5. Brian L says:

    Can we have access to the longer “who’s hot” list, which I guess would no longer be who’s hot, but more of a sort from hot to cold?

  6. Brian L says:

    Nevermind…..Didn’t realize I could change it to 80 on mine. That’s plenty. Thanks!

  7. Brian L says:

    Can’t believe Rahm, Tway, and DJ all missed the cut

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