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BlogMemorial Preview and Picks

Memorial Tournament

May 31st – June 3rd, 2018

Muirfield Village G.C.

Dubin, OH

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,392

Purse: $8.9 million

with $1,602,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Jason Dufner

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 64 of the top 100 and 32 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with eight players from the top-ten: #1 Justin Thomas, #2 Dustin Johnson, #3 Justin Rose, #5 Jordan Spieth, #6 Rory McIlroy, #7 Rickie Fowler, #8 Jason Day and #10 Hideki Matsuyama. The other top 50 players are #13 Patrick Reed, #15 Henrik Stenson, #16 Marc Leishman, #18 Bubba Watson, #19 Phil Mickelson, #23 Matt Kuchar, #24 Xander Schauffele, #28 Pat Perez, #29 Kevin Kisner, #30 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, #31 Branden Grace, #32 Satoshi Kodaira, #33 Louis Oosthuizen, #34 Charley Hoffman, #35 Tony Finau, #36 Patrick Cantlay, #38 Bryson DeChambeau, #39 Gary Woodland, #42 Cameron Smith, #43 Charl Schwartzel, #44 Adam Hadwin, #45 Siwoo Kim, #49 Kyle Stanley and #50 Kevin Chappell.

Last year this event had 30 top-50 players.

The field includes 18 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2018.  Those players are #1 Justin Thomas, #2 Justin Rose, #3 Jason Day, #4 Phil Mickelson, #5 Patton Kizzire, #6 Patrick Reed, #7 Bubba Watson, #9 Dustin Johnson, #11 Tony Finau, #13 Chesson Hadley, #14 Pat Perez, #15 Andrew Landry, #16 Marc Leishman, #17 Luke List, #18 Patrick Cantlay, #19 Aaron Wise, #21 Rickie Fowler and #22 Bryson DeChambeau.

The 7 top 25 players not in the field are #8 Jon Rahm, #10 Webb Simpson, #12 Paul Casey, #20 Brendan Steele, #23 Brian Harman, #24 Alex Noren and #25 Chez Reavie.

The field includes 13 past champions: Jason Dufner (2017), William McGirt (2016), David Lingmerth (2015), Hideki Matsuyama (2014), Matt Kuchar (2013), Tiger Woods (2012, ’09, ’01, 2000 & 1999), Justin Rose (2010), Kenny Perry (2008, ’03 & 1991), K.J. Choi (2007), Carl Pettersson (2006), Ernie Els (2004), Jim Furyk (2002) and Vijay Singh (1997).

The field includes 19 PGA Tour winners this season, including multiple winners Jason Day (2), Patton Kizzire (2), Justin

Thomas (2), Bubba Watson (2) and Justin Rose (2)

22 major championship winners with a combined total of 51 major titles, led by Tiger Woods with 14.

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 the 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 Fort Worth BMW PGA Byron Nelson The Players Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Valero Texas RBC Heritage Masters Houston Open WGC – Dell Match Play Arnold Palmer Corales
Rory McIlroy
(255.33 pts)
DNP 2
(150)
DNP CUT
(-15)
T16
(22.67)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T36
(7)
Win
(44)
DNP
Justin Rose
(248.5 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP T23
(40.5)
DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP DNP T12
(25.33)
T52
(0)
DNP 3
(30)
DNP
Jason Day
(240 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(105)
Win
(88)
T34
(10.67)
DNP DNP T20
(20)
DNP T36
(7)
T22
(9.33)
DNP
Charl Schwartzel
(233.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(150)
T9
(30)
3
(60)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T36
(7)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Branden Grace
(228.83 pts)
DNP T5
(105)
T3
(90)
T46
(6)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T24
(17.33)
DNP T29
(10.5)
DNP DNP
Chesson Hadley
(213.83 pts)
T20
(30)
DNP DNP T11
(58.5)
T16
(22.67)
T4
(53.33)
T20
(20)
T7
(18.33)
DNP T18
(10.67)
DNP T49
(0.33)
DNP
Patrick Reed
(212.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T41
(13.5)
8
(33.33)
T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T9
(22.5)
T7
(18.33)
DNP
Aaron Wise
(184.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP T2
(66.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T32
(6)
DNP T41
(3)
DNP
Emiliano Grillo
(182.5 pts)
3
(90)
DNP DNP T37
(19.5)
T9
(30)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T16
(11.33)
DNP T3
(30)
DNP T26
(8)
T50
(0.33)
Billy Horschel
(179.17 pts)
DNP DNP T21
(29)
T37
(19.5)
DNP Win
(88)
T11
(26)
T5
(23.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T54
(0)
DNP
Jason Dufner
(173.5 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T5
(105)
T42
(5.33)
2
(66.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
T64
(0)
T17
(16.5)
DNP DNP
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
(170.67 pts)
DNP T5
(105)
DNP T30
(30)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T44
(4)
DNP T5
(35)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Keith Mitchell
(163.33 pts)
DNP DNP T3
(90)
T77
(0)
T34
(10.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T26
(16)
T55
(0)
DNP T6
(20)
DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
Xander Schauffele
(163.17 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T2
(150)
T72
(0)
DNP T73
(0)
T32
(6)
T50
(0.67)
DNP T17
(16.5)
DNP DNP
Jordan Spieth
(160.33 pts)
T32
(18)
DNP T21
(29)
T41
(13.5)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP 3
(60)
T3
(30)
T17
(16.5)
DNP DNP
Charles Howell III
(159 pts)
DNP DNP T9
(45)
T17
(49.5)
T21
(19.33)
DNP DNP T55
(0)
DNP T18
(10.67)
T9
(22.5)
T14
(12)
DNP
Henrik Stenson
(154.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(40.5)
DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
T6
(20)
DNP 4
(26.67)
DNP
Louis Oosthuizen
(152.83 pts)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-6.67)
3
(60)
DNP DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP T9
(22.5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Bryson DeChambeau
(152.17 pts)
T42
(8)
DNP DNP T37
(19.5)
4
(53.33)
DNP DNP T3
(30)
T38
(8)
DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP
Marc Leishman
(145 pts)
DNP DNP 2
(100)
T63
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
9
(30)
DNP T52
(0)
T7
(18.33)
DNP
Matt Kuchar
(135 pts)
T32
(18)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T17
(49.5)
DNP T28
(14.67)
T51
(0)
T23
(9)
T28
(14.67)
T8
(16.67)
T9
(22.5)
DNP DNP
Kevin Na
(134 pts)
4
(80)
DNP T6
(60)
T46
(6)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T52
(0)
T36
(4.67)
DNP
Justin Thomas
(133.17 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T11
(58.5)
T21
(19.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T17
(22)
DNP 4
(40)
DNP DNP
Kevin Tway
(130.33 pts)
T5
(70)
DNP T9
(45)
T46
(6)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T36
(9.33)
T67
(0)
DNP T32
(6)
DNP T58
(0)
T28
(7.33)
Bubba Watson
(127.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T57
(0)
DNP T28
(14.67)
DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP Win
(66)
T66
(0)
DNP
Rickie Fowler
(121.33 pts)
T14
(36)
DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
T21
(19.33)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
T43
(2.33)
DNP T14
(12)
DNP
Nick Watney
(120.83 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T37
(19.5)
T2
(66.67)
T31
(12.67)
T20
(20)
T32
(6)
DNP T32
(6)
DNP DNP DNP
Rory Sabbatini
(117 pts)
T20
(30)
DNP T13
(37)
T30
(30)
T27
(15.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T23
(9)
DNP T70
(0)
DNP DNP T43
(2.33)
Adam Scott
(111.83 pts)
T52
(0)
DNP T9
(45)
T11
(58.5)
T76
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T32
(12)
DNP DNP T41
(3)
DNP
Tony Finau
(111.17 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T57
(0)
T21
(19.33)
6
(40)
DNP DNP T10
(26.67)
T24
(8.67)
T17
(16.5)
DNP DNP
Ryan Moore
(109.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T30
(30)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 7
(36.67)
T16
(11.33)
T28
(14.67)
DNP DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP
Byeong Hun An
(106.17 pts)
DNP T15
(52.5)
DNP T30
(30)
T63
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP T52
(0)
DNP T14
(12)
DNP
Danny Lee
(101.83 pts)
T14
(36)
DNP DNP T7
(82.5)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T51
(0)
T55
(0)
DNP T64
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Brice Garnett
(100.17 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T41
(13.5)
75
(0)
T4
(53.33)
80
(0)
T42
(2.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP Win
(44)
Keegan Bradley
(96.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(82.5)
T76
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
T45
(3.33)
DNP DNP T43
(2.33)
T36
(7)
T26
(8)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Fort Worth BMW PGA Byron Nelson The Players Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Valero Texas RBC Heritage Masters Houston Open WGC – Dell Match Play Arnold Palmer Corales
David Lingmerth
(-34.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T51
(0)
T74
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T64
(0)
T28
(7.33)
Wesley Bryan
(-32.33 pts)
T71
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T42
(2.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Rod Pampling
(-29 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T70
(0)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T68
(0)
T32
(6)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Patton Kizzire
(-28 pts)
T64
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T36
(7)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Sung Kang
(-26 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T42
(8)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-6.67)
36
(9.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP WD
(-1.67)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP
Gary Woodland
(-24.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T29
(10.5)
DNP DNP
Robert Streb
(-23 pts)
T52
(0)
DNP T53
(0)
CUT
(-15)
T42
(5.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
James Hahn
(-22 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T32
(6)
T36
(7)
T58
(0)
DNP
Kelly Kraft
(-21.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T80
(0)
DNP DNP 3
(30)
Stewart Cink
(-19 pts)
T58
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
T72
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T42
(2.67)
DNP DNP DNP T58
(0)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

Pointing towards the U.S. Open

With Justin Rose winning at Colonial, it’s just another example of how the U.S. Open is shaping up.  With just 2 weeks till the second major of the year at Shinnecock Hills, you have to like a could of guys, led by Justin Rose.  He has been very quiet this year, but if you look at his year, which began in October with a win at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, you had to have him in the back of your mind as a person that would win a major this year.  What I find impressive on the way Rose is playing, look at his top finishes, T-8th at Torrey Pines, T-5th at Valspar, 3rd at Arnold Palmer, T-12th Masters and a win at Colonial you have to like his odds.

A couple of others to watch, how about the comeback of Jimmy Walker, he could be your sleeper pick for Shinnecock you see that he has been in the top-25 in his last five starts including a T-4th at the Valero Texas Open, T06th at the Byron Nelson and T-2nd at the Players.  Talking about the Players, Webb Simpson is someone that will be on our radar screens after his win at Sawgrass.  Also, you can’t forget about Jason Day, he has won twice this year, and in his last two starts he won at Wells Fargo and was T-5th at the Players.

We have to also look at the defending champion, he may not be 100%, but he was runner-up at Colonial and should be a person to watch.  We also can’t forget about Jon Rahm, he won in Spain in April and in Palm Springs in January, he was 4th at the Masters and T-5th last week at Colonial and will be on our radar screens at Shinnecock.

The big question will be if Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth will be ready.  Right now all four of their games have some issues, McIlroy again showed a voodoo problem over the weekend, and many are wondering if the poor final round at the Masters is still lingering. I am not worried about him because in 2011 he had the major collapse at Augusta and then struggled until the U.S. Open when everything fell into place, and he won at Congressional.  I also think that Justin Thomas will be ok, he likes links-style courses, and I expect for him to do ok at Shinnecock.  But as of Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, and Jordan Spieth, I wonder if they will be ready in 2 weeks.  A couple of weeks ago Butch Harman voiced a concern that Dustin may not be motivated enough and didn’t seem to practice enough, this has me wondering if Johnson is in search of his game.  I know that Sergio Garcia is lost right now, this began about the time his daughter was born in March, and I can understand that possibly his family is number one right now.  Last is Jordan Spieth, who we all have seen his struggles with the putter, again if Spieth doesn’t putt well at Shinnecock he won’t play well, so he needs to find some magic fast.  Before we leave, have to mention the 1,000-pound gorilla in the room, and that is Tiger Woods.  He comes into the Memorial and the U.S. Open under the radar scope but as we all know he is pretty close and I think he has to be one of the favorites not only at Shinnecock but at the Memorial.

Things you need to know about the Memorial

This is the 43rd 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 because 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 2018 honorees for the Memorial Tournament will be Hale Irwin, while Jock Hutchison and Willie Turnesa are posthumous honorees. As for the journalism award, Golf Digest Larry Dorman is the honoree with Golfweek’s Ron Balicki getting the award posthumously.

The Memorial always seems to get a great field because it’s played on a great course and many can count on getting ready for the U.S. Open by playing at Memorial.

How the last 8 U.S. Open winners did at Memorial that year

  • 2017 Brooks Koepka  –   T-31st
  • 2016 Dustin Johnson  –  3rd
  • 2016 Jordan Spieth  –  T-3rd
  • 2014 Martin Kaymer  –  Did not play at Memorial but won Players a month before U.S. Open
  • 2013 Justin Rose  –  T-8th
  • 2012 Webb Simpson –  Missed Cut
  • 2011 Rory McIlroy –  5th
  • 2010 Graeme McDowell  –  Did not play at Memorial but won the Celtic Manor Wales Open 2 weeks before U.S. Open

But beginning next year, the Memorial will be two weeks before the U.S. Open and two weeks after the PGA Championship, which is moving from August to May.  So it will be interesting to see what this will mean for the Memorial, many feel it won’t matter that players will still play at the Memorial.

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 Bluegrass with ryegrass and fescue. The greens are bentgrass.
  • Last year Muirfield Village played to a 72.80 average and was the 13th hardest course on tour. In 2016 it 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, the course plays easy.  But last year due to poor weather over the weekend with high winds created a higher scoring average.
  • 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 secret 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 1973. Fittingly, his round was marred by torrential 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 essential 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 excellent, 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 Solheim 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 challenging 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 down upon most of the action. This set up mirrors most traditional stadium-seating arrangements found at major sporting events.
  • Over the years Nicklaus tweaks the course, but for the second year in a row, the course will be pretty much like it was the year before, except for the weather.

Let’s take a look at vital 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 2018.
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 four 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 of 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. In 2016 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. But last year the scoring average rose to 72.80 (rank 13th) mostly because of bad weather on Sunday with two delays and wins blowing between 15 and 25 mph. Hate to say it but Muirfield Village may be the victim that other courses on the PGA Tour 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 in 2016 it was 42nd in driving accuracy and 25th in greens hit. Last year it ranked 29th in driving accuracy and 13th in greens hit. There is a lot of reasons for this the last four 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, while last year Jason Dufner claimed his 5th PGA Tour victory. But it’s amazing that 3 out of the last 4 winners where first-timers, before that 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 the last 4 years. 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 with the course getting close to 4 inches of rain since May 1st. So that means the course will be lush and the rough will be thick. On top of that, the forecast isn’t very good for Wednesday through Friday as the tropical storm that hit the Gulf coast is moving up into the Ohio area with thunderstorms and 90% chance of rain. So look for lots of delays which is always frustrating. The good news, winds will be low and the weekend will be dry with only a 10% chance of rain.
So, unfortunately, the course won’t play like tournament officials and tournament host Jack Nicklaus want, dry and fast conditions. In a way you would think that short, straight hitters would rule with wet conditions, they do in some cases but in the last 5 years, of the 29 players that finished in the top-five, only five players were in the top-10 of driving accuracy, while 7 of those 29 players were in the top-ten of driving distance. So what does that tell us? That players don’t have to hit it straight to do well at the Memorial. Now one stat that has stayed steady and tough is rough proximity. It ranked 7th in 2014, 11th in 2015, T-24th in 2016 and 11th 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-30th while last year’s champion Jason Dufner ranked 1st, 2016 winner 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 8th last year, 10th in 2016 and 4th in 2015 while champion Dufner ranked T-38th, 2016 winner 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 87.67% 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 2nd last year, 14th in 2016 and 13th in 2015 while Dufner last year was 30th, McGirt was 6th in 2016 and Lingmerth was T-9th. Last is birdie average last year it ranked 29th, in 2016 it ranked 48th and in 2015 was 43rd which means a lot of birdies were made with the average number of birdies by players being 3.61 last year and 4.24 per round in 2016. So how did our winners do, Dufner was T-2nd last year, averaging 5.25, McGirt was 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 eight 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 player’s 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 the 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 106 of the 120 players from this year’s field with stats from 2018:

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

Here is the link to the other 96 players with stats for 2018

DraftKings tips

Of the 120 in the field, 94 have played at least once at Muirfield Village in The Memorial since 2010:

  • Matt Kuchar is 70 under in 28 rounds playing 7 years
  • Justin Rose is 37 under in 20 rounds playing 6 years
  • Jason Dufner is 28 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Rory McIlroy is 27 under in 22 rounds playing 6 years
  • David Lingmerth is 24 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Dustin Johnson is 24 under in 28 rounds playing 8 years
  • Ryan Moore is 24 under in 30 rounds playing 8 years
  • Charl Schwartzel is 23 under in 26 rounds playing 7 years
  • Tony Finau is 21 under in 12 rounds playing 3 years
  • Robert Streb is 21 under in 12 rounds playing 3 years
  • Bill Haas is 21 under in 28 rounds playing 8 years
  • Hideki Matsuyama is 20 under in 14 rounds playing 4 years
  • Jordan Spieth is 20 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Kevin Streelman is 20 under in 26 rounds playing 8 years
  • Phil Mickelson is 20 under in 25 rounds playing 7 years
  • Kevin Kisner is 19 under in 14 rounds playing 4 years
  • Rickie Fowler is 19 under in 26 rounds playing 8 years
  • Bubba Watson is 18 under in 26 rounds playing 7 years

*Here are the ones with the best under par totals averaging it per years played (2 or more starts)

  • Matt Kuchar is 70 under playing 7 years (-2.50)
  • Justin Rose is 37 under playing 6 years (-1.85)
  • Tony Finau is 21 under playing 3 years (-1.75)
  • Robert Streb is 21 under playing 3 years (-1.75)
  • Byeong Hun An is 13 under playing 2 years (-1.63)
  • Jason Dufner is 28 under playing 5 years (-1.56)
  • Anirban Lahiri is 12 under playing 2 years (-1.50)
  • Hideki Matsuyama is 20 under playing 4 years (-1.43)
  • Jamie Lovemark is 11 under playing 2 years (-1.38)
  • Kevin Kisner is 19 under playing 4 years (-1.36)
  • Rory Sabbatini is 18 under playing 4 years (-1.29)
  • Emiliano Grillo is 10 under playing 2 years (-1.25)
  • Rory McIlroy is 27 under playing 6 years (-1.23)
  • David Lingmerth is 24 under playing 5 years (-1.20)
  • Jordan Spieth is 20 under playing 5 years (-1.00)
  • Patrick Reed is 12 under playing 3 years (-1.00)
  • Charl Schwartzel is 23 under playing 7 years (-0.88)
  • Dustin Johnson is 24 under playing 8 years (-0.86)
  • Ryan Moore is 24 under playing 8 years (-0.80)
  • Phil Mickelson is 20 under playing 7 years (-0.80)
  • Kevin Streelman is 20 under playing 8 years (-0.77)
  • Bill Haas is 21 under playing 8 years (-0.75)
  • Rickie Fowler is 19 under playing 8 years (-0.73)
  • Kevin Na is 10 under playing 4 years (-0.71)
  • Bubba Watson is 18 under playing 7 years (-0.69)

Historical ParBreakers

Here is a look at those playing this week and who has made the most eagles and birdies:

So it makes sense that the top players on this list are guys that will make lot’s of points this week

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:

  • Dustin Johnson – $11,300
  • Jason Day – $11,100
  • Rory McIlroy – $10,800
  • Justin Rose – $10,600
  • Justin Thomas – $10,300
  • Jordan Spieth – $9.800
  • Rickie Fowler – $9,500
  • Tiger Woods – $9,400
  • Henrik Stenson – $9,200
  • Hideki Matsuyama – $9,100
  • Marc Leishman – $9,000
  • Patrick Reed – $8,900

Before we start this week’s Memorial, we should be realistic about some things.  On the surface, the prices of the above players are correct and can see their value.  But in making picks this week remember the weather is supposed to play havoc on the play for Thursday and Friday.  It’s bad enough that close to 4 inches of rain have fallen on Muirfield Village, but a lot of rain is predicted for Wednesday, along with Thursday and Friday so this will not be a typical week.  Look for lot’s of delays and frustration, this will be a perfect week for players you least expect to get in.  Also, luck will play a factor, some players will get a better draw in which the weather will be better on Thursday in the morning and then on Friday, the weather could be terrible in the morning and better in the afternoon, thus giving those with the lucky draw an advantage.  So with that said, let us see if we could help predict some good choices for this week.

In the list above I can’t find much fault on anyone on this list, I would avoid Dustin Johnson at $11,300, Justin Thomas at $10,300, Jordan Spieth at $9,800, Rickie Fowler at $9,500 and Hideki Matsuyama at $9,100.  Of course, I like Justin Rose at $10,600 he will play well unless he gets a bad draw in which we can’t predict.  I really feel that Rose is going to have a great month and win this week and possibly at Shinnecock, his game was sharp last week at Colonial and I see that continuing.  I also like Jason Day at $11,100 this week, and at Shinnecock, yes his price is high, but he has played good this year.  His last two starts he won at Wells Fargo and was T-5th at Players.  The only problem with taking him, his record isn’t very good at Muirfield Village, even his product numbers are low, so maybe it’s best to pass on him mainly because of the price.  Now Rory McIlroy’s production figures are good for the Memorial, and his problem is that he hasn’t been able to keep it together on Sunday.  But he says that his game is close, and he doesn’t look worried, so have to think this week will be good for him.  I also like Tiger Woods at $9,400, he knows how to play at Muirfield Village and other than the years he has back problems, has been great on this course so look for that trend to continue, that is without knowing his luck factor of the draw.  Marc Leishman at $9,000 and Patrick Reed at $8,900 are good candidates for great weeks so you should think about picking one of them.  I also like Patrick Reed at $8,900, if he could win at Augusta, he can win at Muirfield Village.  I am half, and, half on Henrik Stenson at $9,100, his production numbers are terrible for the Memorial, but he is good in bad weather; honestly, there are better picks.  I also will say that I wouldn’t touch Dustin Johnson at $11,300, Justin Thomas at $10,300, Jordan Spieth at $9,800, Rickie Fowler at $9,500 and Hideki Matsuyama at $9,000

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,800 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

Lot’s of excellent choices in this price range.  First, there is Bubba Watson at $8,700, he has played well at Muirfield, had good production numbers and was T-6th last year.  Also like Adam Scott at $8,600, again we have said he has gotten better of last, yes his T-52nd previous week at Colonial was disappointing but look for him to bounce back.  Matt Kuchar at $8,500 is a good buy, yes he has struggled of late but does have good numbers at Muirfield Village, and he will do well.  Emiliano Grillo at $8,400 is also a player getting things together.  He has done right in his two starts at the Memorial and someone you should pick.  Phil Mickelson at $8,300 is a person to avoid, his game is in flux as Phil gets ready for the U.S. Open so don’t bother with him this week.  Like the fact that DraftKings has gotten more realistic about Tony Finau, this week he is at $8,100 and an excellent choice, he has some good moments at Muirfield Village, so he is a good buy.

Some of the “bargains” this week at the Memorial:

As we have seen in the past there have been some off the wall winners at the Memorial, guys like William McGirt in 2016, David Lingmerth in 2015, Carl Pettersson in 2006 and Bart Bryant in 2005.  Most of these winners have done it in bad weather, so look for these type of players.  I like Patrick Cantlay at $7,400, he is a solid pick and should have a good week.  Also like Xander Schauffele at $7,400, if he can win at East Lake he can win at Muirfield Village.  He was runner-up at the Players but missed the cut last week, look for him to do well this week.  Another good buy is Joaquin Niemann at $7,300, he played well at Colonial, and I can see him playing well this week.  Another youngster I like is Peter Uihlein at $7,200 he is a good buy.  If you need a low price player just to make the cut, Stewart Cink at $6,900 is perfect for you.  He has played at the Memorial 21 times and only missed one cut, he is an excellent pick.   One last cheap pick is Davis Lingmerth at $6,800. He is a past champion that seems to play well on this course, so ride his Muirfield wave as he gets you lots of points.

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 fifth year in a row is probably going to play easy.  Over the course of the last month, just over 4 inches of rain has fallen on the course, making it very soft. Usually, 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 comfortable, 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 good practice for Shinnecock Hills.

Another key:

Those that do well in majors do well at Muirfield Village.  Of the 32 different champions of the Memorial, they have accounted for 477 wins on the PGA Tour while 17 have won a total of 67 major championships. What’s more, 15 of the last 25 Memorial champions have been a winner of a major championship.

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

  • 30 – Hyundai Tournament of Champions
  • 28 – Players Championship
  • 26 – Memorial Tournament
  • 22 – RBC Heritage
  • 22 – Farmers Insurance
  • In the history of the Memorial, only three leaders after the first round have won (Ernie Els in 2004, Justin Rose in 2010 and Jason Dufner last year). 15 second-round leaders have won, and 19 third-round leaders 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. 
  • 11 of the last 21 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.  In 2016 William McGirt was T-7th in greens hit while last year Jason Dufner lead greens hit.
  • Overpowering the par fives is crucial. But just like everything else two of the last four 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. In 2016 McGirt was good on the par 5s playing them in 9 under, while Jason Dufner last year was 10 under on the par 5s. But before last year between 2000 and 2013 the 13 winners played the par 5s in an 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 significant, 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.  In 2016 of the 2,386 greens missed only 1,240 par or better were make making it the 14th hardest on tour.  Last year of the 2,810 greens missed only 1,433 were able to get it up and down making it the 2nd hardest on tour in 2017.
  • Accuracy is key to winning at Memorial, nine of the last 15 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 accuracy, in 2014 Matsuyama was T-11th while in 2015 Lingmerth was T-11th. In 2016 McGirt was 38th in fairways hit while last year’s winner Jason Dufner was T-7th in fairways hit.
  • In its 42-year history, there have been seven playoffs, the last coming in 2016 when William McGirt beat Jon Curran with a 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 have the least amount of playoffs since 1976:

 

Who to watch for at the Memorial Tournament

Best Bets:

Justin Rose

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
2 CUT T8 8 CUT Win CUT T2 T14

Will continue to ride his clothe tails, he is playing a course that’s great for his game, he is playing well can’t see anyone else winning.

Rory McIlroy

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T4 T15 T57 CUT 5 T10

Says he is very close, just has to get over this weekend hump. If he can do that and win, will carry a lot of momentum into the summer major season.

Patrick Reed

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T57 T8 T26

Has all of the stats to play well this week, if he can win the Masters he can win the Memorial.

Best of the rest:

Jason Day

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T15 T27 CUT T37 T41 CUT T33 T27 CUT

This should be a slam dunk, but he has never been able to play well in the town that he lives. Look for him to break that streak, a lot has to do with the weather.

Henrik Stenson

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T41 T46 CUT T60

Has all of the numbers to do well, 5th in strokes gained tee-to-green, 3rd in putting inside of 10 feet, 1st in scrambling and makes lot’s of birdies, he should win this week with those numbers.

Tiger Woods

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
71 T65 Win T19 Win T15

Had some great success in this event, look for him to have a great week.

Emiliano Grillo

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T40 T11

His game has come along and he should do well this week.

Marc Leishman

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T15 T11 T5 T37 T41 T58 62 CUT T58

Guy is perfect for winning this event, with poor weather he could pop up and win.

Solid contenders

Bubba Watson

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T6 T65 3 T29 CUT T42 T33 T23 CUT T23 T34

He is the forgotten man that has played well on this course and could do good this week.

Matt Kuchar

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T4 T4 T26 T15 Win T2 T8 T5 T10 T13

Has always played well at Muirfield, hasn’t had a great year and could change that this week.

Dustin Johnson

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT 3 T13 T46 CUT T19 4 T33 T14 68

Has had his moments on this course, but is he playing well or still struggling?

Tony Finau

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T40 T11 T8

Has the power, can play this course, could he slip in with poor weather?

Xander Schauffele

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

If he can win at East Lake can win on this course, playing it for the first time.

Long shots that could come through:

Patrick Cantlay

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T35

Seems to play well week in and week out, watch him with all the weather problems.

Joaquin Niemann

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

Another first timer that could surprise a bunch of people.

Peter Uihlein

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T25

Has played well at Muirfield Village.

Stewart Cink

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T25 T31 T49 T29 T25 T30 T8 T8 T30 T5 T12

Always plays solidly at the Memorial.

Players that are struggling:

Jordan Spieth

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T13 T57 T3 T19 T63

Each week we talk about the same thing, Jordan and his struggle with the putter.

Justin Thomas

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T4 CUT CUT T37

Guy should play better, maybe his success from last year is a product of his problems for this year. Needs to just relax and play well, not to try and do something he can’t do right now.

Rickie Fowler

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T2 CUT CUT CUT T37 T52 T22 2

Been a big disappointment for most of the year.

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