Memorial Tournament Key Fantasy Stats

Memorial Tournament

June 1st – 4th, 2023

Muirfield Village G.C.

Dubin, OH

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,533

Purse: $20 million

with $3.6 Million to the winner

Defending Champion:
Billy Horschel

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:

As we saw with how the course played last year, the changes made in 2021 were more cosmetic than making the course harder. All Nicklaus wanted to do was make the course as perfect as possible. He has realized that since turning 80 three years ago, he doesn’t have many more changes to make on the course and how he wants it to be. Sure, the course is 50 years old and has seen a lot of changes; in Jack’s mind, the changes made now are all cosmetic in nature. It’s as if in the years after he painted the Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci decided to make some “a few changes” to that perfect picture.
The course is always “perfect,” and in Jack Nicklaus’s mind, he has made Muirfield Village as good as possible.
We saw that the course changes had nothing to do with making the course “hard.” Last year the scoring average at Muirfield Village was 73.06, it was the 8th hardest course on the PGA Tour in 2022. The previous year’s scoring average was 72.97, the 10th hardest course on the PGA Tour in 2021. Compare it to 2020, when the scoring average was 74.01, and it was the 2nd toughest average for the year. In 2021 the course was soft. It rained on Thursday and for parts of Sunday. The winds were normal, 10-15 mph, but the course was perfect for low scores. That is not the case in 2020. The weather was terrible over the weekend, with lots of wind, one of the reasons it was 74.01 for the week. In 2019 the scoring average was 72.08, and it was the 13th hardest course of the year. I bet that is what Nicklaus is looking for this year. Again Jack didn’t make the changes after the 2021 Memorial to make the course harder, just more enjoyable to play. One thing we saw in 2021, part of the changes, was that tournament officials could control the moisture in the fairways and greens. The sub-pumps under the course could make the course firmer in wet conditions. But of course, we have seen a lot of rain and storms in the years the Memorial has been played. This year will be different as there won’t be a single drop of rain during the week, which is a significant accomplishment for this event that always has rain.  More good news for the players, the winds will be below 10 mph each day, so look for low scores this week.

In looking at our four categories and knowing the course is 100% perfect, our first for Muirfield Village is Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green We get this by combining two stats. Last year, Muirfield Village was 39th in Driving Accuracy, T-11th in Driving Distance, and 4th in Greens in Regulation. So our choice of Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green makes sense when you see that last year’s winner Billy Horschel was 1st in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green. The same happened in 2021 when Patrick Cantlay was 1st in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green. In 2020, the winner Jon Rahm was 3rd, and going even further, 2019 champion Patrick Cantlay ranked 2nd; 2018 champion Bryson DeChambeau ranked 12th; 2017 champion Jason Dufner ranked 1st; 2016 winner William McGirt ranked 7th, and 2015 champion David Lingmerth ranked 9th. So this is a great first choice when you consider that out of the last 8 winners, three ranked 1st, and of the eight, seven were in the top ten.
The 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. Still, with the greens running at 12 on the stipmeter, you will do very well if you make a lot of putts in this distance. Last year Muirfield Village ranked 19th as Billy Horscel ranked T-25th making 64 of 71 putts inside ten feet, so to keep up, the winner needs to do well in this category. In 2021 the course ranked 35th easiest, while winner Patrick Cantlay wasn’t that great, ranking 61st as he made 59 of 70 putts in this range. Jon Rahm did much better the year before as he was 11th, completing 65 of 71 putts. 2019 winner Patrick Cantlay was 19th, making 64 of 71 putts. You have to putt well to score well at Muirfield Village. Last year the field made 87.93% 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 must get it up and down. The course ranked 14th, while Billy Horsely was 1st. In 2021 Muirfield Village ranked 11th and 1st in 2020, 7th in 2019, 11th in 2018, 2nd in 2017, 14th in 2016, and 13th in 2015. In 2021 Cantlay ranked 6th in scrambling, while Rahm ranked T-3rd in 2020. In 2019 Cantlay ranked 5th, DeChambeau ranked 1st in 2018, Dufner in 2017 was 30th, McGirt ranked 6th in 2016, and Lingmerth was T-9th.
Our last category is birdie average. Last year it ranked 13th, while in 2021, it was T-16th. In 2020 it was 5th, and T-28th in 2019. In 2018 it ranked 42nd; in 2017, 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 3.28 last year, 3.30 average in 2021, 2.99 average in 2020 and 3.77 in 2019. For the year 2018, it was 4.02. In 2017 it was 3.61, and 4.24 per round in 2016. So how did our winners do? Horschel wasn’t a birdie machine last year as he made just 15 which ranked T-24th, the worst a winner has ever done at the Memorial. In 2021 Cantlay made 20 birdies and ranked 3rd; in 2020, Rahm made 18 birdies and ranked T-3rd. In 2019 Cantlay made 25 birdies; in 2018 DeChambeau was T-7th; Dufner was T-2nd in 2017, averaging 5.25; McGirt was at 5.00, which ranked T-16th and Lingmerth averaged 5.50 and ranked T-6th.
So we can see that there are many ways to win at Muirfield Village, but you still have to hit the fairways and stay out of the rough. You then have to hit the greens, and if you’re a good putter, you will do well at the Memorial.

*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. Count 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 105 of the 120 players from this year’s field with stats from 2023:

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

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