PGA Tour: Memorial Tournament Preview
The Memorial Tournament begins Thursday at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Started in 1976 by all-time great Jack Nicklaus, the Memorial is a coveted event for those who play the game at the highest level.So much was thought of this venue that just 13 years after its opening, Muirfield Village was selected to host the Ryder Cup. In addition to the Ryder Cup, Muirfield Village later staged the U.S. Amateur in 1992, the Solheim Cup in 1998 and the Presidents Cup in 2013.
The course, at 7,392 yards and with water in play almost everywhere, was designed by Nicklaus and Desmond Muirhead in 1974 and named after the historic Muirfield links in Scotland, a course where in 1966 Nicklaus won his first British Open and completed the career grand slam.
The list of Memorial winners is distinguished. Eighteen different winners of the Memorial either had won a major or eventually did so.
Five-time Memorial champion Tiger Woods is back for another try after he missed the cut at the PGA Championship. If he prevails, he’ll tie Sam Snead for all-time PGA Tour wins at 82. Woods’ Memorial win in 2012 equaled Nicklaus’ total of 73.
Woods offers little value at +1200, but it will be interesting to see if he can match Snead’s record with Nicklaus sitting next to the 18th green.
In addition to all the major champions and accomplished players to score here, four winners since 2010 have notched their first PGA Tour victories in the Memorial: Justin Rose (2010), Hideki Matsuyama (2014), David Lingmerth (2015) and William McGirt (2016).
Four of the last five Memorial Tournaments have ended in a playoff, so recent history indicates drama is likely on tap for Sunday.
One consistent player I can see contending is Gary Woodland at +3300. The long-hitting Kansan has two top 10 finishes in the Memorial, seven top 10 finishes this season and is eighth in the FedEx Cup standings, even though he hasn’t won a tournament this year. He is second on tour in birdies per round, sixth in strokes gained off the tee and seventh in strokes gained tee to green. All Woodland needs is a hot putter to contend at a price.