It’s not a major – at least not officially, but the field at the Memorial once again has a major-league vibe. The 134-player set will include 43 of the top-50 ranked players in the world, featuring nine of the top-10.

Contested at Muirfield Village Golf Club, and hosted by PGA Tour legend Jack Nicklaus, the star-studded gathering in Dublin, Ohio will be headlined by none other than Tiger Woods.

The 15-time major winner will be making his first start since the Tour’s COVID-19 reboot. A five-time Memorial champion, Woods will be joined by 13 other past winners of the prestigious event, including current top-ranked stalwarts such as Patrick Cantlay (2019), Bryson DeChambeau (2018), Hideki Matsuyama (2014), Matt Kuchar (2013), and Justin Rose (2010).

Other marquee names include Rory McIlory, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Webb Simpson, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, and Xander Schauffele, among others.

With just five weeks remaining until the start of the postseason, time is not on the side of those who currently sit outside the top 30 (Tour Championship) in the FedExCup standings, especially those who are floating around the playoff bubble.

Below, you’ll find more details to help you get primed for the 2020 edition of the Memorial Tournament.

Enjoy 👌!

The Skinny

Event: The Memorial Tournament
Title Sponsor: Nationwide Insurance
Dates: July 16-19, 2020
Where: Dublin, Ohio
Course: Muirfield Village Golf Club
Distance: Par 72, 7,392 yards
Architect: Jack Nicklaus
Format: Stroke, 72-holes, 36-hole cut
Purse: $9,300,000
Winning Share: $1,674,000
OWGR Field Strength: 810
OWGR Winning Points: 76
Defending Champion: Patrick Cantlay


Watch & Follow

Thu. July 16, Rd 1
06:30 – 6:00 pm: PGA TOUR Live (Groups)
03:00 – 6:00 pm: Golf Channel

Fri. July 17, Rd 2
06:30 – 6:00 pm: PGA TOUR Live (Groups)
03:00 – 6:00 pm: Golf Channel

Sat. July 18, Rd 3
08:00 – 3:00 pm: PGA TOUR Live (Groups)
01:00 – 3:00 pm: Golf Channel
03:00 – 6:00 pm: PGA TOUR Live (Holes)
03:00 – 6:00 pm: CBS

Sun. July 19, Rd 4
08:00 – 3:00 pm: PGA TOUR Live (Groups)
01:00 – 3:00 pm: Golf Channel
03:00 – 6:00 pm: PGA TOUR Live (Holes)
03:00 – 6:00 pm: CBS

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


History

Roger Maltbie
In this file photo, Roger Maltbie watches his golf ball fly during the Memorial Tournament at the Muirfield Village Country Club in Muirfield Village, Ohio. Credit: J.D. Cuban /Allsport via Getty Images

As one of the most respected names in the history of the game, Jack Nicklaus’ gift to the golf world, and to a central Ohio community that embraced him, has grown into one of the most important events outside of the four majors.

The Memorial continuously draws a very strong field, and even bigger crowds (during non-panic pandemic/election years), the latter a testament to a Muirfield Village course design that made fan experience a priority.

Debuting in 1976, just two years after Muirfield Village opened, the inaugural edition of the Memorial was a brutal test as only two players, Roger Maltbie and Hale Irwin, were able to avoid an over-par score. Both finished at level-par 288 with Maltbie eventually edging Irwin on the fourth sudden-death extra hole.

The following year featured the first victory for tournament host Nicklaus, who would also win the 1984 edition.

Other notable winners have included the aforementioned Irwin, Tom Watson, Raymond Floyd, Greg Norman, Curtis Strange, Paul Azinger, Tom Lehman, Vijah Singh, Fred Couples, Ernie Els, Justin Rose, and Tiger Woods.

Woods holds the tournament record with five victories, followed by Kenny Perry who won three times. Four players, including Nicklaus, have claimed two Memorial titles.


Historical Nuggets

A general view of Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio during the 2013 Presidents Cup matches. Credit: Getty Images/Kohjiro Kinno

Built as a way for Jack Nicklaus to give back to his hometown, Muirfield Village Golf Club celebrates its 44th edition this year as host of the Memorial Tournament.

I Went Back (to Back) to Ohio: The PGA Tour last played consecutive events at the same club in 1975, ironically in Ohio – at Firestone Country Club, although on two different courses: The American Golf Classic on the North, followed by the World Series of Golf on the famed South course.

Teaming Up: Muirfield also holds the distinction as the only place that has welcomed all three match-play showcases in U.S. professional golf.

Muirfield Village was the stage for the pivotal 1987 Ryder Cup, in which Europe captured its first win on U.S. soil behind a group that became the continent’s nucleus. Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Nick Faldo, Sandy Lyle, Jose Maria Olazabal and Ian Woosnam would combine for 18 major titles.

Things were much better for U.S. hopes at the 1998 Solheim Cup, when Dottie Pepper and Juli Inkster sparked a 16-12 American victory, and the 2013 Presidents Cup as Tiger Woods won four of five matches in an 18.5-15.5 triumph.


The Course

Tiger Woods tees off at Muirfield Village Golf Club during the 2012 Memorial Tournament. PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Founded by Jack Nicklaus, and opened in 1974, Muirfield Village Golf Club is a par 72 track, measuring 7,392 yards for the Tour pros.

Acting as the home base of the Ohio legend, the property and golf course was named after Muirfield, Scotland – where Nicklaus won the first of his three British Open titles in 1966 to complete the first of his three career grand slams.

The Nicklaus designed signature golf course has hosted the PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament since its inception in 1976, with the Golden Bear, himself, acting as the tournament host. A bronze sculpture of Nicklaus mentoring a young golfer, unveiled in 1999, is located in the wide median of Muirfield Drive.

The private pro-style layout is regularly ranked as one of the top golf courses in the state of Ohio.

official Scorecard

Info Box

Name: Muirfield Village Golf Club
Locale: Dublin, Ohio
Established: 1974
Type: Private
Holes: 18
Par: 36/36/72
Par 3s: 4 (4, 8, 12, 16)
Par 4s: 10 (1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 10, 13, 14, 17, 18)
Par 5s: 4 (5, 7, 11, 15)
Length: 7,329 yards
Greens: Bentgrass/Poa annua
Fairways: Bentgrass/Poa annua
Designed by: Jack Nicklaus
Website: mvgc.org


5 Storylines

1. Cantlay Defends

Patrick Cantlay-Jack Nicklaus-The Memorial Tournament
Patrick Cantlay shares a laugh with Jack Nicklaus after winning The Memorial Tournament Presented by Nationwide at Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 02, 2019 in Dublin, Ohio. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In just his third attempt at Muirfield Village, Patrick Cantlay showed impressive resilience, shooting a final-day 64 to overtake veterans Adam Scott and Martin Kaymer, en route to his second career PGA Tour title.

If the UCLA product is going to repeat, however, he will have to do so against what is comparable to a major-championship field.

Cantlay, though, is enjoying another stellar season, albeit a brief one. In just seven starts to the 2019-20 campaign, the world No. 10 owns three top-10 finishes (including two top-5s), and three more top-20s. (His only finish outside the top-20 this season was a T40 last fall at the Safeway.)

The 28-year old star will enter the Memorial off a T7 finish at last week’s Workday Charity Open. In fact, in his last three appearances at Muirfield Village (2020 Workday, 2019 and 2018 Memorial), Cantlay owns a win and two additional top-10s (T7, 4).


2. Tiger Headlines

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods hits his tee shot at the 18th hole during the final round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 3, 2018 in Dublin, Ohio. Photo by Tracy Wilcox/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

Tiger Woods will tee it up for the first time since the PGA Tour rebooted in mid June. For the 2019-20 season, the 44-year old superstar has played in just three official Tour events, highlighted by a win at the inaugural ZOZO Championship in Japan.

The Memorial has been a staple on Tiger’s schedule throughout his career, so it’s not surprising that he decided to relaunch his 20202 season at Muirfield.

With five titles, Woods owns the all-time win record, highlighted by three straight trophies in 1999, 2000, and 2001. In his two most recent appearances, he’s finished a respectable T9 (2019) and T23 (2018).

Just one victory short of eclipsing Sam Snead (82) on the all-time PGA Tour win list, title No. 83 for Tiger would feel extra appropriate if it happened at the home of golf’s co-GOAT.


3. More Spieth Troubles

Jordan Spieth
Jordan Spieth reacts on the 7th green as he and his caddie, Michael Greller, walk to the 8th tee during the final round of the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial CC on May 26, 2019 in Fort Worth, Texas. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Jordan Spieth, the 11-time PGA Tour winner and three-time major champion, continues to struggle, and some are suggesting it is no longer a slump, but a career changing reality for the former all-world superstar.

To recap Spieth’s doldrums: Coming off a three-win 2017 season, including two of the most exciting finishes of the season – a viral hole-out overtime win at the Travelers, and a comeback for the ages at the Open Championship, Spieth started the 2018 year ranked in a familiar spot – No. 2 in the world.

All seemed just fine in Spieth World through the first half of the 2018 season. In his first 10 starts, the then 24-year old Texan had posted eight (8) top-20s – four of which were top-10s, highlighted by a solo third-place finish at the Masters, which featured a Sunday round of 64 and a memorable charge up the leaderboard.

Something happened after the Masters, though, because in his next (and final) 12 starts of the season, Spieth posted just a single top-10 finish and failed to make the Tour Championship for the first time in his career. Ending the year with a world ranking of 17, it marked the first time since 2013 that he’d fallen outside the world top-10.

Things went from bad to worse in 2019, as the former world No. 1 posted a just four top-10s in 23 starts, and once again failed to make it to East Lake.

In 12 starts this season, Spieth has posted three top-10s, alongside nine truly forgettable finishes (T66, T43, T55, MC, T59, T58, T68, T54, MC). He now finds himself ranked outside the top-60.

His main problem? He cannot string together four good rounds – particularly struggling on the weekend rounds.

As for Muirfield, he missed the cut here last week at the Workday event, and has been all over the map in terms of results at the Memorial. In seven career starts he owns a pair of top-10s, two top-20s, and three finishes outside the top 55.

With all that said, Spieth could really make a statement if he were to bust out and contend this week. Golf fans are rooting hard for the one-time “Golden Child” to recapture his once legendary status.


4. Can JT Bounce Back?

Justin Thomas Workday Charity Open
Justin Thomas plays his second shot from a bunker on the 18th hole during the final round of the Workday Charity Open at Muirfield Golf Club on July 12, 2020 in Dublin, Ohio. Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

Last week at the Workday Charity Open, Justin Thomas was up three shots with three holes to play.

And he lost!

The epic collapse makes Thomas one of the biggest wildcards in the field this week. Despite tweeting out some positive spin, a blown lead like that is – without question – tough on the psyche.

Yet, Muirfield Village is the epitome of a shotmaker’s course and Thomas is one of the world’s very best shot-makers – as witnessed through 69 holes last week. Also, of note, his solo second-place finish last week was his third straight top-10 finish at Jack’s Place (2nd-2020, 8th-2019, 4th-2018).


5. Trio of Struggling Superstars

Jordan Spieth Rickie Fowler
Jordan Spieth talks with Rickie Fowler on the first tee during day three of The Northern Trust on Aug 26, 2017 at Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury, NY. Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sports via Getty Images

The aforementioned Spieth is not the only big name entering the Memorial off a lengthy stretch of poor outings.

Rickie Fowler, one of Spieth’s closest friends on Tour, is another big name who’s struggled with consistency as of late. The 31-year old fan favorite hasn’t posted a top-10 finish since The American Express way back in mid January. In his first two starts following the Tour’s reboot, Fowler missed the cut in each. He’s been better in his last two (T12, T22), but still not the results we’ve come to expect from the player who was regularly ranked in the world top 10 for five consecutive seasons (2014-2018).

Just a few years ago, Jason Day was on top of the world rankings, and marketed as one of this generation’s “Big Three,” alongside Rory McIlroy and (ironically) Spieth. From 2015 through 2018, Day made his way to the winner’s circle 10 times, mostly in elite-field events. He was widely regarded as one of the world’s two or three best players.

Injuries and poor play over the past two seasons, though, have seen the stock of the 31-year old star fall precipitously. He currently sits at No. 58 in the world rankings – a humbling fall for the former world No. 1, who held a lock on the top spot for 91 weeks.

Day does enter off a solid start at last week’s Workday Charity Open (on the same Muirfield track), where a final-round 67 moved the Aussie into the top-10 (T7).

While the slumps of Fowler, Day, and Spieth are confounding, as each is in his prime, one superstar’s slowdown was a bit more expected. Phil Mickelson is now 50-years young, and, well, there’s a reason why the senior circuit starts at 5-0. It’s called the science of aging.

In early 2019, at the age of 48, the left-handed legend finished runner-up at the Desert Classic, and two weeks later claimed victory at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. With a win and 2nd-place to start the 2019 campaign, it seemed the San Diego native was firing on all cylinders. But following that victory – his 44th PGA Tour title, Lefty seemed to lose his game, and, for the remainder of the season, failed to post a single top-10 finish.

The 2020 season has been no better – if not worse, as the Champions Tour eligible player owns just a single top-10 (T3, Pebble Beach) against four missed-cuts in eight Tour starts.

Will one of the three (four, counting Spieth) stars bust out of their slump and find their way to the winner’s circle? Of the four, the bookmakers seem to like Fowler’s (33-1) chances best.


The Field: Overview

Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas
Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas walk the first hole during the final round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany on Dec 07, 2019 in Nassau, Bahamas. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

As mentioned, headlining the event is five-time Memorial Champion Tiger Woods, who will tee it up for the first time since the PGA Tour’s reset.

Woods will be joined by a plethora of superstars, including nine of the top-10 ranked players in the world: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, and Patrick Cantlay.

Other marquee names include Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele, Justin Rose, Jason Day, and last week’s winner at Muirfield, Collin Morikawa.


The Field: Power Rankings

Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay
Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay during a practice rounds prior to THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass on May 9, 2018 in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Like last week’s Workday event, bombers who can work the ball, tee to green, and stick pins should find success this week in Ohio.

1. Justin Thomas
Gave away a third win of season last week. Should be able to bounce back. One of the best ball workers on the Tour.
SG: Approach the Green: 1.047 (2nd)
SG: Tee to Green: 1.876 (2nd)
World Rank/Odds: 3rd/10-1
Last Six Starts: 2, MC, 8, 10, 6, MC

2. Patrick Cantlay
The world No. 8 gets to play a second consecutive week on the course he conquered last year. Looked impressive in first two post-reboot starts (Travelers, Workday) en route to a T11 and T7, respectively.
SG: Approach the Green: .929 (8th)
SG: Tee to Green: 1.549 (7th)
World Rank/Odds: 10th/12-1
Last Six Starts: 7, 11, 17, 11, 4, 17

3. Bryson DeChambeau
Won here in 2017, and enters in tip-top form (win at the Rocket Mortgage). A bomber off the tee who knows his way around the course.
SG: Approach the Green: .914 (6th)
SG: Tee to Green: 1.728 (2nd)
World Rank/Odds: 7th/10-1
Last Six Starts: 1, 6, 8, 3, 4, 2

4. Dustin Johnson
Former world No. 1 coming into form. Enters off an impressive win at the Travelers. Didn’t tee it up here last year, but finished T8 in 2018.
SG: Approach the Green: .427 (37th)
SG: Tee to Green: .873 (26th)
World Rank/Odds: 4th/16-1
Last Six Starts: 1, 17, MC, 48, 10, 32

5. Rory McIlroy
The world No. 1 has cooled off considerably since the reboot but is still a threat any time he tees it up. Enters off a T11 at the Travelers.
SG: Approach the Green: .673 (17th)
SG: Tee to Green: 1.883 (1st)
World Rank/Odds: 1st/12-1
Last Six Starts: 11, 41, 32, 5, 5, 5


The Field: Odds To Win

Bryson DeChambeau Wins Rocket Mortgage Classic
Bryson DeChambeau and caddie Tim Tucker celebrate on the 18th green after winning the Rocket Mortgage Classic on July 5, 2020 at the Detroit Golf Club in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau are the co-favorites this week at 10-1. Thomas, who was the only player in the field last week to shoot four rounds in the 60s, enters off a brutal blown lead, but has the mindset and track record to bounce back.

DeChambeau, meanwhile, is the hottest player in the world, particularly since the Tour’s reboot. The beefed up bomber has posted seven straight top-10 finishes highlighted by a win at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

The co-favorites are followed by a pair of top-10 ranked stars at 12-1 in Rory McIlroy (No. 1) and Patrick Cantlay (No. 10). McIlroy enters off a T11 at the Travelers, while Cantlay, the defending champion, posted a T7 at last week’s Workday event.

Rounding out the top-5 betting favorites, at 16-1, is world No. 4 Dustin Johnson, who enters off a win at the Travelers.

Top-5 Betting Favorites

Pos-Player(Odds)
1. Justin Thomas (10-1)
1. Bryson DeChambeau (10-1)
3. Patrick Cantlay (12-1)
3. Rory McIlroy (12-1)
5. Dustin Johnson (16-1)

Bet on the Memorial Tournament at DraftKings


The Field: How They Qualified

Jordan Spieth
Jordan Spieth chips in for a birdie on the 11th hole during the first round of The Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village GC on May 30, 2019 in Dublin, Ohio. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Winner – the Memorial Tournament
Patrick Cantlay
Bryson DeChambeau
Jason Dufner
Tom Lehman
David Lingmerth
William McGirt

Winner – THE PLAYERS Championship (2016-2020)
Jason Day
Si Woo Kim
Rory McIlroy
Webb Simpson

Winner – Masters Tournament (2016-2020)
Sergio Garcia
Patrick Reed
Danny Willett
Tiger Woods

Winner – The U.S. Open (2015-2019)
Dustin Johnson
Gary Woodland

Winner – The Open Championship (2015-2019)
Zach Johnson
Shane Lowry
Jordan Spieth

Winner – PGA Championship (2015-2020)
Justin Thomas
Jimmy Walker

Winner – TOUR Championship (2017 & 2018)
Xander Schauffele

Winner – WGC Event – Dell Tech Match Play (2018-2020)
Kevin Kisner
Bubba Watson

Winner – WGC Event – Mexico Championship (2018-2020)
Phil Mickelson

Winner – WGC Event – HSBC Champions (2017-2020)
Hideki Matsuyama
Justin Rose

Winner – Arnold Palmer Invitational (2018-2020)
Marc Leishman

Tournament Winner in Past Year
Daniel Berger
Cameron Champ
Tyler Duncan
Dylan Frittelli
Lanto Griffin
Jim Herman
Viktor Hovland
Sungjae Im
Andrew Landry
Nate Lashley
Collin Morikawa
Sebastián Muñoz
Kevin Na
Joaquin Niemann
J.T. Poston
Chez Reavie
Cameron Smith
Nick Taylor
Brendon Todd
Matthew Wolff

U.S. Ryder Cup Team (2018)
Tony Finau
Rickie Fowler

European Ryder Cup Team (2018)
Paul Casey
Alex Noren
Ian Poulter
Jon Rahm

U.S. Presidents Cup Team (2019)
Matt Kuchar

International Presidents Cup Team (2019)
Byeong Hun An
Abraham Ancer
Adam Hadwin
Haotong Li
Louis Oosthuizen
Cheng Tsung Pan

Winner – U.S. Amateur Championship (2019)
Andy Ogletree

Money List Leaders – International Tours
Padraig Harrington
Matthias Schwab
Jason Scrivener

Sponsors Exemption – Korn Ferry Tour Finals
Zac Blair
Henrik Norlander

Sponsors Exemption – Members not otherwise exempt
K.J. Choi
Ernie Els
Bill Haas
Carl Pettersson
Vijay Singh
Steve Stricker

Sponsors Exemption – Unrestricted
Stewart Cink
Branden Grace
Bo Hoag
Peter Kuest
Patrick Rodgers
Charl Schwartzel

Top 50 – World Golf Ranking
Matthew Fitzpatrick
Bernd Wiesberger
Billy Horschel
Frederick van Rooyen
Victor Perez
Jazz Janewattananond
Matt Wallace
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
Rafa Cabrera Bello
Graeme McDowell
Kevin Streelman

Top 70 – 2019 FedExCup Points List
Jason Kokrak
Brandt Snedeker
Corey Conners
Charles Howell III
Lucas Glover
Kevin Tway
Andrew Putnam
Ryan Palmer
Rory Sabbatini
Harold Varner III
Scott Piercy
Sung Kang
Ryan Moore
Vaughn Taylor
Keith Mitchell
Jim Furyk
Joel Dahmen
Troy Merritt
Max Homa
Wyndham Clark
Emiliano Grillo
Keegan Bradley
Adam Long

Top 70 – 2020 FedExCup Points List
Scottie Scheffler
Harris English
Tom Hoge
Mark Hubbard
Carlos Ortiz
Brendan Steele
Danny Lee
Mackenzie Hughes
Maverick McNealy
Harry Higgs
Brian Harman
Brian Stuard
Talor Gooch
Denny McCarthy
Bud Cauley
Matthew NeSmith
Sepp Straka
Scott Harrington
Doc Redman
Xinjun Zhang


Quotable

Jack Nicklaus
Jack Nicklaus focuses on his ball flight at the 1976 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England, held July 7-10, 1976. Credit: R&A Championships via Getty Images

“I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp, in-focus picture of it in my head. It’s like a color movie.

“First I ‘see’ where I want it to finish, nice and white and sitting up high on the bright green grass. Then the scene quickly changes and I ‘see’ the ball going there: it’s part, trajectory, and shape, even its behavior on landing.

“Then there is this sort of fadeout, and the next scene shows me making the kind of swing that will turn the previous images to reality.”
Jack Nicklaus, founder and host of The Memorial Tournament


Jeff Shain and Joel Cook contributed to this column.


LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here