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      Power Rankings: the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance

    • Dustin Johnson owns three top-20 finishes in six starts at Muirfield Village. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Dustin Johnson owns three top-20 finishes in six starts at Muirfield Village. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

    It wouldn't be a Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance without numerous enhancements and alterations to Muirfield Village Golf Club from the previous year. It's just that this year's edition will be contested more as a result of reactionary adjustments.

    Many tournament host sites would sit out a year when preparing to stage a global event like The Presidents Cup as Muirfield Village did last fall. Figure in unfavorable conditions for the biennial event followed by one of the coldest winters on record in Columbus, Ohio, and the combination of challenges would seem to be a groundskeeper's nightmare.

    "Some of our grasses aren't matching up (in color) the way we want them to, but they will," tournament host Jack Nicklaus told The Columbus Dispatch for a story that ran on Monday. "It will just take a little time because it's new grass. But as far as the playing surfaces, (they're) perfect. (Superintendent) Paul (Latshaw) has done a great job getting the golf course in shape."

    In addition to countless truckloads of newly laid sod, Nicklaus estimated that 30 acres of rough had to be overseeded. However, Muirfield Village doesn't penalize wayward tee balls anyway. Defending champion Matt Kuchar proved this by ranking T37 in fairways hit. Meanwhile, he led the field in greens in regulation and placed second in strokes gained-putting. He missed only one of 56 attempts from 7 feet and in, 17 of which were from outside 3 feet.

    Not long by most measurements, Kuchar ranked 23rd in distance of all drives at 282.7 yards en route to victory. However, while the 7,352-yard Muirfield Village finished the season 15th in the same stat, its split landed at just 280.1 yards, so Kuchar was longer than average.

    The course was completed in 1974, but it's a modern-day Nicklaus design in that the challenge increases nearer each hole. To wit, it ranked 15th in greens in regulation at 61.43 percent last year. Putting surfaces averaging just 5,000 square feet aid in limiting eagle and birdie opportunities, but salvaging par is no gimme. Muirfield Village finished fifth in scrambling at 51.49 in 2013. That's very much in line with its recent history.

    It is no surprise then that Muirfield Village has been the hardest par 72 in a non-major two years running. Last year's scoring average was 73.256.

    Rain and storms are expected to be gone by the first tee time on Thursday morning. From that point forward, it should be dry with high temperatures in the low 80s. Winds will be moderate at worst.

    Power Rankings: The Memorial Tournament

    Rank

    Player

    Comment

    1 Matt Kuchar Matt Kuchar

    Defending champion fulfilled upward trend here that began with a T13 in 2007. Five top 10s. Missed cut at Colonial provided chance to rest.

    Defending champion fulfilled upward trend here that began with a T13 in 2007. Five top 10s. Missed cut at Colonial provided chance to rest.

    2 Dustin Johnson Dustin Johnson

    Finished T7 and T14, respectively, on the Texas Swing. Three top 20s in six starts at Muirfield Village, including a solo fourth in 2011.

    Finished T7 and T14, respectively, on the Texas Swing. Three top 20s in six starts at Muirfield Village, including a solo fourth in 2011.

    3 Rory McIlroy Rory McIlroy

    Consummated a strong run with a come-from-behind victory at BMW PGA Championship. Top 10s in eight of nine stroke-play starts in 2014.

    Consummated a strong run with a come-from-behind victory at BMW PGA Championship. Top 10s in eight of nine stroke-play starts in 2014.

    4 Adam Scott Adam Scott

    Solidified top-of-the-world ranking with a win at Colonial. He's 7-for-8 at Muirfield Village with three top 15s, including a T13 last year.

    Solidified top-of-the-world ranking with a win at Colonial. He's 7-for-8 at Muirfield Village with three top 15s, including a T13 last year.

    5 Jim Furyk Jim Furyk

    Settled for a T51 at Colonial. Top 20s in previous six starts. Third in all-time earnings at Memorial; 2002 champ; 13 top 25s in 18 starts.

    Settled for a T51 at Colonial. Top 20s in previous six starts. Third in all-time earnings at Memorial; 2002 champ; 13 top 25s in 18 starts.

    6 Justin Rose Justin Rose

    Last to make Memorial site of a PGA TOUR breakthrough (2010); six top 15s in nine starts. Top 15s in five of last seven starts worldwide.

    Last to make Memorial site of a PGA TOUR breakthrough (2010); six top 15s in nine starts. Top 15s in five of last seven starts worldwide.

    7 Luke Donald Luke Donald

    Tied for third at the BMW PGA Championship. Four top 10s in last eight starts worldwide. Top 25s in his last five trips to Memorial.

    Tied for third at the BMW PGA Championship. Four top 10s in last eight starts worldwide. Top 25s in his last five trips to Memorial.

    8 Gary Woodland Gary Woodland

    Thirteen consecutive cuts made; four top 10s and another five top 25s. T7 in last start at Nelson. Two top 20s in three tries at Memorial.

    Thirteen consecutive cuts made; four top 10s and another five top 25s. T7 in last start at Nelson. Two top 20s in three tries at Memorial.

    9 J.B. Holmes J.B. Holmes

    First appearance since a personal-best T13 in 2012 in what was his seventh consecutive try. Winner at Quail Hollow four weeks ago.

    First appearance since a personal-best T13 in 2012 in what was his seventh consecutive try. Winner at Quail Hollow four weeks ago.

    10 Charl Schwartzel Charl Schwartzel

    He's 6-for-6 at Muirfield Village with career-best T8 last year when he held the 18-hole lead. Top 20s in four of last seven starts in 2014.

    He's 6-for-6 at Muirfield Village with career-best T8 last year when he held the 18-hole lead. Top 20s in four of last seven starts in 2014.

    11 Rory Sabbatini Rory Sabbatini

    Co-runner-up in his last appearance in 2012. Top 20s in last five trips dating back to 2004. Two top 10s in last six starts this season.

    Co-runner-up in his last appearance in 2012. Top 20s in last five trips dating back to 2004. Two top 10s in last six starts this season.

    12 Jordan Spieth Jordan Spieth

    Top 15s in five of his last seven starts, including a T14 at Colonial. Closing 68 in his debut here last year chased a third-round 82.

    Top 15s in five of his last seven starts, including a T14 at Colonial. Closing 68 in his debut here last year chased a third-round 82.

    13 Jason Dufner Jason Dufner

    First appearance since 2010; 0-for-2 at Muirfield Village. Fresh off a playoff loss at Colonial where he was T5 in GIR and T6 in proximity.

    First appearance since 2010; 0-for-2 at Muirfield Village. Fresh off a playoff loss at Colonial where he was T5 in GIR and T6 in proximity.

    14 Phil Mickelson Phil Mickelson

    First start since missing PLAYERS cut. Top 20s in four of last eight starts. Top 20s in three of last four trips to Muirfield Village.

    First start since missing PLAYERS cut. Top 20s in four of last eight starts. Top 20s in three of last four trips to Muirfield Village.

    15 Brian Davis Brian Davis

    Top 25s in the last three editions of the Memorial; T8 in 2013. Top 15s in two of his last three starts, including a T14 at Colonial.

    Top 25s in the last three editions of the Memorial; T8 in 2013. Top 15s in two of his last three starts, including a T14 at Colonial.

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