Kevin Chappell carded the only bogey-free round of the week in his final round on Sunday.
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
Minimizing. Matt Kuchar has learned how to minimize mistakes on the golf course. He eliminates the big number and that is why he’s had so many chances to win this season.
It’s not the first mistake that is costly in golf; it’s misjudging the recovery that is so devastating to a good score. Kuchar had eight bogeys the entire week and did not make a single double bogey en route to winning the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance on Sunday in Dublin, Ohio.
Kuchar does not give away shots; not from the tee, not from the fairway and not on the greens. Kuchar is fourth on TOUR in three-putt avoidance this year. He is just 30th in birdies made and yet is sixth in actual scoring at 69.91. Other players may make more birdies but they also throw in some big numbers along the way.
Swirling winds and fast greens made Muirfield Village a very difficult course this week and Kuchar minimized his mistakes to win.
Adjustment: Kevin Chappell had eight bogeys on his first 27 holes of competition. He made one more bogey the entire week. Chappell showed tremendous patience as he ripped off 12 straight pars to begin the final round and then made four birdies on the last six holes. It was the only bogey-free round of the week. He bogeyed the 11th hole on Saturday afternoon and did not give a single shot back for the remainder of the tournament and in the process, almost captured the title.
Greens speed: Players remarked the greens putted faster than they looked. When a putting surface starts rolling in excess of 13 on the Stimpmeter, players can feel the hardness as they walk the green. Tiger Woods remarked his metal spikes did not “crunch” when digging into the putting surfaces and yet the greens were very fast. Muirfield Village always has the healthy greens because it has the best root structure. High winds dried out the greens this week, but the putting surfaces never looked stressed.
Damage control: It was a tough week for some star players. Woods finished T65. Rory McIlroy was T57 and Zach Johnson finished 13 over. Woods had an inordinate amount of big numbers making two triples, three doubles and 11 bogeys. Those are worrisome numbers entering the U.S. Open, a tournament that always magnifies mistakes.
Patience: Kuchar showed great patience at the par-5 11th hole. He hit hybrid off the tee, hybrid for his second and wedge into the green. By laying up off the tee, he eliminated any possibility of reaching the green in two but at the same time played to the strength of his game, which are wedges and putting. The strategy worked, as Kuchar made birdie.
Changes: It’s been a couple seasons since the pond was added in front of the 16th green. There is no doubt it’s a better hole but I still don’t like the look. Every other water feature at Muirfield Village is very natural; a small stream forms a pond in front of a green and then snakes away. The lake on 16 comes out of nowhere.
On the other hand, the clubhouse redesign is a huge winner. The 1974 version had become very dated, looking like something Mike Brady had designed for Carol and the six kids.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here