Power Rankings: the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday
4 Min Read
Written by Rob Bolton @RobBoltonGolf
Whether it’s for the legendary milkshakes or the legend’s handshake, the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday has been an annual must-experience for all who have qualified for the 120-man invitational in central Ohio. So, tagging it as a Designated event this season serves more of a promotional purpose than it does a requirement for the Player Impact Program performers. Twist a fella’s arm and all that.
Suffice it to say that the 48th edition of the competition hosted by Jack Nicklaus reflects a familiarly strong and compelling commitment among PGA TOUR members.
Muirfield Village Golf Club is in its third edition post-renovation, but it probably needed just two cycles to present what it’s going to be. More on that and others details beneath the projected contenders.
Defending champion Billy Horschel, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa and recent winners Jason Day and Emiliano Grillo will be among the notables reviewed in Golfbet Insider.
Not long ago, it was reasonable to expect a recurring stage like Muirfield Village to need three years after an extensive facelift for its a new pulse to be widely understood.
The first year requires the roots of new greens to anchor into the earth. The result of the debut often is an anomaly compared to what will follow. Even if mature enough another year on, a second spin has served more as a target than a trend. It was in the third year when it could be assumed that grasses were of age and any inconsistencies in how the course played and challenged previously could be explained, accepted, settled and eliminated.
However, much like the pace at which technology positively has influenced equipment and, therefore, performance among golfers across the spectrum of talent, the timeline to go from redesign to redefinition after a makeover has been shortened. What you see at Muirfield Village this week likely will be what you get henceforth.
All of that is to say that Muirfield Village is the same as it ever was even though that’s a lie. How it plays is all that matters, and it’s the test that continues to define Nicklaus’ modern vision.
There’s room to move it off tees but the longest rough is at least four inches high, so by no means is it a driving range. At 5,000 square feet on average, greens are smaller at which the majority of the field will aim all season. And because the bentgrass surfaces will yield a reading of 13 feet via the Stimpmeter, course management to retain control of the ball is the unquantifiable weapon.
Although Nicklaus vowed that he was done tweaking his home course, that’s pretty much a lie, too, at least in the context of a nonzero likelihood. (To be certain, the heaviest lifting by the heaviest machinery is history.) There are new back tees at the par-3 16th and par-4 17th holes. The former is 20 yards longer and now tips at 220 yards, while the latter stretches another 18 yards to reach 503 yards. At 7,571 yards, the stock par 72 is the longest it’s ever been ready to go for the tournament.
In terms of scoring, last year’s average of 73.064 is in the vicinity of this week’s expectation even though much cooler air blanketed the region in 2022. The weather is going to be ideal. It’s going to be dry all week, daytime highs will be right around 90 degrees and wind shouldn’t factor much if at all, regardless of direction.
Of course, no one can play every week, and PIP performers Tony Finau and Max Homa are burning their allotted DNP this week. Tiger Woods (ankle) and Will Zalatoris (back) remain on long-term mends from surgeries.
The champion will earn 550 FedExCup points and $3.6 million of a record prize fund of $20 million. He’ll also be exempt into THE PLAYERS Championship through 2026 and his membership exemption will be extended through at least the same season.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.com’s Rob Bolton recaps and previews every tournament from numerous perspectives. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.
MONDAY: Power Rankings
WEDNESDAY: Golfbet Insider
SUNDAY: Payouts and Points, Medical Extensions, Qualifiers, Reshuffle
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.
Rob Bolton is a Golfbet columnist for the PGA TOUR. The Chicagoland native has been playing fantasy golf since 1994, so he was just waiting for the Internet to catch up with him. Follow Rob Bolton on Twitter.