The First Look: Memorial Tournament
May 26, 2017
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM
- May 26, 2017
- World No.3 Jason Day returns to his adopted hometown to win in front of friends and wife's family. (Ryan Young/PGA TOUR)
• FIELD: See who's playing this week.
• COURSE: Muirfield Village Golf Club, 7,392 yards, par 72. Envisioned by Jack Nicklaus as a stage to both honor golf’s history and showcase its current talent, Muirfield Village opened in 1974 and has become a not only a favorite PGA TOUR stop but an occasional venue for bigger events. Now in its fourth decade as Memorial host, Jack’s Place also is the only locale to host all three of U.S. pro golf’s team match-play showcases – Ryder Cup (1987), Solheim Cup (1998) and Presidents Cup (2013). The U.S. Amateur also paid a visit in 1992. With constant fine-tuning by Nicklaus and his design team, Muirfield Village consistently has ranked among America’s top 20 courses and the world’s top 50.
• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points.
• CHARITY: Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, which serves as primary supporter of Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Additional donations spread across Central Ohio include James Cancer Hospital, Fore Hope and The First Tee of Central Ohio.
• FIELD WATCH: FedExCup leader Dustin Johnson and World No.3 Jason Day, who makes Columbus his adopted hometown, highlight a lineup that features seven of the top 10 in the rankings and 18 of the top 30. … No.2 Rory McIlroy had committed, but withdrew after a flareup of the rib injury that sidelined him earlier this year. … Jon Rahm, winner of the Nicklaus Award just a year ago as the top golfer in NCAA Division I, now tees it up at No.12 in the world rankings. … Peter Uihlein, the 2010 U.S. Amateur champion who plies his trade on the European Tour, will tee it up on U.S. soil for the third time this year. … Reigning U.S. Amateur champion Curtis Luck also will tee it up.
• 72-HOLE RECORD: 268, Tom Lehman (1994).
• 18-HOLE RECORD: 61, John Huston (2nd round, 1996).
• LAST YEAR: William McGirt made his first PGA TOUR victory one to remember, going bogey-free for his final 22 holes at Muirfield Village to outlast Jon Curran on the second hole of a playoff. McGirt parred his final four holes to secure victory, all in nail-biting fashion. The South Carolina pro saved par from a bunker at No.17 and two-putted from 65 feet to get into the playoff, then found himself in a deep bunker on the first extra hole. He used the slope behind the hole to get up and down, then played a superb flop shot on the second replay to par again. Curran’s approach on the second extra hole flew into the gallery above the hole, and his pitch ran well past the flagstick for a decisive bogey. McGirt’s victory came in his 165th career PGA TOUR start.
• STORYLINES: Johnson, who missed last year’s playoff by a stroke, hopes Muirfield Village will restore the edge that led to three straight wins before a slip-and-fall accident that forced him out of the Masters. His past two starts have been 12th at THE PLAYERS and 13th at the AT&T Byron Nelson. … Day seeks again to win his first in front of friends and wife Ellie’s family, or at least his first top-25 at Muirfield Village. Last year’s share of 27th matched his best at Jack’s Place, though he does arrive off a playoff loss at the AT&T Byron Nelson. … Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose, Russell Knox and Uihlein are among 10 players coming to Muirfield Village following this week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
• SHORT CHIPS: Greg Norman, who topped the PGA TOUR in earnings three times while winning two British Open crowns and 89 other tournaments worldwide, is this year’s Memorial honoree. Wednesday’s ceremony also will recognize Jerry Tarde, now in his 30th year as Golf Digest’s top editor. … Six of the Memorial’s past 13 champions have been international players. Before that, just three of the first 27 came from outside the United States. … Just one man has ever won back-to-back Memorial titles: Tiger Woods, who claimed three straight from 1999-2001. ... Just 12 months after his playoff loss, Curran wasn't able to crack this year's lineup.
• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 2:30-6:30 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 12:30-2:30 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS). Sunday, noon-2 p.m. (GC), 2:30-6 p.m. (CBS).
• PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (featured groups), 3:30-6:30 p.m. (featured holes). Saturday-Sunday, 8:15 a.m.-6 p.m. (featured holes).
• RADIO: Thursday-Friday, noon-7 p.m. ET; Saturday-Sunday, 1-6 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com).