The First Look: the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide
May 24, 2019
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM
- May 24, 2019
Bryson DeChambeau wins the Memorial in a playoff
Tiger Woods gets right back to work as he pursues a sixth title in Jack Nicklaus’ signature event, which annually attracts one of the year’s strongest fields to Muirfield Village. This will be the 44th annual gathering at Jack’s Place.
FedExCup leader Matt Kuchar, Xander Schauffele and Rory McIlroy give the Memorial three of the top four in the PGA TOUR’s season-long points race, while hometown favorite Jason Day also is among those seeking to follow Bryson DeChambeau on the list of Memorial champions.
FIELD NOTES: Justin Thomas is set to tee up for the first time since the Masters, having missed six weeks with a wrist injury that kept him out of the PGA Championship. … In all, the lineup features 23 of the top 30 in the current FedExCup standings. … Former Masters winner Danny Willett, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Alex Noren are part of an especially strong European cadre, with the European Tour’s BMW PGA Championship now repositioned to a fall date. … Phil Mickelson will make his 18th Memorial start, though that still leaves him 12 shy of Nicklaus’ record. … Jovan Rebula, winner of last summer’s British Amateur, tees it up for the seventh time against professional competition. The nephew of Ernie Els also has spots awaiting at the U.S. Open and British Open. Rebula, a junior at Auburn, will be arriving fresh off the NCAA Championship. He won this year’s SEC Championship. … The Memorial’s youth showcase also features: Norman Xiong, winner of last year’s Nicklaus Award as NCAA Division I’s top golfer, and former world No.1 amateur Justin Suh (USC).
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points.
STORYLINES: Woods, who missed the cut at Bethpage Black after not entering any tournament in the afterglow of his Masters triumph, won’t keep the break so long this time. Last year’s share of 23rd was his first top-25 at Muirfield Village since his 2012 victory. … Day once again pursues his first top finish in his adopted hometown, near where wife Ellie grew up. His best finish at Muirfield Village was a share of 15th two years ago. … DeChambeau will try to become just the second man ever to capture back-to-back Memorial titles. Woods claimed three straight from 1999-2001. … Kuchar, Justin Rose and David Lingmerth also seek to become just the seventh multiple winner in Memorial history. … Judy Rankin, twice the LPGA’s Player of the Year before going on to become golf’s first female broadcaster, is this year’s Memorial honoree. Wednesday’s ceremony also will recognize Peter Alliss, now in his sixth decade of broadcasting since his BBC debut at the 1961 British Open.
COURSE: Muirfield Village Golf Club, 7,392 yards, par 72. Built with an eye on hosting significant events, Jack Nicklaus’ hometown showplace opened in 1974 and remains a constant presence among America’s top 20 courses and the world’s top 50. Muirfield Village is the only venue 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.
For those visiting Central Ohio, must-play courses include The Virtues GC (Nashport, Ohio), Golf Club of Dublin (Dublin, Ohio) and Beavercreek GC (Dayton, Ohio). Book your reservations via TeeOff.com.
72-HOLE RECORD: 268, Tom Lehman (1994).
18-HOLE RECORD: 61, John Huston (2nd round, 1996).
LAST YEAR: The third time was the charm for DeChambeau, whose birdie on the third pass through Muirfield Village’s 18th hole finally lifted him to a playoff victory over Byeong Hun An and Kyle Stanley. DeChambeau had a chance to win with a par, but three-putted for bogey and a 1-under-par 71 that opened the door to a playoff. Stanley was eliminated on the first extra hole, while DeChambeau and An both scrambled for par that extended the playoff. This time DeChambeau’s approach came to rest 12 feet behind the pin, and the birdie putt produced his second career victory. Stanley (70) used four straight birdies to put himself in the hunt, but caught an awful break on the final hole of regulation when his tee shot caught a tree limb and caromed all the way across the 18th fairway into deep rough. An closed with a 69.
HOW TO FOLLOW
TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 2:30-6:30 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 12:30-2:45 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS). Sunday, noon-2:15 p.m. (GC), 2:30-6 p.m. (CBS).
PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday, 7:15 a.m.-6 p.m. ET (featured groups). Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (featured groups), 3-6 p.m. (featured holes). Sunday, 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (featured groups), 2:30-6 p.m. (featured holes). International subscribers (via GOLF.tv): Thursday-Friday, 11:15 to 22:00 GMT. Saturday-Sunday, 12:30 to 22:00.