The First Look: the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide
May 30, 2021
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
Jon Rahm wins at the Memorial
A stout field led by the top five in the FedExCup standings will all head to Jack Nicklaus’ renovated Muirfield Village for the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide.
Jon Rahm, whose victory pushed the young Spaniard to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time, is back to defend. The Memorial was the first of two wins last season, marking Rahm’s first multi-win campaign on TOUR.
FIELD NOTES: Bryson DeChambeau, who leads the FedExCup standings and won the 2018 Memorial, will be teeing it up … Other past winners at Jack’s Place who will be in the field include Patrick Cantlay, Jason Dufner, William McGirt and, of course, Rahm. Overall there are six former Memorial winners in the field… Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy, a pair of past FedExCup and PLAYERS champions, head to Muirfield looking for their first titles at the Memorial … Tyler Strafaci and Joe Long earned spots in the field after winning last year’s U.S. Amateur and British Amateur, respectively. Pepperdine alum Sahith Theegala is in the field as last year’s Jack Nicklaus Award winner, given to the top player in college golf … Sponsor exemptions include Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington, who is coming off a fourth-place finish at the PGA Championship; fellow major champions Vijay Singh and Danny Willett; and Bo Hoag who, like Nicklaus himself, played golf at Ohio State and has a deep connection to the Golden Bear.
FEDEXCUP: Winner gets 550 FedExCup points.
COURSE: Muirfield Village Golf Club, par 72, 7,543 yards. The House That Jack Built hosted two consecutive PGA TOUR events in 2020 prior to getting a renovation (Collin Morikawa beat Justin Thomas in a playoff to win the Workday Charity Open in the week preceding the Memorial). The renovation efforts started during the final round of last year’s Memorial Tournament. Turf was being lifted as the leaders were on the back nine. Changes included irrigation work, the addition of a PrecisionAire system, rebuilt fairway and greenside bunkers, reconstruction of the greens, over 140 trees added in various spots (for example, the fairway width on No.13 was reduced), plus resurfaced tee boxes. The course can also play up to 100 yards longer now.
STORYLINES: What will a renovated Muirfield Village look like? Last year, the course played the toughest it had in more than 40 years as the crew let the golf course get firm and fast before being torn up for the renovation. The renovations will challenge the players in a new way … Rahm is looking to become the first man to defend his title at the Memorial since Tiger Woods in 2001 (that was actually Woods’ third consecutive title) … Seven of the top-10 golfers in the world will be teeing it up at the Memorial… A limited number of spectators will be allowed to attend. The tournament is also taking the unprecedented step of offering COVID-19 vaccinations to on-site spectators June 4-6… With the Memorial Day weekend in the rear-view mirror, the FedExCup race is heating up. And with 550 FedExCup points available to the winner at the Memorial, it’s a fine opportunity for someone to make a big-time jump.
72-HOLE RECORD: 268, Tom Lehman (1994)
18-HOLE RECORD: 61, John Huston (2nd round, 1996)
LAST YEAR: Despite shooting 75 in the final round, Jon Rahm captured the 2020 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide and in the process got to No. 1 in the world. Rahm had an eight-shot lead as he made the turn Sunday in 2020, but he came home in 5-over 41. The highlight for Rahm came on the par-3 16th as he flopped in a pitch for birdie and unleashed a big fist pump… until it was revealed the ball moved slightly when he placed his wedge behind it, and he was assessed a two-shot penalty. It was no matter, however, as he notched his fifth TOUR title. Rahm’s 9-under 279 was good for a three-shot victory over Ryan Palmer. It was the highest winning score at Memorial since Woods shot the same number in 2012. Rahm and Palmer paired to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans a year earlier. Matthew Fitzpatrick finished 5 under and alone in third place; his 68 was the only sub-70 score in the final round. Matt Wallace and Muirfield Village member Jason Day rounded out the top five. Only nine players finished under par. Tiger Woods, in his first start back after the COVID-19 break, finished T40.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Television: Thursday-Friday, 3 p.m.-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 12:30 p.m.-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3 p.m.-6 p.m. (CBS). Sunday, 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. (Golf Channel), 2:30 p.m.-6 p.m. (CBS).
PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday 7:15 a.m.-7 p.m. (Featured Groups). Saturday, 7:45 a.m.-3 p.m. (Featured Groups), 3 p.m.-6 p.m. (Featured Holes). Sunday, 7:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Featured Groups), 2:30 p.m.-6 p.m. (Featured Holes).
Radio: Thursday-Friday, 12 p.m.-6:30 p.m ET. Saturday-Sunday, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. ET. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com/liveaudio).
TOUR Pulse: Get the PGA TOUR app to utilize TOUR Pulse, which provides users the ability to experience a mix of content, such as video highlights, written hole summaries and stat graphics on every player after every hole they complete.