Preview: The Memorial Tournament
Jack Nickalus’ Memorial Tournament turns 39 this year, returning to picturesque Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.
Hideki Matsuyama is the defending champion, the first non-American to have won the event since Justin Rose in 2010. The most prolific former champion in the field is four-time winner Tiger Woods, who has been inactive since The Masters, and sunk lower in the rankings, now No. 172 in the world.
Woods’ last victory here came in 2012, his fifth at the tournament.
Here are some of the most appealing early-round pairings:
Woods, Jason Day, Patrick Reed. Tiger’s kind of an old guy with two of the better young players on tour. Day would love a second PGA win this year – he took the Farmer’s in February in a four-man playoff Reed is also after a second win in 2015, having taken the Hyundai Tournament of Champions earlier this year.
Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Bill Haas. Spieth doesn’t ever seem to get tired, this is his fifth tournament in six weeks, at a point where one would think he’d be hanging back a bit with the US Open two weeks away. Rose won the title here in 2010, and is looking for his second PGA title in six weeks after winning at New Orleans in late April. Haas won the Humana Challenge back in January.
Matsuyama, Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler. Fowler did the Tour well at the Irish Open last week, holding his own against the wind and the tough course itself. Matsuyama gets considerable buzz as defending champion, but when you talk about June, well, Mickelson and his US Open woes are always a topic. Thing is, he’s in the longest title drought of his career save one, the span between his first title (January 1991) and second (February 1993). His last title was the 2013 Open Championship, a full 27 months ago.