Insights

The Memorial Tournament: Preview

Jon Rahm heads to a very different looking Memorial Tournament to try and defend the title he won last year.

Jack Nicklaus has made changes to every hole at the Muirfield Village Golf Club in an attempt to make it a tougher test. 

There have been alterations to the greens, bunkers have been added and the rough has been made more difficult to play out of, too. 

The most dramatic make-over has been made to the par-five 15th, with the entire hole being dug up and elevation changes have been introduced to make the hole more difficult. If that’s not enough, the course is over 100-yards longer. 

Anyone can win

The Memorial tournament is going to go down to the wire if history is a good indicator, and a new winner will likely be crowned. 

Since the turn of the millennium, only Kenny Perry (twice) and Tiger Woods (four times) have won the event on multiple occasions. 

What’s more interesting is that the winner of this event has been decided by a playoff in four of the last seven runnings. Whether that will be of any importance at such a different looking course will be seen come Sunday. 

Who’s in with a chance? 

It seems like it is always the same payers there or thereabouts come the end of the tournament, and it is not expected to be much different this week. 

The Memorial Tournament tends to be a good stepping stone for up-and-coming talent and who better than Viktor Hovland and Joaquin Niemann to fit the description. Both players are very young, but experienced enough to get the job done. 

Another player who could add his name to the winners list could be Xander Schauffele. There’s absolutely no reason for him to win this week, yet on his day, he is a world class golfer. 

The problem for Schauffele is that he finds it difficult to get over the line which he is trying to solve using psychology books. 

Other players in with a chance are Collin Morikawa, if he can sort out his putting, Ricky Fowler who tends to do well here – runner-up twice – and Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, who won at the Memorial in 2014. Reigning champion Jon Rahm is unlikely to get close as he has been in terrible form since winning the tournament, last year.

Arguably the player to be will be Jordan Spieth. The American squandered a huge opportunity last week, and could make up for it immediately. 

A good way to prepare for the US Open? 

Usually, the Memorial Tournament would give an idea to who is in good form going into the US Open, but that wouldn’t really mean much as Muirfield Village GC is a much easier challenge than whatever the players would be facing at the US Open. 

This year, however, this is not the case. The Memorial Tournament is expected to be a much more punishing course, with many difficult holes and low scoring. Keeping the ball in play will be the difference between winning, and missing the cut. 

If you can do it here, then you may be in with half a chance at Torrey Pines.

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