This week the Tour moves from Texas to Ohio, where the players will compete in The Memorial. The Memorial is played at Muirfield Village Golf Club and is hosted by the legend Jack Nicklaus.
This event holds high prestige with the players, as it is Jacks tournament, resulting in the top players all teeing it up this week. Many players also use The Memorial tournament as a tune up for the US Open (June 13th-16th). We are going to use it as a way to get those accounts nice and full for the US Open. Let’s look a little closer at the track that will test the PGA Tour Pros this week.
Muirfield Village Golf Club is a brilliantly designed 7265-yard, Par 72 golf course. In 1974 Jack Nicklaus and Desmond Muirhead combined to design one of the best courses played on Tour. The course was officially introduced when Jack Nicklaus played Tom Weiskopf in a match on Memorial Day in 1974.
Today the players play on a course that has been slightly altered but still holds the same course vision that it was designed with. Muirfield is the type of course that gives professionals problems if any type of windy conditions occurs. Over the past few seasons is always ranks as one of the more difficult courses played on tour (based on scoring average).
The reason the course plays so difficult is the way Jack envisioned and designed it. The course is played today with 75 well placed bunkers and water that comes into play on 11 different holes. Look for players to be challenged on the large undulating greens that are also home to many subtle breaks.
My favorite hole at Muirfield Village Golf Club is the Par 3 184 yard 12th Hole. The players tee off over a very large pond and hit at a two-tier green. If you miss this oddly shaped green there is a high probability the ball will either be in one of the two bunkers or the water. Large throngs of fans will line this hole, as it is sure to bless them with plenty of entertainment.
As I stated before, we have the worlds best coming this week to play in Jack’s tournament. We have seven of the Top 10 players in the World Golf Rankings and nine of the Top 10 players on the PGA Tour Fed Ex Cup list competing this week. With such a stacked field we can be assured that the cream of the crop will rise up the leader board as the week progresses.
Last years champion Tiger Woods will be back to defend his title this week along with eight other past champions. Justin Rose, Kenny Perry, KJ Choi, Carl Pettersson, Ernie Els, Jim Fuyrk, Fred Couples and Vijay Singh are the other past champions who will be teeing it up this week. Tiger has now won this tournament five times and always steps up his game at Muirfield.
Look for the players who can keep the ball in the fairway and hit plenty of Greens in Regulation this week to succeed. It may seem like a repetitive thing on Tour but I cannot stress how important it is to hit Greens in Regulation. The Tour is home to a plethora of talented putters and the player who has the most opportunities at birdie usually does very well in the tournament.
Steve’s Memorial Tournament Expert Winner Pick
Below is one of Steve’s picks for this weekend’s Memorial Tournament. If you want to get all of his picks you can sign up to become a member at http://www.golfbanker.com.
Keegan Bradley 45 to 1 – Keegan could be the best player on Tour in 2013 without a victory. He has posted six Top 10’s already and has shown his ability to go very low. Bradley came out guns a blazing two weeks ago at the HP Byron Nelson when he carded a 60, a round that included two bogeys. He would eventually finish runner up to Sang Moon Bae, mainly due to a two over par final round 72. He seems to have the type of game that is very transferable between different types of golf courses. I expect that game to once again be in form this week and for Keegan to contend at Muirfield. Keegan ranks 6th on Tour for Total Driving and 8th for Scoring Average. Keegan can attribute much of his low scoring average to his ability to make plenty of birdies. When your watching Bradley this week make note of how well he takes advantage of the Par 5’s (something Tiger has done to achieve his success). Keegan ranks 8th on Tour this season Par 5 Performance and 3rd for Par 5 birdie Average (over 54%). I really like that Keegan is paired with Tiger Woods and Fred Couples the first two days. I feel Keegan will thrive off the excitement (much like last years Ryder Cup), and play extremely well out of the gates.