World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, Top 10 in FedExCup Standings highlight 42nd playing of Memorial
This week at renowned Muirfield Village Golf Club, the Jack Nicklaus-designed jewel in Dublin, Ohio, World No. 1 Dustin Johnson leads a contingent of 120 players, making up one of the PGA TOUR’s strongest fields of the year, in the 42nd edition of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide.
The Memorial Tournament airs Thursday and Friday on Golf Channel from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. ET. Saturday coverage is 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. ET on Golf Channel and 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. ET on CBS. Sunday’s final round airs from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. ET on Golf Channel and 2:30 to 6:00 p.m. on CBS.
The list of players this week includes seven of the top-10 from the Official World Golf Ranking: No. 1 Dustin Johnson, No. 3 Jason Day, No. 4 Hideki Matsuyama (2014 Memorial winner), No. 7 Jordan Spieth, No. 8 Adam Scott, No. 9 Justin Rose (2010 Memorial winner) and No. 10 Rickie Fowler. The 2017 field also boasts all of the top 10 in FedExCup points standings.
Including Rose and Matsuyama, nine past winners of the Memorial Tournament will be returning to Muirfield Village Golf Club. The others are K.J. Choi, Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, David Lingmerth, Carl Pettersson, Vijay Singh and William McGirt, the 2016 winner.
“The best players in the world have always supported the Memorial Tournament, and certainly this year is no different,” said Nicklaus, a Memorial Tournament winner with victories in 1977 and 1984. “I think the field is good—no question about that.”
The players are already raving about this year’s edition of the course Jack Nicklaus designed and opened in 1974—two years before the Memorial’s inaugural playing. This is the first Memorial Tournament under the care of new Golf Course Superintendent Chad Mark, and after Nicklaus toured the course earlier this week, you might say the Golden Bear gave the layout high marks.
“The golf course is in terrific condition,” Nicklaus said Tuesday. “I think the golf course is going to play nicely. And I think we’re going to have a great tournament.”
McGirt is seeking to become the first player to defend his Memorial title since Tiger Woods won his third consecutive Memorial in 2001. Tiger has a record five Memorial victories.
“It’s great to be back here. This is such a fun place,” said defending champion William McGirt, who secured his maiden PGA TOUR victory with his Memorial win last year. He began the final round of the Memorial Tournament tied for the lead at 14 under, before his final-round 1-under 71 resulted in a sudden-death playoff with Jon Curran. On the second extra hole, No. 18, par was good for McGirt’s first victory.
“The first time I came here was 2012,” McGirt recalled. “I was second alternate, and decided to ride up and play practice rounds just in case. I fell in love with the place as soon as the guard opened the gate. It’s one of those places—it’s kind of like Augusta to me—I get giddy when I come here. It’s such a cool spot.”
Matsuyama, currently ranked 2nd in the FedExCup standings and No. 4 in the world, also won his first PGA TOUR event at the Memorial—and in a playoff. The 25-year-old star from Japan holds the average scoring record at Muirfield Village.
“Since winning, these last three years, I’ve come to realize what an important event the Memorial Tournament is and how difficult the course is,” Matsuyama said. “And each year we play, I understand how hard it can play… There’s a different feel here at the Memorial Tournament, whether it’s the course, the fans, or Mr. Nicklaus hosting—it’s a special event and always will be to me.”
In its recent history, the Tournament has favored up-and-comers. Last year, Arizona State’s Jon Rahm received the Jack Nicklaus Award at Muirfield Village Golf Club for collegiate Player of the Year. This year, not only is he in the field, but he comes to Ohio ranked No. 4 in the FedExCup and No. 9 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Rahm won the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open and went on to finish in the top-five in three of his next four events, including a runner-up finish at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, where he lost to Dustin Johnson in the final. Sharing comments in 140 characters or less, Rahm said, “Excited to be playing in my first @MemorialGolf. Mr. Nicklaus has designed an incredible course. #Vamos.”
Billy Horschel also tweeted a rave review: “Love getting up to Ohio for @MemorialGolf. What @jacknicklaus built is here is just awesome.”
The hands-on Nicklaus was visible at practice rounds earlier this week in addition to the Nationwide Pro-Am, highlighted by former NFL MVP Peyton Manning and Ohio State Football Coach Urban Meyer. Then, the Golden Bear was featured in a Military Appreciation Q&A alongside 2017 Memorial Tournament Honoree Greg Norman. Next it was off to the practice range for the Honoree Ceremony. On the eve of competition, Nicklaus also hosted a golf clinic, featuring some of today’s top players.
“I am pleased and excited to welcome so many of the game’s top players to Muirfield Village Golf Club,” the Golden Bear said, “and I look forward to a great week of competition that the fans of Central Ohio will enjoy.”
The full 120-player field list is included below.
An, Byeong Hun
Cabrera Bello, Rafa
de Jonge, Brendon
Hurley III, Billy
Kim, Si Woo
Varner III, Harold