The eyes of the golf world will be on Central Ohio this week, as Muirfield Village Golf Club will host The Memorial Tournament presented by Workday. The annual tournament falls two weeks after the PGA Championship, and two weeks before this year’s U.S. Open, which will take place this year at The Country Club in Brookline, MA. This week’s tournament will likely be the last time we see some of the top golfers in the world in action before golf’s next major in two weeks.
How it all started
Unless you were born under a rock, you know that Jack Nicklaus not only was born in Columbus, he was a standout at The Ohio State University. Nicklaus designed Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, which opened in 1974. The first Memorial Tournament was held in 1976, with Roger Maltbie taking home the inaugural title. Nicklaus won the second edition of the tournament in 1977, earning the first of his two wins at the event that he created.
While it’s not one of golf’s major tournaments, The Memorial is one of the most notable annual events on the PGA Tour. What makes The Memorial so special is that it is one of five “invitational” tournaments on the tour, meaning it has a field of only 120 players, where normal tournaments have 156 players entered. While most tournaments have open qualifying, The Memorial Tournament does not.
Last year’s tournament
After Muirfield Village hosted two events in 2020 in back-to-back weeks, the tour’s schedule returned to normal last year. Even though COVID-19 wasn’t seen as serious enough to keep spectators from taking in the tournament in Dublin, it did have a huge impact on the event. After finishing up his third round with a six-shot lead, defending champion Jon Rahm was informed that he tested positive for COVID-19, which meant he wouldn’t be able to play in the final round of the tournament.
With Rahm out of the tournament, Patrick Cantlay and Collin Morikawa were both left to fight for the title, as both entered the final round at -12. 18 holes weren’t enough to settle things between the golfers. On the first playoff hole, Cantlay was able to record a par on the 18th hole, earning him the second Memorial Tournament title of his career. Cantlay joined Nicklaus, Hale Irwin, Greg Norman, and Tom Watson as two-time winners of the event. If Cantlay wins again, he’ll be tied for second with Kenny Perry for most wins at The Memorial, and be two wins behind Tiger Woods for most all-time.
This year’s notable players
With Scottie Scheffler not playing this week, Rahm will be the highest ranked player in this year’s field. Had it not been for his positive COVID-19 test last year, Rahm would be entering this year’s Memorial Tournament as a two-time defending champion. Rahmbo will be looking for his second victory in just over a month after winning the Mexico Open. A strong performance this week will give Rahm momentum heading into the U.S. Open, where he is the defending champion.
The Aussie hasn’t had much success at Jack’s Place, missing the cut in two of the last three years at Muirfield Village. After winning the Players Championship this year, it feels like Smith is close to busting through and winning his first major championship. A strong showing at The Memorial would give the third-ranked golfer in the world a boost heading into the U.S. Open in two weeks.
It’s hard to remember that Morikawa is just 25 years old, since he already has two major championship wins under his belt. Morikawa hasn’t had much trouble figuring out Murifield Village in his young career, winning the Workday Charity Open in 2020, and taking Cantlay to a playoff last year. Morikawa is still looking for his first win in 2022.
Patty Ice will be looking to make it back-to-back wins at Muirfield Village, and three wins in his last four trips to Dublin. Cantlay’s only win of 2022 came at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, where he teamed with Xander Schauffele to win by two strokes in late April. That doesn’t mean Cantlay hasn’t been in contention in other events though, as he lost in playoffs at the Phoenix Open and the RBC Heritage.
The golfer from Northern Ireland is knocking on the door of a tournament win. Even though he hasn’t claimed victory in 2022, McIlroy is playing some of the best golf on the tour this year, finishing second at The Masters, and following that performance up with an eighth place finish at the PGA Championship. Even though he has an incredible list of tournaments won during his career, McIlroy is still looking for his first victory at The Memorial.
After starting off his career with 11 wins between 2013 and 2017, Jordan Spieth has had a hard time earning victories since, with just two victories since the start of the 2018 season. Spieth has been better over the last two years though, winning the Texas Open last year, and posting the low score at the RBC Heritage in April. Spieth enters this week’s tournament as the 10th-ranked golfer in the world.
Where to watch?
If you’re not going to Muirfield Village to take in this year’s tournament, you’ll be able to watch the action from the comfort of your own home. Thursday and Friday’s coverage will be provided by The Golf Channel and ESPN+, while Saturday and Sunday will have CBS handling the action. Usually CBS has Jack Nicklaus on for at least some of this weekend’s coverage. It will be interesting how much CBS has Nicklaus on considering his recent comments about the PGA Championship being moved from a Donald Trump course, as well as Nicklaus being sued by his own company.
What’s the weather going to be like?
Normally it seems like The Memorial is a magnet for rain. While this year’s tournament will likely feature some rain on Thursday, the weather should clear out nicely for the rest of the weekend. Along with sunny conditions, the temperatures should be perfect for the weekend as well, with highs around 80 in the forecast.