Lowdown:
The PGA Tour heads for Ohio this week and Jack Nicklaus’s event at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Tiger Woods defends the title in The Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance.

The 220 acres on which Muirfield Village GC sits was acquired in 1966 though the course was not officially opened until 1974. Built in the outskirts of Jack Nicklaus’ hometown of Columbus, the course and the Memorial Tournament were the work and dream of the Golden Bear.

Muirfield Village has played host to the Memorial since 1976 and the course was also used for the 1987 Ryder Cup matches, the 1992 US Amateur and the 1998 Solheim Cup.

Past winners of this tournament include Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Greg Norman, Fred Couples and Tiger Woods. The World Number 1 took this title three years straight from 1999 to 2001, then in 2009 and again in 2012.

Last year, Tiger played an excellent final round of 67 to finish two clear of Andres Romero and Rory Sabbatini. He played one of the shots of his career on the 16th – a sublime floated pitch from thick rough that landed on the green and rolled down a slippery slope all the way into the cup. Tournament host Jack Nicklaus described it as one of the best shots he’d ever seen.

Tiger’s back to defend this week and will start as heavy favourite following his victory at The Players. But, a host of other top names are on the start sheet as they look to the US Open in two weeks time.

A number of top Europeans have made the journey across the Atlantic following the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth last week. Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood will all tee it up. So too will Rory McIlroy. The young Northern Irishman has been struggling with his game in recent months and will be hoping to find a spark this week, as the year’s second Major looms ever larger.

Venue: Muirfield Village Golf Club, Dublin, Ohio
Date: May 30 – Jun 2
Course stats: par 72, 7,265 yards
Purse: $6,200,000 Winner: $1,116,000
Defending Champion: Tiger Woods (-9)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 30 – Sky Sports 3 from 7.30pm
Friday 31 – Sky Sports 3 from 7.30pm
Saturday 1 – Sky Sports 1 from 5.30pm
Sunday 2 – Sky Sports 3 from 5pm

Player Watch:

Matt Kuchar – Was unlucky to finish second last week after a solid performance at Colonial. He’s finished inside the top-10 on his last four starts in this event.

Graham DeLaet – The Canadian faded in the final round last week but is clearly on good form. He’s one of the PGA Tour’s most consistent ball-strikers and that should serve him well this week.

Jimmy Walker – The American has four top-10s on the PGA Tour so far this season and has made 23 consecutive cuts on the circuit – nobody else can currently match that. He’s a good outside chance this week.

Key hole: 17th. A long, 478-yard par 4 that generally plays as one of the most challenging holes on this layout. Trees down the right side can hamper the approach from a tee shot that’s leaked in that direction. The green is small and well guarded and the ball must carry all the way to the surface across a rough-filled valley.

Where next?
European Tour –
Nordea Masters preview