The PGA Tour travels to Ohio this week for the 34th running of the Memorial Tournament. Kenny Perry defends the title and is one of only two men to have won the event three times. The other is Tiger Woods and he’s also in this year’s field.
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’ home town of Columbus, the course and the Memorial Tournament were the work and dream of the Golden Bear.
Last season, Kenny Perry all but secured his spot in The US Ryder Cup team with victory at Muirfield Village. The Kentuckian has a superb record at the Memorial and he and Tiger Woods are the only men to have won the title on three occasions.
Woods is back in competitive action this week for the first time since the Players Championship. The World Number 1 dominated this tournament around the turn of the century, winning in 1999, 2000 and again in 2001.
Low scoring has been a feature at the Memorial tournament but, last year, Muirfield Village GC (known as Jack’s Place) ranked as the fifth hardest course on the PGA Tour. Kenny Perry’s winning total of 280 (-8) was the highest since 1985.
Venue: Muirfield Village GC, Dublin, Ohio
Course stats: par 72, 7,265 yards
Purse: $6,000,000, Winner: $1,080,000
Defending Champion: Kenny Perry (-8)
Thursday 4 – Live on Setanta Golf from 8pm
Friday 5 – Live on Setanta Golf from 8pm
Saturday 6 – Live on Setanta Golf from 5.30pm
Sunday 7 – Live on Setanta Golf from 5pm
Tiger Woods – When he’s in the field he must start as favourite. Although he’s only played five strokeplay events this season, he’s finished in the top-10 at each of them and has picked up over $2,000,000 in prize money.
Kenny Perry – A three-time winner here and the defending champion, Perry clearly loves the course at Muirfield Village. He’s on great form again in 2009 and will surely contend this week.
Paul Casey – The World Number 3 is, perhaps, the most on-form player in the world at the moment. He’ll be looking to continue that run at the Memorial.
Key hole: 17th. The hole has been revamped and lengthened to 478 yards, it now poses a very stern test. Trees on the right can block out the approach shot to a small, rolling green protected by heavy bunkering and a rough-filled valley at its front.
Skills required: Experience. This is not a venue that tends to throw up first-time winners. A look back at the list of champions since 1995 reads like a who’s who of the PGA Tour – Greg Norman, Tom Watson, Vijay Singh, Fred Couples, Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, Kenny Perry, Ernie Els, Bart Bryant and K.J Choi.