The weather is heating up, and so are the top players in the world, just in time for the important tournaments of the summer. We move from Texas to Ohio, and Jack Nicklaus’s Memorial Tournamet! Great field, really great course to watch on TV, and hopefully great golf to watch on TV if you’re stuck inside and can’t enjoy the nice weather yourself.
No music video with this week’s song, but this song’s a grower. Gets better with every listen.
What are they Memorializing?
Memorial Day was this past Monday, and the Memorial Tournament is this week. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that the Memorial Tournament was memorializing the same thing that Memorial Day memorializes — soldiers who “died while serving in the country’s armed forces“. Which is something I don’t think a lot of people realize, that Memorial Day isn’t about veterans, they have their own day, called Veterens Day.
The Memorial Tournament has nothing to do with the armed forces, guns, or specifically dead people. Instead, according to the tournament’s website,
The Memorial Tournament is themed each year around a person, living or dead, who has contributed to the game of golf. This was Jack Nicklaus’ idea as a contribution to perpetuating achievements of the game’s greatest individuals. The honoree is selected by the Captains Club, a group of statesmen who act independently of the tournament organization, but who also advise on player invitations and the conduct of the event generally.
That sure seems like a lot of work to do if you’re selected as the honoree, so I doubt there’s actually any work involved other than showing up and getting your name on the “Wall of Honor”.
This year’s honoree is Johnny Miller, and the two posthumous honorees are Leo Diegel and Horton Smith.
About the Course
Built in 1974 by Jack for Jack,Muirfield Village Golf Club currently sits at 7,392 yards, par 72. Back when it was built, it stretched over 7,000 yards which in 1974 made it a long long golf course.
It’s a top rated course on Tour every year, and besides the yearly event, it’s also host of some bigger events, such as the Ryder, Presidents, and Solheim Cups, as well as a US Amateur.
And it’s sexy as hell to look at, even on TV.
Check out all the pics here. Just looking at the course screams a Nicklaus design as well. So many do or die shots, and through in a split fairway and there you have a Nicklaus course! Definitely be cool to play sometime.
As part of an agreement that stretches the sponsorship duties of Nationwide Insurance, the prize money for the Memorial has jumped. From a weak ass purse of only $6.2M last year in 2015, this year’s purse is $8.2M, and per the sponsorship agreement, the purse will increase by $200k every year until 2021. The winner this week will also get $1.53M, which is way up there compared to other normal non-major PGA Tour events. Big money gets big players, so this deal should ensure a top quality field for the foreseeable future.
Who to Watch For
Basically everyone. Because of the timing of the Memorial, after a semi-unappealing Texas swing and two weeks before the US Open meaning perfect prep time. Throw in that Jack Nicklaus is the host (meaning not playing could be considered a slight to one of the best golfers of all time), and that the course is great, and everyone plays. But let’s just concentrate on the top three players in the world shall we?
Jason Day — Dude actually lives in Columbus so this is a pretty much a hometown event for him. Oh, and he won his last start, the Players.
Rory — Two weeks removed from a great win in Ireland, his first since November of last year. Now it’s getting interesting with him. I still say he’s the most talented player out there, and the win two weeks ago (those 3 woods at the end? Swoon) shows he still has the desire. Oh, and he won his last start, the Irish Open.
Spieth — Big winner last week and absolutely put the bad rounds from the Masters and the Byron Nelson behind him. Does this mean he’s playing well? Yes. Does this mean he’ll play well this week? Not necessarily. Oh, and he won his last start, the D&D Invite.
H-Dek — Figured I could throw in Hideki here as well, even though he did not win his last start. He’s playing great overall, finishing 7th, 11th, and 7th his last three starts, and clearly loves this course winning two years ago, and finishing 5th last year. So congrats, H-dek, on earning a spot on this list.
You see there’s a little trend here. If these guys keep playing like this, it’s gonna be a fun summer of golf.