The Memorial Tournament is played at the Jack Nicklaus-owned and designed Muirfield Village. The Golden Bear named the venue after his favourite course on the Open rotation when he bought it in 1966. It’s since become an exclusive neighbourhood but is best known for its 7,392 yard, par 72 course that has hosted some of the PGA Tour’s best since 1976.
Muirfield Village itself is located in the leafy suburb of Dublin in Columbus, Ohio. The Memorial Tournament’s name is derived from the fact that each year they honour a figure or figures from the golfing world for their contribution to the sport. In 2000 the honouree was Nicklaus himself, with others including Seve Ballesteros in 2010, Nick Faldo in 2015 and Judy Rankin in 2019.
|Muirfield Village||7,340 yard||7,392 Yards||$9,300,000|
The Memorial Tournament Recent Winners
|Year||Winner||To Par||Winning Margin|
|2020||Jon Rahm||-9||3 Strokes|
|2019||Patrick Cantlay||-19||2 Strokes|
|2017||Jason Duffner||-13||3 Strokes|
|2013||Matt Kuchar||-12||2 Strokes|
|2012||Tiger Woods||-9||2 Strokes|
|2011||Steve Stricker||-16||1 Stroke|
Muirfield Village Golf Club
Muirfield Village holds a special place on the PGA Tour. Opened in 1974, the course was designed by Jack Nicklaus with the Golden Bear making changes to the layout almost every year to ensure that it remains a challenging test for the best golfers in the world. The course, which was named after the site of Nicklaus’s first Open Championship victory, now holds a unique piece of golfing history as it hosts PGA Tour events in consecutive weeks.
The course is only able to host back to back tournaments because of the excellent and experienced staff on site. They closed the course to players on Monday so divots could be filled in high traffic areas such as those where the majority of players layup, whilst tee boxes and greens have had intensive work. The rough has also been allowed to grow up compared to last week’s Workday Charity Open.
For those who didn’t watch Collin Morikawa beat Justin Thomas in a playoff on Sunday, there are some important things to note about Muirfield Village. The first is that scoring is much tougher on the back nine than the front so players who start on the 10th tee on the first two days will often finish the 18th hole in a lower position on the leaderboard than when they finish the ninth. At 7,329 yards, Muirfield Village is not a long course and whilst the power hitters will look to take lines that those with average length cannot, they will only be able to capitalise if their approach play is on song. It’s that play into the greens which will prove pivotal, it certainly did for Morikawa who topped the rankings for Strokes Gained: Approach last week.
About the Memorial Tournament
The Memorial Tournament was founded by the great Jack Nicklaus back in 1976. The event is one of five tournaments given invitational status by the PGA Tour, meaning it has a field of 120 instead of the usual 156 players.
Back in the 1960s, Nicklaus purchased land in Ohio, with the dream of opening a golf course. The Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio was completed in October 1973, with the first PGA Tour event held on the new course just three years later. The Memorial Tournament has taken place at the same venue every year since then.
Jack Nicklaus named the course after Muirfield in Scotland, where he picked up the first of his three British Open titles in 1966 to win his first of three career grand slam titles. A bronze sculpture of Jack mentoring a young golfer was unveiled at the course in 1999.
Nicklaus picked up two Memorial Tournament wins during his career, with the first of those victories coming in 1977, which was just the second ever tournament. Despite presenting the trophy to himself, Sunday thunderstorms in Ohio forced a Monday finish. The Golden Bear secured his second victory in 1984, beating fellow American Andy Bean in a playoff.
Woods’ Trio of Wins
No golfer has won the Memorial more times than another legend of golf, Tiger Woods. The American’s first victory in this tournament came in 1999, when a young Woods secured a two-stroke win over Vijay Singh. Woods successfully defended his title the following year, which was the first title defence of his career. Tiger was sensational, cruising to a five-shot victory.
Woods then became the first player to win the same PGA Tour three years in a row since Tom Watson’s hat-trick of wins of the Byron Nelson Championship in 1978, 1979 and 1980. Woods went on to win the 2001 Memorial Tournament by a record seven strokes.
Tiger also picked up victories in 2009 and 2012. Woods’ fourth triumph was a one-stroke victory over Jim Furyk, which he followed up with a two-stroke win over Andres Romero and Rory Sabbatini three years later.
Woods’ Memorial Tournament Wins
|Year||Who Tiger Beat|
|1999||2-stroke Win Over Vijay Singh|
|2000||5-stroke Win Over Ernie Els & Justin Leonard|
|2001||7-stroke Win Over Paul Azinger & Sergio Garcia|
|2009||1-stroke Win Over Jim Furyk|
|2012||2-stroke Win Over Andres Romero & Rory Sabbatini|
There have been several high-profile winners of the Memorial Tournament over the years, but not many have won it multiple times. Tiger Woods is out on his own with five victories, with Kenny Perry next up with three wins to his name. Jack Nicklaus, Hale Irwin, Greg Norman and Tom Watson have all won the Memorial Tournament on two occasions.
Multiple Memorial Tournament Winners
|Number of Wins (Years)||Player|
|5 (1999, 2000, 2001, 2009, 2012)||Tiger Woods|
|3 (1991, 2003, 2008)||Kenny Perry|
|2 (1977, 1984)||Jack Nicklaus|
|2 (1983, 1985)||Hale Irwin|
|2 (1990, 1995)||Greg Norman|
|2 (1979, 1996)||Tom Watson|
Azinger’s Amazing Moment
One of the most emotional Memorial moments came in 1993, when Paul Azinger took home the trophy. Payne Stewart missed a par putt to force a playoff, letting Azinger in to win by a single stroke.
Azinger went on to win the New England Classic and the PGA Championship the same year, before sadly being diagnosed with cancer in December. However, Azinger successfully beat cancer after six months of chemotherapy and five weeks of radiotherapy. The former US Ryder Cup captain battled back from the setback to win the 2000 Sony Open in Hawaii, but his win at the Muirfield Village Golf Club in 1993 will be fondly remembered.
Strange Successful in Ohio
Curtis Strange had a fine 1987 Ryder Cup at Muirfield Village, so the Memorial Tournament the following year was always set to be a big one for Strange. The star from Virginia excelled in the 1988 Memorial Tournament, with the fast and firm course favouring his style. Strange went on to win his one and only Memorial Tournament by beating David Frost and Hale Irwin by two strokes.