|Memorial Tournament - May 26, 2008
THE MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT
PRESENTED BY MORGAN STANLEY
Muirfield Village Golf Club
Par: 36-36—72Yards: 7,366
FedExCup Points: 25,000Winner: 4,500
Purse: $6,000,000Winner: $1,080,000
2007 Champion: K.J. Choi (271, -17)
Memorial Tournament Notes
Phil Mickelson returns to Muirfield Village Golf Club this week after a wrist injury forced him to withdraw after 11 holes of the first round of the 2007 event. Mickelson has recorded five top-10s in 12 events, including victories at the Northern Trust Open and last week's Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. Mickelson has 34 career wins, 13th on the PGA TOUR career victories list.
Bob Sowards, a former assistant professional at Muirfield Village Golf Club, is a rookie on the PGA TOUR after earning his card via a tie for 23rd at the 2007 PGA TOUR National Qualifying Tournament. Sowards was the PGA Club Professional Player of the Year from 2003-05 and won the 2004 PGA Professional National Championship. This is Sowards’ second exemption into the Memorial Tournament. He also played in the 2005 tournament and finished 79th. His best finish in 2008 is tie for 54th at the Puerto Rico Open presented by Banco Popular.
At the 2007 PGA TOUR National Qualifying Tournament, Travis Perkins, a native of Springfield, OH, made it through all three stages and tied for ninth at the finals to earn full exemption onto the 2008 PGA TOUR. Perkins, who attended Olentangy High School, located 12 miles northeast of Muirfield Village, will be celebrating his 31st birthday this week (May 30).
The tournament’s primary beneficiary is the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, a relationship that dates back 30 years. Close to $4 million has been donated by the tournament to the hospital, which is also the title sponsor of a Nationwide Tour event in late July.
This year, former players Tony Jacklin, Ralph Guldahl, Charles Blair MacDonald and Craig Wood will be honored by the tournament, with Ken Bowden recognized as the journalism honoree.
Three players have made the Memorial Tournament their first PGA TOUR victory: Keith Fergus (1981), Kenny Perry (1991) and Tom Lehman (1994).
Only eight times has a player managed to record four rounds in the 60s at the Memorial Tournament: The first to do it was Hal Sutton in 1986. The others are Bart Bryant (2005), Tiger Woods (2001), Fred Couples (1998 and 2004), Steve Elkington (1995), Tom Lehman (1994) and Paul Azinger (1993).
While the Memorial Tournament has always had a strong international contingent of players each year, only six different international players have won the event: David Graham (Australia, 1980), Greg Norman (Australia, 1990 and 1995), Vijay Singh (Fiji, 1997), Ernie Els (South Africa, (2004, Carl Pettersson (Sweden, 2006) and K.J. Choi (South Korea, 2007).
In the history of the Memorial Tournament, only five players in their 40s have won. They are Jack Nicklaus (1984), Greg Norman (1995), Tom Watson (1996), Kenny Perry (2003) and Bart Bryant (2005). Watson is the oldest champion at 46 years, 271 days.
- You might want to keep on eye on Fred Couples this week at the Memorial Tournament presented by Morgan Stanley. In his last 10 starts in the event, Couples has six Top-10 finishes, including a victory and two seconds. In his last 12 rounds at Muirfield Village, Couples has broken par 11 times.
- Phil Mickelson’s shot on 18 last week is the one everyone will remember, but the fact that he was 9 for 9 in Sand Saves might actually be the reason he won last week’s Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
- One more on Mickelson: If he finishes first or solo second this week at the Memorial, he will move into first place in the FedExCup standings. He’s currently 2,399 points behind Tiger Woods.
- There’s a strong field assembled this week at the Memorial with seven of the Top-10 players in the current FedExCup standings on board.
- He’s been fighting back problems for the last few seasons, but Ben Crane looks like he might be regaining his top form. In his last two starts, Crane has finished T6-5 for his first back-to-back Top-10 efforts since late in the 2005 season. He’s currently 37th in the FedExCup standings.
- Who 3-putts the least on TOUR? Craig Kanada has only 3-putted three times this season (468 total holes). That works out to 0.64% of the time.
- There are a lot of reasons for the success Tiger Woods has enjoyed, but here’s a pretty significant one—he leads the TOUR in Scrambling, getting up and down 74.03% of the time. The TOUR average, by the way, is 57.34%.
- You can’t have a much closer race than the one in the Charles Schwab Cup competition. Bernhard Langer leads Jay Haas by a single point, 1413-1412.
- More on Langer-Haas: Last week, Haas was the winner with Langer second. Langer leads the Tour in Scoring Average at 69.74 while Haas is second at 69.79. Haas, however, leads the All-Around category with Langer in second. Finally, Langer leads the money list with Haas right behind him.
- Joey Sindelar, a rookie on the Champions Tour, had his best finish to date when he T3 last week at the Senior PGA Championship. He’s 31st on the money list after only six starts with $258,251.
- Ronnie Black, a two-time winner on the PGA TOUR, will make his Champions Tour debut this week at the Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines, IA.
- The winner of this week’s Bank of America Open will have a huge leg up on finishing among The 25 and gaining his PGA TOUR card for 2009. All six previous winners of this event have gone on to graduate to the TOUR that year.
- Ricky Barnes has three Top-10 finishes in a row to his credit, including a T7 last week. Never before in his career has he had as many as two in a row.
- Jeff Brehaut’s T2 last week at the Melwood Prince George’s County Open was his best finish on either the Nationwide Tour or PGA TOUR since he lost in a playoff at the 1997 Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open. He played in 287 events (60 Nationwide Tour-227 PGA TOUR) events over that span.
- Prior to the South Georgia Classic back in early May, David Mathis was in 58th place on the money list. Since then, however, he’s finished T6-1-T2 and now leads the money list with $223,679.