|The Memorial Tournament - June 01, 2009
THE MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT
Muirfield Village Golf Club
Par: 36-36—72Yards: 7,366
Winner's FedExCup Points Share: 500
Purse: $6,000,000Winner: $1,080,000
2008 Champion: Kenny Perry (280, -8)
First of Perry's Three 2008 Victories
Came at the Memorial Tournament
Kenny Perry was frustrated when he lost in a playoff to Ryuji Imada at the 2008 AT&T Classic, knowing he had lost a chance to win again on the PGA TOUR. What golf fans didn’t realize is Perry would win a lot deep into his 40s, beginning at the Memorial Tournament.
Two weeks after his disappointment outside Atlanta, Perry won at Muirfield Village Golf Club, taking a two-stroke victory over a quartet of players. It was Perry’s third Memorial title, with the others coming in 1991 and 2003. Perry later won the John Deere Classic and the Buick Open. He’s maintained his winning form in 2009, capturing the FBR Open in February. Perry enters this week’s tournament sixth in the FedExCup standings.
The Memorial Tournament is themed each year around people, living or dead, who have contributed to the game of golf. This was tournament founder Jack Nicklaus' idea as a contribution to perpetuating achievements of the game's greatest individuals. This year’s honorees are World Golf Hall of Fame members JoAnne Carner and Jackie Burke, Jr.
the Memorial Tournament Notes
Kenny Perry will be making his 21st appearance at the Memorial Tournament, where he has three wins, six top-10 finishes and only three missed cuts. Perry has made 15 straight cuts, last not making it to the weekend in 1992 the year after winning his first Memorial Tournament title. He also missed the cut the first two times he played the event, in 1987 and 1989. Tournament host Jack Nicklaus made 30 appearances at the Memorial Tournament, with two wins and six top-10 finishes.
Columbus, OH, native Ben Curtis will make his seventh start at the Memorial Tournament. His best finish is a tie for eighth in 2004. In 20 careers rounds at the event, Curtis only has five rounds under par. Curtis played the last two weeks on the European Tour, tying for sixth at the BMW PGA Championship and tying for eighth at the European Open. At the BMW event at Wentworth Club, Curtis ended his final round with a flourish, finishing birdie-birdie-eagle-eagle.
New Zealand’s Danny Lee will play in the Memorial Tournament this week as the previous year’s U.S. Amateur champion. Before turning pro, Lee won the 2009 Johnnie Walker Classic in Australia on the European Tour. Since turning pro, Lee missed the cut at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and tied for 38th at the Quail Hollow Championship. His best performance was a tie for 13th at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
Chris Wilson, a 2003 graduate of Dublin Coffman High School, where he was a three-time Big Ten Conference Player of the Year, accepted a sponsor’s exemption this week allowing him to make his PGA TOUR debut. In 2005 Wilson won the 99th Ohio Amateur Championship, and in 2006, playing for Northwestern University, won the individual Big Ten title while leading his team to the conference championship. Wilson has been competing on the NGA Hooters Tour since turning professional in 2007.
Kenny Perry won the 2008 Memorial Tournament with an 8-under 280, the highest winning score since 1985 when Hale Irwin won with a 7-under 281. Even though he only finished 8-under, Perry rattled off six consecutive birdies in the first round on holes 11 through 16.
The Memorial Tournament has the longest active playoff drought on the PGA TOUR. The last playoff at the Memorial was in 1992 when David Edwards defeated Rick Fehr. The Buick Open has not had a playoff since 1995.
Kenny Perry (1991, 2003 and 2008) and Tiger Woods (1999-2001) are the only three-time winners of the Memorial Tournament. Besides his three victories, Perry also became the oldest winner in tournament history. He was 47 years, 9 months, 22 days in 2008. Tom Watson held the previous mark at 46 years, 8 months, 28 days.
E NOTES FROM THE PGA TOUR
The top 13 players in the FedExCup standings have all won this year. The top ranked player without a victory is Charley Hoffman who is 14th.
Brian Davis will be looking to extend his streak of consecutive rounds of par or better this week at the Memorial Tournament. Davis has posted 24 consecutive rounds at par or better.
Kenny Perry is back to defend his Memorial title this week and he hasn’t been a one-time wonder at the event. Perry has three victories to his credit at Muirfield Village and has finished in the Top 10 at the tournament in four of the last five years. He’s made the cut in 17 of 20 starts, including the last 15 in a row.
Muirfield Village has proven to be one of the more difficult courses on TOUR over the years. No less than 12 times the Memorial Tournament has had the high cut of the year, including three times where it was 13-over.
There has not been a playoff at the Memorial Tournament since 1992—that’s the longest current streak of any tournament on TOUR.
This is a pretty strong list. Six players have won the Memorial Tournament more than once — Tiger Woods (3), Kenny Perry (3), Jack Nicklaus (2), Hale Irwin (2), Greg Norman (2) and Tom Watson (2).
Steve Stricker can go low. His 63-63--126 start last week at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial has only been topped six times in TOUR history. Earlier this year, Stricker set a PGA TOUR record for consecutive rounds shooting 61-62—123 at the 50th Bob Hope Classic.
Nicholas Thompson will be making his 19th start of the season this week at the Memorial Tournament. That’s the most on TOUR. He’s played every week he’s been eligible to compete this year except one.
There are currently 19 players in their 20s with wins on the TOUR, including 12 with more than one led by Sergio Garcia (7) and Adam Scott (6).
When Chip Beck made a hole-in-one recently at the Senior PGA Championship, he joined a short list of players who have recorded aces on the all three tours. The only others to do so are Dave Barr and Jim Thorpe.
A tip of the cap to 65-year old Bruce Summerhays and 61-year old Tom Jenkins, both of whom finished T6 last week at the Principal Charity Classic.
Look out for Scott Hoch this week at the Triton Financial Classic. In his two previous starts at the tournament he’s finished first (2007) and T2 (2008).
The victory last week by Kevin Johnson at the Rex Hospital Open was his fifth on the Nationwide Tour. Only Sean Murphy, Matt Gogel and Jason Gore (6 each) have won more.
In the 20th year of the Nationwide Tour, it was two veterans of the very first season of the Tour (1990) who battled in a playoff last week at the Rex Hospital Open—Kevin Johnson and Jeff Gallagher.
Steve Stricker’s win last week at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial was the 247th by a former Nationwide Tour player on the PGA TOUR. It was the 10th this season on the PGA TOUR by a Nationwide Tour alumnus. The all-time record is 22 set in 2004.