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Memorial Tournament preview

Jason Day of Australia lines up a putt on the 17th hole at Quail Hollow. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Roar Guru
30th May, 2018
4

Last week saw Justin Rose record his second victory of the wrap-around season in emphatic style, recording four flawless rounds at the Colonial Country Club.

This week the PGA Tour turns its attention to Dublin, Ohio for the Memorial Tournament. The host course is Muirfield Village Golf Club, a par 72 measuring 7,392 yards. One of the most iconic courses on the tour, Muirfield Village is renowned for its pristine conditioning, speedy greens and penal rough.

A tournament hosted by Jack Nicklaus, the Memorial always attracts a world-class field. This week is no different.

Tiger Woods makes his first start since his T11 at the Players, where he flirted with the lead on Sunday. Woods has made six straight cuts including four finishes inside the top-15. A five-time champion of this event, Tiger, has historically relished the Ohio layout, including a stunning finish in 2012.

This week presents one of the best chances for Woods to breakthrough for the first time since 2013.

Australian Jason Day is also making his first appearance since his fifth-place finish at TPC Sawgrass. The Ohio resident has been incredibly consistent over the past ten months.

Since the Open Championship in July 2017, Jason has finished inside the top-25 in every single appearance, including two victories this season.

Day is a phenomenal player and possesses the best short-game on tour by a country mile, with daylight second.

Marc Leishman has a phenomenal record at Muirfield Village. The world number 16 has a remarkable history at Muirfield Village. The Victorian has made every cut at this event since 2010, including a fifth-place finish in 2015.

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Leishman is coming off a second-place finish a fortnight ago in Dallas and is one of the most entertaining players on tour. His laidback demeanour closely resembles his Warrnambool upbringing.

As is synonymous with Jack Nicklaus designed courses, Muirfield Village places an incredible emphasis on ball-striking.

This was proven when 2017 champion Jason Dufner and 2014 champion Hideki Matsuyama, who managed to claim victory despite both losing shots to the field putting.

Over the past six years, winners of this event have gained on average more strokes approaching the green than all the other skill facets combined.

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Subsequently, strokes gained approaching the green and greens in regulation (GIR) gained are highly predictive statistics for this week. Greens in regulation gained measures the amount of greens hit against the field average.

The top-10 of these aggerated statistics

1. Adam Hadwin
2. Justin Thomas
3. Ryan Moore
4. Bryson DeChambeau
5. Henrik Stenson
6. Adam Scott
7. Bubba Watson
8. Jordan Spieth
9. Emiliano Grillo
10. Joaquin Niemann

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A third of the holes at Muirfield Village fall between 450-500 yards and five other holes falling just outside this range. Over the past six years, Strokes gained par-four has contributed more to victory than proficiency on other par holes.

The top-10 of these aggerated statistics

1. Justin Thomas
2. Dustin Thomas
3. Bryson DeChambeau
4. Jason Day
5. Patrick Reed
6. Adam Hadwin
7. Tiger Woods
8. Charles Howell III
9. Rory McIlroy
10. Kevin Streelman

Predictions

Ryan Moore is one of the elite iron players on the PGA Tour, ranking third in the field for GIR gained and eighth in strokes gained ball-striking over the last 24 rounds.

Over his last five tournaments, Moore has gained eight strokes tee-to-green and 4.2 strokes approaching the green.

The rough is incredibly penal at Muirfield Village and Moore ranks first in fairways gained and sixth in good drives gained. Recently Moore’s putting has been poor, losing almost two strokes to the field over the last five tournaments.

As has been previously discussed, putting has historically played a minimal role in determining the winner of this tournament and Ryan Moore is in a great position to play well this week.

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Henrik Stenson has shown tremendous form so far this season, finishing in the top-six in three of his last four starts.

The Swede is a dominate ball-striker, gaining over three strokes approaching the green over his previous five tournaments. Stenson ranks first in GIR gained, and second in fairways gained and strokes gained par-four.

Despite not playing in this event since 2013, Stenson is a world-class player that possess all the skills required to perform well this week.

Bryson DeChambeau has been unbelievably consistent this year. The young American has made eight straight cuts including four top-five finishes. DeChambeau is first in the field for strokes gained approach and second for average proximity from the hole.

The American is infamously regimented in his approach to the game, and it has proven to allow him to perform at his best on the largest stages. DeChambeau’s game is in incredible form, and he is a perfect fit for this course.