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Memorial Tournament First Click: Course history, Signature Event studs and more

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The PGA Tour heads to in Muirfield Village Golf Club Dublin, Ohio this week for the 2024 edition of the Memorial Tournament.

The event is once again part of the Signature Event series on the PGA Tour. A limited field will compete this week for a purse of $20 million, with the winner receiving more than $3 million.

It’s hard to believe, but we have just two of these signature events left in 2024, so we have a decent sample of which players rise to the occasion with some extra money up for grabs.

We’ve also been coming to Muirfield Village since 1976, so there is plenty of course history to lean on.

Join me as I highlight some notable stats and trends to help make your picks for this week’s Memorial Tournament.

 

Muirfield Village Golf Club course history 

 

Muirfield Village Golf Club course history ​

 
GOLFER RDs OTT APP BS ARG PUTT SG T2G TOT
Patrick Cantlay 32 0.74 1.16 1.9 0.41 0.22 0.63 2.3 2.53
Scottie Scheffler 14 0.77 1.37 2.14 0.62 -0.37 0.25 2.76 2.39
Collin Morikawa 17 0.6 1.65 2.25 -0.09 0.21 0.12 2.17 2.37
Matt Kuchar 62 0.18 0.38 0.56 0.39 0.85 1.24 0.95 1.8
Xander Schauffele 26 0.51 0.9 1.41 0.01 0.12 0.13 1.42 1.55
Rory McIlroy 44 0.74 0.33 1.07 -0.06 0.44 0.38 1.02 1.46
Max Homa 16 0.26 0.67 0.93 0.05 0.46 0.52 0.99 1.45
Justin Rose 46 0.39 0.66 1.05 0.4 -0.04 0.35 1.45 1.4
Jordan Spieth 44 0.46 0 0.46 0.57 0.33 0.89 1.03 1.35
Viktor Hovland 20 0.63 0.62 1.24 -0.25 0.36 0.1 0.99 1.35
 

 

(OTT:  Off-The-Tee / APP: Approach / BS: Ball-Striking (OTT +APP) / ARG: Around-The-Green / PUTT: Putting / SG: Short-Game / T2G: Tee-To-Green / TOT: Total) 

Collin Morikawa has played in this event four times, with his best finish coming in 2021 when he finished alone in second. 

Last year, he was once again in contention in this tournament and just two shots off the lead after 54 holes, but he was forced to withdraw due to back spasms. 

Morikawa enters this week in great forum too, with five straight finishes inside the top 20 in individual stroke play tournaments (Morikawa and Kurt Kitayama teamed up and tied for 28th at the Zurich Classic). 

The 27-year-old enters this week on the heels of back-to-back fourth-place finishes and is looking to add a seventh PGA Tour win to his resume. 

Meanwhile, last year’s Memorial winner, Viktor Hovland went back to swing coach Joe Mayo after a sluggish start to 2024 and had his best finish of the year at the PGA Championship with a third-place finish. 

Hovland was arguably the best player in the world during the latter stretch of the 2023 calendar, but after parting with Mayo, it seemed as if the Norwegian began tweaking and changing the parts of his game that made him so great. 

In Hovland’s mind, the success he was having wasn’t sustainable and something had to change.  

Turns out he might have just been messing with a winning formula. 

The early returns on being back with Mayo are great, and Hovland being in contention this week should shock nobody. 

 

SIGNATURE EVENT STUDS 

 

As I pointed out earlier, this is year two of the Signature/Elevated Event series on the PGA Tour.  

Here is a list of the best players in those events in 2023.

SIGNATURE EVENTS STUDS

As I pointed out earlier, this is year two of the PGA Tour's signature/Elevated Event series.

Here is a list of the best players in those events in 2023.

SIGNATURE EVENTS STUDS (2023)

GOLFER RDs OTT APP BS ARG PUTT SG T2G TOT
Patrick Cantlay 38 0.88 0.59 1.48 0.27 0.21 0.47 1.74 1.94
Wyndham Clark 32 0.15 0.9 1.05 0.15 0.52 0.68 1.2 1.73
Denny McCarthy 29 0.1 0.23 0.34 0.24 1.06 1.3 0.58 1.64
Xander Schauffele 39 0.1 0.85 0.95 0.05 0.61 0.66 0.98 1.59
Rickie Fowler 35 -0.04 0.69 0.65 0.28 0.62 0.89 0.92 1.54
Rory McIlroy 33 0.7 0.47 1.17 0.43 -0.15 0.28 1.6 1.45
Jordan Spieth 31 0.1 0.74 0.84 0.53 0.02 0.55 1.41 1.43
Jason Day 29 0.47 0.06 0.53 0.26 0.6 0.86 0.79 1.39
Ludvig Aberg 8 0.51 -0.3 0.21 0.3 0.76 1.06 0.51 1.27
Max Homa 31 0.09 0.43 0.53 0.07 0.68 0.74 0.58 1.26
Sungjae Im 39 0.43 0.32 0.75 0.22 0.29 0.52 0.96 1.26
Justin Thomas 34 0.34 0.65 1 0.4 -0.16 0.24 1.39 1.23
Tony Finau 35 0.3 0.89 1.18 -0.02 0.06 0.04 1.16 1.22

 And here is that same list for 2024 (Sentry, Pebble Beach, Genesis, API, RBC Heritage, Wells Fargo Championship).

SIGNATURE EVENTS STUDS (2024)

 
GOLFER RDs OTT APP BS ARG PUTT SG T2G TOT
Scottie Scheffler 19 0.83 1.07 1.9 0.62 -0.08 0.54 2.52 2.38
Xander Schauffele 23 0.63 0.5 1.14 0.11 0.28 0.39 1.24 1.41
Jason Day 23 0.15 -0.1 0.02 0.61 0.55 1.16 0.63 1.19
Patrick Cantlay 23 0.19 0.11 0.29 0.1 0.52 0.62 0.39 1.14
Wyndham Clark 21 0.54 0.17 0.71 0.06 0.44 0.5 0.77 1.08
Rory McIlroy 19 1.05 -0.2 0.82 0.1 0.17 0.26 0.92 0.99
Justin Thomas 17 0.29 0.38 0.67 0.32 -0.12 0.2 0.99 0.95
Sahith Theegala 23 0.24 0.21 0.45 -0.14 0.6 0.46 0.31 0.88
Collin Morikawa 21 0.36 0.13 0.49 0.14 0.21 0.35 0.63 0.84
Byeong Hun An 23 0.33 0.38 0.72 0.12 0.07 0.19 0.84 0.84
 

 

Scottie Scheffler has been the best golfer in the world in 2024, so it’s no surprise to see him at the top of this list. 

Scheffler is nearly one shot better per round in signature events this year than Xander Schauffele in second. The 0.97 stroke per round gap between first and second is the same as that from second to Russell Henley in 19th. 

Jason Day has played in 13 events this year and has five finishes inside the top 20. All five have come in a signature event. 

In six signature events this year his average finish position is 13.8. In the seven other events he’s played, his average finish position is 47.5. 

 

Jack Nicklaus designs 

 

We head back to another Jack Nicklaus design this week, so here is a look at the players who have gained the most strokes in events at courses that he has designed. 

Jack Nicklaus designs merchants 

 
GOLFER RDs OTT APP BS ARG PUTT SG T2G TOT
Rory McIlroy 56 0.78 0.38 1.16 0 0.4 0.41 1.17 1.57
Tony Finau 38 0.32 0.8 1.12 0.07 0.28 0.35 1.2 1.48
Justin Rose 66 0.29 0.62 0.91 0.37 0.13 0.49 1.27 1.43
Max Homa 24 0.17 0.57 0.74 0.24 0.39 0.63 0.98 1.37
Jordan Spieth 52 0.37 -0 0.35 0.52 0.34 0.86 0.87 1.21
Justin Thomas 44 0.29 0.74 1.03 0.18 -0.03 0.15 1.21 1.18
Russell Henley 42 0.15 0.79 0.94 0.42 -0.16 0.26 1.36 1.08
Matt Fitzpatrick 30 0.55 0.26 0.8 0.25 0.01 0.26 1.06 1.07
Hideki Matsuyama 49 0.17 0.69 0.86 0.57 -0.38 0.19 1.43 1.05
Billy Horschel 50 0.46 0.06 0.52 0.08 0.45 0.53 0.6 1.05
 

 

BEST IN THE FIELD

If course history and recent form in signature events isn’t your cup of tea, allow me to present the 10 best players in this field for 2024 according to the strokes gained data.

BEST IN THE FIELD

GOLFER RDs OTT APP BS ARG PUTT SG T2G TOT
Scottie Scheffler 47 0.93 1.28 2.21 0.61 0.12 0.73 2.82 2.84
Xander Schauffele 48 0.69 0.83 1.53 0.35 0.49 0.84 1.88 2.18
Rory McIlroy 52 0.97 0.57 1.55 0.12 0.3 0.42 1.67 1.9
Christiaan Bezuidenhout 65 -0.2 0.5 0.29 0.08 0.71 0.79 0.38 1.42
Ludvig Aberg 41 0.63 0.53 1.16 -0.12 0.31 0.18 1.03 1.37
Billy Horschel 46 0.11 0.01 0.12 0.19 0.68 0.86 0.3 1.14
Collin Morikawa 44 0.48 0.27 0.75 0.38 0 0.38 1.13 1.13
Justin Thomas 37 0.26 0.64 0.9 0.5 -0.38 0.12 1.4 1.1
Tommy Fleetwood 49 0.22 0.11 0.33 0.43 0.14 0.57 0.76 1.04
Wyndham Clark 41 0.52 0.28 0.8 0 0.26 0.26 0.8 0.98
 

 

First Click 

 

For my first click this week is Jason Day at 80-1. 

It’s been over 13 months since the Australian won an event, but it’s time for him to do it again. 

With a major next week and a Presidents Cup just a few months away, I believe it’s time Day reminds everyone why he used to be the No. 1 golfer in the world. 

And maybe I’m a little drunk off seeing Mackenzie Hughes contend for the Canadian Open near his hometown, so I’m leaning on a guy whose current residence isn’t too far away in Westerville, Ohio.