Memorial Tournament 2014: Winners and Losers from Muirfield Village
Hideki Matsuyama became the fifth player to win the Memorial Tournament in his first attempt. He also became the fourth Japanese-born player to win on the PGA Tour with his playoff victory over Kevin Na.
With his final-round 69 and clutch par-saving putt on the first playoff hole, the 22-year-old Matsuyama became a very big winner at Jack Nicklaus' tournament this week.
Who else emerged on the good side of the ledger after a wild finish in Dublin, Ohio? Who didn't? Keep reading to find out.
Winner: The Last Man Standing
It got ugly down the stretch at Muirfield Village.
Bubba Watson made a seven on the 15th hole, eventually finishing one stroke behind Kevin Na and Hideki Matsuyama, who tied at 13 under.
Adam Scott, also in contention, made three straight bogeys from the 14th through the 16th holes Sunday to finish three strokes behind Matsuyama and Na.
Even eventual winner Matsuyama double-bogeyed the par-three 16th hole and needed a birdie at the 18th to get into a playoff with Kevin Na, whose final-round 64 hours before had him waiting in the clubhouse to see if his score would hold up.
Even weirder, Matsuyama snapped the head off his driver on the 18th hole when he casually slammed it against the turf after a poor tee shot. Choosing not to replace the driver for the playoff (as he would have been permitted to do per the Rules of Golf), Matsuyama hit a poor tee shot with his 3-wood and found a fairway bunker off the tee.
When Kevin Na inexplicably pulled his tee shot into a water hazard seconds later, he effectively handed the 22-year-old the first PGA Tour win of his young career, ending the brief, baffling playoff after just one hole.
Losers: These Lefties
A pair of prominent lefties didn't fare so well at Muirfield Village this week. Sure, Bubba Watson found himself in the final group on Sunday and eventually finished second.
However, the left-handed bomber effectively threw the tournament away with a double-bogey seven on the 15th hole after an unforced error off the tee. Had Watson managed to keep his tee shot in play and parred out, he would have won the Memorial by a stroke. The second-place finish will leave a bad taste in his mouth.
Another left-hander, Phil Mickelson, had an even more interesting week off the golf course. While Lefty pieced together a ho-hum T49 finish inside the ropes at Memorial, he was questioned about an investing bogey when he stepped outside the ropes.
Following his first round in Dublin, FBI agents arrived at the golf course to have a word with the golfer about "a major insider-trading probe involving finance, gambling and sports," per The Wall Street Journal (subscription required).
Whether the Callaway staffer acted with impropriety remains to be seen. Although Mickelson insisted repeatedly he did nothing wrong, the investigation won't exactly be beneficial to his public image and could yield far worse consequences than a damaged reputation.
Winner: The Double-Hit
This is what happens when the greens are running at a 13 on the Stimpmeter.
Rory McIlroy double-hit a pitch on Friday en route to a double bogey on his 15th hole (one of his three doubles on the day).
Justin Rose did the exact same thing on the 12th hole on a delicate shot from behind the green. The result for last year's U.S. Open champion? Missing the cut by a stroke thanks to his T.C. Chen-ian antics Thursday.
Nearly 30 years after the most famous double-hit in PGA Tour history, Rose and McIlroy proved that this essential variety of duff is alive and well at golf's highest level.
Loser: This Victim of Witchcraft
Here's what we know:
Rory McIlroy opened the Memorial Tournament with a torrid 63.
Then, Caroline Wozniacki changed her Twitter photo to a shot of herself as a witch stirring a cauldron.
Then, McIlroy carded a 78 in his second round, some 15 strokes worse than his Thursday effort.
Witchcraft? Seems like the only logical explanation.
The Ulsterman rallied over the weekend to finish tied for 15th, but the spell was cast, as it were.
Winner: Kevin Na in Regulation Sunday
Kevin Na's final round saw the golfer jump nearly 20 places up the leaderboard. While the likes of Bubba Watson and Adam Scott trod water during the final round, Na fired an impressive eight-under 64.
The native South Korean was bogey-free for his final round. He went out in 31 strokes with five birdies and came in in 33 strokes.
The brilliant final round was two strokes better than anyone else in the field at Jack's place on Sunday. Even though he lost in the playoff thanks to a truly miserable tee shot, Na's first 18 holes Sunday were still terrific.
Loser: Scott Langley
Scott Langley carded an impressive third-round 67 to earn himself a spot in the final group on Sunday.
During the final round, Langley was paired with Bubba Watson. Looking for his first PGA Tour victory, he opened with a bogey and never really got on track.
Langley, who has made 12 of 20 cuts this season, fired a 79 to fall to a tie for 28th for the tournament.
His finish was not impressive at all and certainly not indicative of a player ready to take the next step.
Winner: The Leaderboard
If there were six or seven majors on tour, the Memorial Tournament would be one of them. Routinely one of the most challenging tracks players face, Muirfield Village is a very Augusta-esque course.
Additionally, the field is always a strong one, as the course's tight fairways and hard, fast greens are an excellent dress rehearsal for the U.S. Open, which comes two weeks after the tournament.
Two of the golfers in the top four at the Memorial (Adam Scott and Bubba Watson) are inside the top five in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Kevin Na and Hideki Matsuyama, who competed in the tournament's first playoff since 1992, are both inside the top 15 in the FedEx Cup standings.
A strong leaderboard and a gifted winner make the Memorial Tournament a winner this week.
Loser: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano squeaked inside the cut at Muirfield Village with rounds of 70 and 73 to start the week.
Instead of taking advantage of the opportunity to play the weekend, the Spaniard promptly shot a 79 and a 77 for the third and fourth rounds, respectively, to finish tied for 75th (last among those who made the cut).
Castano has made nine of 12 cuts on the PGA Tour this season but has finished inside the top 25 just once. He certainly looked like a man merely going through the motions Saturday and Sunday in Dublin.
All stats and supplementary info via the PGA Tour and PGATour.com.