Justin Rose and 6 More Golfers Who Will Be in the Hunt at the Memorial
This week the PGA Tour lands in Dublin, OH for the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance.
Muirfield Village Golf Club—aka "Jack's Place"—is the venue for what has been a Tour staple since 1976. The 7,265-yard par-72 course was ranked as the 19th-most difficult track on the PGA Tour in 2010.
Defending champion Justin Rose leads an impressive field, including six of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking and nine of the top 10 current money winners on the PGA Tour.
Here's a look at Rose and six more golfers who will be in the hunt this weekend.
Justin Rose needs to kick-start what has been a rather pedestrian 2011 season—and Muirfield Village might be just the place for him to do that.
Rose has finished in the top four at Muirfield Village three of the past six times he's played here. That bodes well for the inclusion of his name on the weekend leader board.
If he can get his putter to cooperate, that is. He's currently 115th in Strokes Gained Putting.
But Rose is third in greens in regulation and has three top-10 finishes in 11 events played on the PGA Tour so far in 2011. That's nothing to scoff at. Look for him to pull his complete game together over the next few days.
Matt Kuchar's golf game is starting to heat up along with the late spring temperatures in central Ohio.
The 2010 PGA Tour money leader added two more top-10 finishes to his 2011 résumé the past two weeks, and he'll look to keep the momentum going at Muirfield Village, where he finished in the top 10 the past three times he played here.
Kuchar is also steadily climbing the Official World Golf Ranking list—he's currently seventh—and he's second on the PGA Tour in scoring average.
How could I not include the best golfer in the world?
Well, that's what the Official World Golf Ranking is telling us Luke Donald is—and who can argue?
Donald has finished in the top 10 in seven of his eight PGA Tour events entered this season, and he's coming off a playoff win over Lee Westwood at an event many consider the fifth major—the BMW PGA Championship last week.
Add to those facts Donald's success here the past two times he played the Memorial (top 15s), and you've got all the makings of a tournament title run this weekend.
It seems I have Nick Watney among my top players at each week's PGA Tour event. Those predictions have turned out pretty well.
Watney finished in the top 10 the past two weeks, and he continues to pad his already impressive numbers with his consistent play.
Watney owns top-10 numbers in scoring average, birdie average, total driving and par breakers, not to mention sitting in third place in all-around ranking. Plus, he's now up to second place in money earned in 2011 and fourth in FedExCup regular season points.
Picking Nick Watney to finish strong in just about any golf tournament these days is a no-brainer.
No great golf tournament is complete without Phil Mickelson's name in the mix.
"Lefty" returns to tournament action after taking a couple weeks off.
Mickelson is fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking, and he's stacking impressive top-10 stats—third in birdie average, fourth in par breakers and ninth in scoring average. He's also seventh among the money leaders on the PGA Tour.
He finished with a T5 at last year's Memorial Tournament and seems poised for a similar fate this year.
Ryan Moore hasn't had a stellar 2011 season thus far. His middle of the PGA Tour pack stats aren't anything to get excited about. But he has made the cut in nine of 10 events entered and has two top-10 finishes.
I'm including him on my watch list this week because of his track record at the Memorial—three top-10s the past four years here.
No rookie has ever won the Memorial Tournament, but Rickie Fowler came pretty close in 2010.
His three-shot, 54-hole lead was the largest since Tiger Woods held a six-shot advantage after three rounds in 2000. But things got away from Fowler a bit on Sunday, and he wound up shooting a 73 to finish in second place at Muirfield Village.
Well, he's not a rookie anymore—and even though the 2010 Rookie of the Year is still without a PGA Tour victory, I like his chances this week.