Men's Golf logoMen's Golf

Steve Stricker and the 7 Lessons We Learned at the Memorial

Ben CousinsCorrespondent IJune 6, 2011

Steve Stricker and the 7 Lessons We Learned at the Memorial

1 of 8

    DUBLIN, OH - JUNE 05:  Steve Stricker poses with tournament host Jack Nicklaus on the 18th green after winning the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance at the Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 5, 2011 in Dublin, Ohio.  (Photo by Scott H
    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    The Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance is one of the season's biggest non-major tournaments. 

    The tournament is hosted by Jack Nicklaus at his course, Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio. 

    Steve Stricker shot a final round 68 to finish at minus sixteen to win by one shot of Matt Kuchar. 

    There were many stars in contention this week which made for an exciting, Tiger Woods-free tournament. 

    There were many story lines following the late Sunday conclusion.Here are the top seven.  

    As always, feel free to comment on your opinion on the events on Jack's course, the US Open or anything that's on your mind around the world of golf. 

You Can Win Without Finishing Well

2 of 8

    DUBLIN, OH - JUNE 05:  Steve Stricker (R) celebrates with tournament host Jack Nicklaus near the 18th green after winning the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance at the Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 5, 2011 in Dublin, Ohio.  (Photo
    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Steve Stricker never felt comfortable on the back nine all week.

    But it did not matter as Stricker dominated the front nine for the duration of the tournament.  

    On the back nine at Muirfield through four rounds, Stricker shot four over par. 

    But his score of 20 under par on the front nine easily made up for it. 

    This is the complete opposite of Stricker's career stats as before the week, Stricker was minus 18 on the back and plus six on the front. 

    This just goes to show that as long as one side is played extremely well, a victory can be made. 

Steve Stricker Is a Contender for the US Open

3 of 8

    DUBLIN, OH - JUNE 05:  Steve Stricker pulls a club on the 18th hole during the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance at the Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 5, 2011 in Dublin, Ohio.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Ima
    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    With the win at this week's Memorial Tournament, Stricker has joined a short list of favorites for the US Open at Congressional Country Club. 

    Stricker, who now has four top 10 finishes this season, had not had such a finish since the Shell Houston Open in the first week of April.

    The win also vaults Stricker to No. 4 in the world golf rankings, the highest rank for any American player.

    Stricker struggled down the stretch with two bogeys after a rain delay. But, the fact that he did hold on to the one shot victory, is a testament to the nerves of Stricker. 

    Stricker had a stretch of seven holes between the second and third round in which he had three eagles, one on a par three, one on a par four and one on a par five. This is a new record. 

Despite European Dominance, American Golf Is in a Good Place

4 of 8

    DUBLIN, OH - JUNE 02:  Dustin Johnson hits his tee shot on the 14th hole during the first round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance at the Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 2, 2011 in Dublin, Ohio.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Gett
    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Some people argue that because Europeans are in the top three in the world golf ranking and that no American has won a major since Phil Mickelson at the 2010 Masters, American golf is on the downturn.

    This is not true. In fact, American golf is in a good place, regardless of stats. 

    This week, nine out of the top 10 and ties were American. This included stars Dustin Johnson, Kuchar and of course, Stricker. 

    Sixteen of the top 20 at the Memorial Tournament were also American. 

Rory McIlroy Has Put the Masters Behind Him

5 of 8

    DUBLIN, OH - JUNE 05:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his second shot on the par 4 9th hole during the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance at Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 5, 2011 in Dublin, Ohio.  (Photo
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    It's nice to see Rory McIlroy bounce back well from the collapse at the Masters. 

    McIlroy has three top ten finishes combined on the PGA and European Tour since the season's first major, in which he held the 54-hole lead, only to shoot a final round 80 and finish T15. 

    Just the week after the Masters, McIlroy showed no ill effects, finishing third. 

    At only 22 years of age, this shows maturity well beyond his years. 

    His fifth place finish this week gives him a little more confidence going into the season's second major. 

Composure Is Key to PGA Tour Success

6 of 8

    DUBLIN, OH - JUNE 05:  Steve Stricker hits his tee shot on the par 4 13th hole during the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance at Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 5, 2011 in Dublin, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    It would have been easy to for Stricker to lose the Memorial. 

    With a three-stroke lead on the 14th tee, rain forced a delay of more than two and a half hours. 

    It must have been tough on Stricker with that long of a wait, having to think about the lead and what a victory would mean. 

    Stricker did struggle out of the gate when the delay ended, but held on to the one-stroke victory. 

    Sunday must have been an all-around test of Stricker's nerves, but he fought them well and was rewarded. 

    Nerves like the ones Stricker showed will be an important factor at Congressional.  

Luke Donald Is the New Model for Consistency

7 of 8

    DUBLIN, OH - JUNE 04:  Luke Donald of England hits his tee shot on the second hole during the third round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance at the Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 4, 2011 in Dublin, Ohio.  (Photo by Scott Hal
    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Luke Donald has quickly become the most consistent player on tour. 

    His stats are frankly astonishing and completely deserving of his accolades. 

    This weeks T7 finish at the Memorial is only the beginning of what has been a season to remember. 

    The new world No. 1 is No.1 in both the FedEx Cup Standings and the European Race to Dubai standings. 

    In 11 worldwide events, Donald has 10 top ten finishes, including two wins. 

    If Donald can continue this remarkable streak, it will be a season of the ages. 

Golf Is Not a Priority Among Broadcasters

8 of 8

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 10:  Jim Nantz, anchor of CBS's golf coverage, works during the first round of the 2008 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2008 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
    David Cannon/Getty Images

    Following the two and a half hour delay at the Memorial Tournament, the resumption of the event was not displayed live on national television. 

    If you wanted to watch the conclusion, you had to tune into live streaming on CBSSports.com or PGATour.com. 

    This simply shows how golf is low on the scale of sports and other programming.

    If any of the other big American sports went into overtime or had a delay, they would show the game until the end, no questions asked. 

    But the fact that CBS did not show the conclusion of the Memorial Tournament shows how unimportant golf is when Tiger Woods is not in the field, even if it is one of the bigger events of the season. 

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices