The Memorial tournament 2014: Preview and picks for a loaded week at Muirfield Village

Scott Halleran

The Memorial is one of the top non-major tournaments of the year, and even though five-time winner Tiger Woods is still on the shelf, golf finally has some momentum this year as we begin the week at the home of Jack Nicklaus. Trevor Reaske previews the weekend ahead.

The U.S. Open is bearing down, with Pinehurst just two weeks away and "golf's longest day" right on the horizon. This week's Memorial provides the final test for most of the best in the world, the annual stop at Jack Nicklaus' design masterpiece drawing its typically loaded field. Here's a nuts-and-bolts preview of what to expect this week at Muirfield Village.

About the Course

While you may think about the milkshakes they offer in the clubhouse, it turns out that this week’s venue on the PGA Tour is a pretty fantastic golf course. Jack Nicklaus’ pride and joy, Muirfield Village will be on full display this week. It will be the first time Muirfield hosts the world’s top players since the Presidents Cup last fall. It has a reputation for favoring long hitters, a reason Nick Price cited in leaving Tim Clark off his Presidents Cup roster last year, but it remains one of the classic layouts on the rota. It's a major championship setup and annually rated as one of the players favorites.

Tournament Buzz

As I mentioned, Muirfield Village hosted the Presidents Cup last fall. Besides the obvious benefits of a lovable (possibly hungry and deranged) squirrel on the USA’s side, they also had Tiger Woods. Tiger has treated Muirfield Village as both his personal driving range and ATM over the years, winning 5 times. But as we know, he ain’t playing this week, or anytime soon for that matter.

As for the guys that are healthy, last week finally provided the excitement that golf fans have craved since the Accenture Match Play Championship back in February. 

After calling off his wedding, Rory McIlroy won in Europe at the BMW Championship. Jason Dufner and that handsome devil Adam Scott squared off in a playoff at Colonial, with Scott winning and cementing his world number one status.

McIlroy, Scott, and Dufner are three of the most popular players in the game and it was great to see them in contention last weekend. And, great news, they are all playing this week!

Players to Watch

Rory McIlroy – So maybe some of that stuff about Rory being distracted by his love life was true? He’s one for one since calling off his engagement. (Note: his golf swing was more likely the cause of his struggles, but hey, it sure is fun to speculate right?) 

Adam Scott – He validated his number one status last week, can he keep it going? With a swing that pretty, I don’t see why not. 

Phil Mickelson – The feel-good story of the year could be Mickelson winning the U.S. Open next month. But to do that, he needs to, ya know, start playing better. His run to Pinehurst needs to start now. 

Jason Day – J. Day has been out since Augusta with a wrist injury. The Aussie was on the fast track to a great year before he got hurt. He says he’s pain free now. As far as I know, that is encouraging. 

Matt Kuchar – Hey! Guess who the No. 4 player in the world is? It’s Matt Kuchar. He could easily "golly-gee" his way into contention this weekend despite and a less than impressive Colonial tournament.

TV Info

Date

Time

Channel

Thursday, 5/29/14

2:30 – 6:30 pm

Golf Channel

Friday, 5/30/14

2:30 – 6:30 pm

Golf Channel

Saturday, 5/31/14

12:30 – 2:30 pm

3:00 – 6:00 pm

Golf Channel

CBS

Sunday, 6/1/14

12:00 – 2:00 pm

2:30 – 6:00 pm

Golf Channel

CBS

Winner Pick

As much as I want to think Phil Mickelson will start turning it on in preparation for the U.S. Open, I just don’t see it this week. As Kyle Porter points out, Rory has been playing really, really well this year. I think Rory found something a little extra last week (his love life not withstanding) and he is setting himself up for a big summer. He’s my pick this week. 

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