The Memorial Tournament is a PGA Tour golf tournament founded in 1976 by Jack Nicklaus. It is played on a Nicklaus-designed course at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, a suburb north of Columbus. The golf course passes through a large neighborhood called Muirfield Village, which includes a 1999 bronze sculpture of Nicklaus mentoring a young golfer located in the wide median of Muirfield Drive.
|Established||1976, 45 years ago|
|Course(s)||Muirfield Village Golf Club|
|Length||7,392 yards (6,759 m)|
|Prize fund||$9.3 million|
(July in 2020)
|Tournament record score|
|Aggregate||268 Tom Lehman (1994)|
|To par||−20 Tom Lehman (1994)|
One of the main features of the tournament is a yearly induction ceremony honoring past golfers. A plaque for each honoree is installed near the clubhouse at Muirfield; Nicklaus himself was the 2000 honoree.
The greater Columbus area is where Nicklaus was born, raised, learned the game of golf, went to college, and started his own family. It was his vision to create a golf club that embodied his personal and professional life and to create a golf tournament that would long represent his passion for tournament golf, and would give back to a community that has embraced him and the game. This was fulfilled in May 1976 with the first Memorial Tournament, two years to the day after the course opened at Muirfield Village. The par-72 course was set at 7,072 yards (6,467 m), a considerable length for the mid-1970s.
Nicklaus signaled his intent to host his own tournament during Masters Week in 1966, when he spoke of his desire to create a tournament that, like The Masters, had a global interest, and was inspired by the history and traditions of the game of golf. He also wanted the tournament to give back in the form of charitable contributions to organizations benefiting needy adults and children throughout Columbus and Ohio. The primary charitable beneficiary of the tournament is Nationwide Children's Hospital.
The Memorial reached the height of its popularity in the 1990s having reached "sold-out" status, a first on the PGA Tour other than the major championships. For a variety of reasons, the event has started seeing ticket sales decrease during the last five years.
The Memorial Tournament is one of only five tournaments given "invitational" status by the PGA Tour, and consequently it has a reduced field of only 120 players (as opposed to most full-field open tournaments with a field of 156 players). The other four tournaments with invitational status are the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the RBC Heritage, Charles Schwab Challenge, and the Tiger Woods Foundation tournament (originally the Quicken Loans National until 2018, to be replaced in 2020 by the Genesis Open). Invitational tournaments have smaller fields (between 120 and 132 players), and have more freedom than full-field open tournaments in determining which players are eligible to participate in their event, as invitational tournaments are not required to fill their fields using the PGA Tour Priority Ranking System. Furthermore, unlike full-field open tournaments, invitational tournaments do not offer open qualifying (aka Monday qualifying).
In June 2014, the PGA Tour approved a resolution to grant the winner a three-year exemption, one more than other regular Tour events and on par with winners of the World Golf Championships, The Tour Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
The field consists of 120 players invited using the following criteria:
- Memorial winners in the last five years or prior to 1997
- The Players Championship and major championship winners in the last five years
- The Tour Championship, World Golf Championships, and Arnold Palmer Invitational winners in the past three years
- Tournament winners in the past year
- Playing member of last named U.S. Ryder Cup team, European Ryder Cup team, U.S. Presidents Cup team, and International Presidents Cup team (non-PGA Tour members qualifying in this category count against unrestricted sponsor exemptions)
- Prior year U.S. Amateur winner
- Prior year British Amateur winner
- Up to four players selected by the tournament from among the money leaders from the other five Federation tours
- 14 sponsors exemptions – 2 from among graduates of the Web.com Tour Finals, 6 members not otherwise exempt, and 6 unrestricted
- Top 50 Official World Golf Ranking as of the Friday before the tournament
- Top 70 from prior year's FedEx Cup points list
- PGA Tour members whose non-member FedEx Cup points the previous season (excluding WGCs) would have placed them in the top 70
- Top 70 from current year's FedEx Cup points list as of the Friday before the tournament
- Prior year college player of the year (Jack Nicklaus Award)
- Remaining positions filled alternating from current year's and prior year's FedEx Cup point lists
- 1976: Roger Maltbie won the inaugural Memorial Tournament, defeating Hale Irwin in a four-hole aggregate playoff. On the third extra hole Maltbie's errant approach shot appeared headed for the gallery when it hit a post, causing the ball to bounce onto the green, where both parred to remain tied; Maltbie then birdied the 18th hole to win the playoff.
- 1977: Poor weather resulted in a Monday finish for the tournament; host Jack Nicklaus won by two shots over Hubert Green.
- 1980: David Graham birdied the 72nd hole to edge Tom Watson by one shot; Watson was bidding to become the first Memorial champion to defend his title.
- 1984: Jack Nicklaus defeated Andy Bean in a sudden-death playoff to become the first two-time Memorial winner.
- 1991: Kenny Perry won for the first time on the PGA Tour, defeating Irwin on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff.
- 1993: Paul Azinger birdied the 72nd hole by holing out from a bunker to finish one shot ahead of Corey Pavin.
- 1994: Tom Lehman shot a tournament record 268 (-20) for 72 holes on his way to a five-shot victory over Greg Norman.
- 2000: Tiger Woods became the first Memorial winner to successfully defend his title, finishing five shots clear of Ernie Els.
- 2001: Woods won for a third consecutive year, seven shots ahead of runners-up Paul Azinger and Sergio García.
- 2005: Bart Bryant saved par from a hazard on the 72nd hole to win by one shot over Fred Couples.
- 2007: K. J. Choi shot a final round 65 to win by one shot over Ryan Moore.
- 2012: Woods birdied three of the last four holes, including a chip in on the 16th hole, to turn a two-shot deficit into a two-shot victory. The win was Woods' 73rd PGA Tour victory, which tied Jack Nicklaus for second most PGA Tour wins.
- 2013: Defending champion Woods posted a third round back nine score of 44, the worst in his career. He finished 20 shots behind winner Matt Kuchar.
- 2014: Hideki Matsuyama won in a playoff against Kevin Na; he was the first Japanese PGA Tour winner since 2008.
- 2015: In the third round, Tiger Woods shot an 85, the worst round of his professional career. Three-time winner Kenny Perry played his last PGA Tour event.
- 2016: William McGirt won for the first time on the PGA Tour after 165 starts.
- 2020: Jon Rahm's win elevated him to the world number one ranking for the first time in his career.
Muirfield Village Golf Club in 2016
Winners and HonoreesEdit
- Posthumously honored
- Tournament shortened to 54 holes by rain.
Six men have won the Memorial Tournament more than once through 2019.
- "Course map". Memorial Tournament. 2016. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- "Jack Nicklaus tribute sculpture". (Ohio): Dublin Arts Council. Archived from the original on March 29, 2016. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
- "Jack Nicklaus – Dublin Icon". (Ohio): City of Dublin. August 9, 2013. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
- "The Memorial Tournament and Nationwide agree to sponsorship extension through 2021". Memorial Tournament. (press release). December 15, 2015. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
- Roger Maltbie wins Memorial
- "Boost to Arnie and Jack tourneys". ESPN. Associated Press. June 3, 2014.
- "2015–16 PGA Tour Player Handbook & Tournament Regulations" (PDF). October 5, 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 12, 2016.
- Nicklaus wins Memorial Golf
- Graham outlasts Watson!
- Nicklaus wins in playoff
- Perry defeats Irwin in Memorial
- GOLF; Azinger's 'Miracle' Shot From Bunker Wins by 1
- Lehman devours Memorial
- Another first for Woods
- "Golf: Woods crushes Memorial field". The New Zealand Herald. June 5, 2001. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
- "Bryant earns second career tour victory". ESPN.
- "K.J. Choi wins the Memorial". UPI.
- "Tiger Woods rallies to win Memorial, ties Jack Nicklaus with 73 PGA Tour victories". PGA of America.
- "Hideki Matsuyama wins the Memorial Tournament in a playoff". PGA Tour.
- "The Memorial Tournament Honorees". The Memorial Tournament. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
- Memorial Tournament – Winners Archived 2014-12-04 at the Wayback Machine – at www.pgatour.com
- "Retrospective: scoreboard". Memorial Tournament. Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
- Official website
- Coverage on the PGA Tour's official site
- Nicklaus.com – Muirfield Village Golf Club
- Jack Nicklaus Museum