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, 43 years ago|
|Course(s)||Muirfield Village Golf Club|
|Length||7,392 yards (6,759 m)|
|Prize fund||$9.1 million|
|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 wins the inaugural Memorial Tournament in a playoff, defeating Hale Irwin with a birdie on the fourth extra hole. The playoff was a three-hole aggregate, the first of its kind. Irwin and Maltbie halved the first two extra holes, so it effectively became sudden death for the third hole. On the 17th hole (second playoff hole) Maltbie's errant approach shot appeared headed for the gallery when it hit a stake, causing the ball to bounce onto the green, where both parred. Maltbie birdied the 18th hole to win the playoff.
- 1977: Poor weather results in a Monday finish for the tournament. Host Jack Nicklaus wins by two shots over Hubert Green.
- 1980: Tom Watson's bid to become the first Memorial champion to defend his title is foiled when David Graham birdies the 72nd hole to edge Watson by one shot.
- 1984: Jack Nicklaus defeats Andy Bean in a sudden-death playoff to become the first two-time Memorial winner.
- 1988: On his way to winning PGA Player of the Year, Curtis Strange wins the Memorial by two shots over David Frost and Irwin.
- 1991: Kenny Perry wins for the first time ever on the PGA Tour, defeating Irwin on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff.
- 1993: Paul Azinger birdies the 72nd hole by holing out from a bunker and finishes one shot ahead of Corey Pavin.
- 1994: Tom Lehman shoots a tournament record 268 (-20) for 72 holes on his way to a five-shot victory over Greg Norman.
- 2000: Tiger Woods becomes the first Memorial winner to successfully defend his title and finishes five shots ahead of Ernie Els.
- 2001: Woods wins for a third consecutive year, seven shots clear of runners-up Paul Azinger and Sergio García.
- 2005: Bart Bryant saves par from a hazard on the 72nd hole to win by one shot over Fred Couples.
- 2007: K. J. Choi shoots a final round 65 to win by one shot over Ryan Moore.
- 2012: Woods birdies three of his last four holes including a chip in on the 16th hole, turning a two-shot deficit into a two-shot victory. The win is Woods' 73rd PGA Tour victory, tying Jack Nicklaus for second most PGA Tour wins.
- 2013: Defending champion Woods posts a third round back nine score of 44, the worst in his career. He finished 20 shots behind winner Matt Kuchar.
- 2014: Hideki Matsuyama wins in a playoff against Kevin Na. He was the first Japanese PGA Tour winner since 2008.
- 2015: In the third round, Tiger Woods shoots an 85, the worst round of his professional career. Three-time winner Kenny Perry played his last PGA Tour event.
- 2016: After years of toiling in mini-tours and three runner-up PGA Tour finishes, William McGirt earned his first win after 165 starts.
Muirfield Village Golf Club in 2016
Winners and HonoreesEdit
Six men have won the Memorial Tournament more than once through 2017.
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- Roger Maltbie wins Memorial
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- "2015–16 PGA Tour Player Handbook & Tournament Regulations" (PDF). October 5, 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 12, 2016.
- "Life Of The Party - Hop On: Roger Maltbie tells all from inside the ropes". Golf Digest. May 2003. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
- Nicklaus wins Memorial Golf
- Graham outlasts Watson!
- Nicklaus wins in playoff
- Strange rallies with 67 to claim Memorial title
- 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.
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- 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.