Memorial Tournament Power Rankings
Congrats to Kevin Na, who held on Sunday at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas. He notched a narrow victory over Tony Finau, who played consistently all week and finished at 9-under. Na finished at 13-under and capped things off with birdies in the 14th and 18th holes. In a nice gesture, he gifted the 1973 Blue Dodge Challenger the winner receives to his longtime caddie, Kenny Harms.
Onto Dublin, Ohio, for Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament this weekend. Nicklaus has attracted a stout field once again. Tiger Woods will play his first event since his PGA Championship disappointment, and he has chosen a tournament he has won four times before. The event is hosted at Muirfield Village Golf Club, which checks in at 7,392 yards and plays to a par 72. This course was essentially designed to host this tournament and be Nicklaus’ masterpiece, and it is exactly that. It’s not a major tournament this week, but the players all circle this event as one they want to put on their resume.
10. Justin Thomas
Thomas makes this list based on name, reputation, and the fact that he has top-10 finishes in the last two editions here. But buyer beware. If you are not a risk-averse fantasy player, it may be the safer play to lay off Thomas, who is returning after sitting out the PGA Championship with a wrist injury. We have seen more incredible feats of strength on the PGA Tour over the years, but by and large, this has the looks of a tune-up for the world’s sixth-ranked player.
9. Jason Day
The Aussie will be looking for his third consecutive top-25 showing following his fifth-place finish at Augusta. Day has had some health questions surrounding him in recent years but has still managed to play at a phenomenally high level when able to peg it down. He doesn’t have the most flashy record here at the Memorial with one top-15 finish in 10 tries. Day does, however, checks all the statistical boxes, placing ninth in SG (Shots Gained): Off-the-Tee and Fifth in SG: Total. I would expect the PGA Tour veteran to keep his recent form rolling and improve on his career-best performance here this week.
8. Hideki Matsuyama
The winner of the 2014 Memorial Tournament will look to break through again in Ohio. Matsuyama has played well as of late with top-25 results in his last two tournaments. He is one of the tour’s most consistent players and 2018-19 has been no different, as he slots in at 41st in the FedExCup on the young season. Consistent through the bag, he’s ninth on tour in SG: Total, fourth in SG: Tee-to-Green, and eighth in SG: Approach the Green. If Matsuyama can tame his putting this week, expect him to be in the conversation come Sunday.
7. Justin Rose
Rose has been scuffling a bit as of late (by his standards) with finishes outside the top 25 in his last two events on tour. There’s no better place to set things straight than the Memorial, where he won in 2010 and finished inside the top 10 the five other times he made the cut. Rose slides to seventh based on recent form, but he is a veteran who should bounce back this week. He’s 11th on Tour in SG: Total and 12th in SG: Putting.
6. Tony Finau
Finau almost chased Na down Sunday, but a faulty putter ultimately slowed him down. He has been consistent so far this season and seems close to putting it all together over four days. He loves it at the Memorial, too, finishing eighth, 11th, 40th, and 13th in his first four editions. The tour’s fourth-longest driver will look to follow his runner-up outcome with a career-defining win.
5. Jordan Spieth
So, is he back now? Spieth played well for most of four days in Fort Worth, eventually fading to a share of eighth on Sunday, but he still appeared to look like the old Spieth. With back-to-back top 10s, the timing of this event couldn’t be any better, as Spieth will look to parlay his recent form into his first win of the season. He has never won here before, but he has a solid record topped by a third-place finish in 2015. Although his stats are still pretty ugly, we could be in store for a fun weekend if he continues to putt like he did the first three days at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
4. Matt Kuchar
The FedExCup leader will make the trip to Ohio to see the great one and try to build upon his rather large 254-point lead over the idle Brooks Koepka. Kuchar loves Memorial week with a win and six top 10s dating back to 2008. Don’t overthink this one, as Kuchar is known for his consistency and is absolutely vining thus far this season. He’s eighth on tour in SG: Total and sixth on tour in SG: Approach The Green.
3. Patrick Cantlay
Cantlay is rather quietly having a phenomenally consistent season. He showed his well-rounded game with strong performances in the two majors. He also translates well on the most difficult courses with a ninth at Augusta followed by consecutive thirds at the RBC Heritage and PGA Championship. After placing 35th in his first try at the Memorial in 2017, Cantlay followed up with a fourth-place finish last season. Combining form and course history will make him a favorite for many.
2. Tiger Woods
I know he burned me bad at Bethpage, but he is still Tiger Woods in a year where he won the Masters. And he is playing the Memorial, where he has historically excelled. There’s no need to look too much into his missed cut at the PGA. Tough conditions and rust is my guess. Maybe a little Masters hangover. His five wins here is the best ever, but he hasn’t played enough rounds to qualify for official stats on the PGA Tour website due to a light schedule.
1. Rory McIlroy
The hottest player in the game right now, McIlroy will look for his tour-leading 10th top-10 finish of the season this week at Nicklaus’ event. He has five top-15 finishes dating back to 2010 in Dublin, which isn’t too shabby a course history for an obvious choice. I’m putting the pedal on the gas with McIlroy until this heater subsides. He’s first on tour in the following stats: SG: Total, SG: Off-The-Tee, SG: Tee-To-Green, and eagles. He’s second in driving distance.