Memorial Tournament – Fantasy Golfanac

Course Details

Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio
7,392 yards – Par 72 – Bentgrass Greens

Tournament Stimpmeter: 13+ ft. … Incredibly fast green speeds
Green Sizes: 5,000 sq. feet .. Smaller Green Sizes
Strength of Field Rating: ~550 OWGR … Strong Field Strength
Fairways Hit (Field Average): ~69% … Very Easy-to-Hit Fairways
Greens in Regulation (Field Average): ~62% … Harder than Average Greens to Hit
Driving Distance (Field Average): ~281 yards … Average Driving Distance

Tournament Angles

#1 Bentgrass Greens
#2 Fast Greens
#3 Easy-to-Hit Fairways
#4 Nicklaus Design
#5 Windy Rounds
#6 Strong Field Events
#7 Par 72 Courses

Previous Winners

2016: William McGirt -15 over Jon Curran in a playoff
2015: David Lingmerth -15 over Justin Rose in a playoff
2014: Hideki Matsuyama -13 over Kevin Na in a playoff
2013: Matt Kuchar -12 over Kevin Chappell -10
2012: Tiger Woods -9 over Andres Romero, Rory Sabbatini -7
2011: Steve Stricker -16 over Brandt Jobe, Matt Kuchar -15
2010: Justin Rose -18 over Rickie Fowler -15

54-Hole Leaders

2016: Matt Kuchar, Gary Woodland, William McGirt -14
2015: Justin Rose -15
2014: Bubba Watson -12
2013: Matt Kuchar -8
2012: Spencer Levin -8
2011: Steve Stricker -12
2010: Rickie Fowler -16

36-Hole Leaders

2016: Matt Kuchar, Brendan Steele -12
2015: David Lingmerth -12
2014: Paul Casey -12
2013: Bill Haas -9
2012: Rory Sabbatini -6
2011: Steve Stricker -9
2010: Rickie Fowler -13

Important Interview Quotes

Q. Is this course suited to your game?
I think so. I mean, honestly, I go into every golf course thinking that I can play a certain way to make it suit my game. I’ve been a very good putter of the golf ball all year, and I think that can get you out of a lot of situations.

So on a week like this, where I’m starting to feel it, starting to hit a little better, this course is a little bit easier off the tee than some of the ones we play, a little bit more wide open, so it allows me to hit a few more fairways than I have this year, which is — I can attack some more pins. It’s certainly suiting the way I’ve played all year. -2016

Q. You know Jack wants this golf course to play fast and firm, but most years the weather does not cooperate. When you come here, do you plan on weather? Is this a mudder’s golf course?
Typically, I always have a base layer and a ski cap coming here and make sure my rain gear is packed and ready to arrive and play. -2016

Q. It seems like you’re in the top 10 every year here. What is it about your game that goes so well with this course?
Hard to say. I certainly like it. I certainly — I’ve had a great track record here. I feel like I play a little bit more aggressively off the tees. I’m not one of the longest hitters, but I pull driver more than most. I pull kind of a few more aggressive clubs off tees than maybe some guys do.

But it’s funny, my track record on Jack Nicklaus courses and Pete Dye courses are pretty good. I don’t know if — they like kind of a high fade. Certainly, Nicklaus was that guy. My shot is a left-to-right ball. A lot of holes where I feel awfully comfortable teeing off out here. -2016

Q. We spoke yesterday about your brilliant record in this tournament. Outside of putting, which is obvious, what’s the most important thing to do well to score well?
Driving well always tends to help. This place tends to have some pretty penalizing roughs and nasty fairway bunkers. From there, positioning it in the right place. Sometimes you have to be aggressive in the iron shots. You want to leave yourself uphill putts if possible. -2016

Q. What’s the challenge here? First time here, obviously. How tough is that playing here the first time?
The greens are really fast out there if you get yourself on the wrong side of the — if you miss it on the wrong side then you’re struggling for a par. So if you hit it good enough, you’re going to have some good putts uphill. You know, when you’re putting downhill, just try to two-putt out of there. -2016

Q. Looked like a nice day out there. What were the conditions look like?
They were perfect. The golf course is in unbelievable shape. The greens are pure. I know they have a little poa annua in them. I know Mr. Nicklaus isn’t very happy about that. But they’re rolling unbelievable. Not crazy fast for this place, so you can make a few putts. -2016

Q. Dustin, most guys consider this a second shot course, but the guys who are 1 and 2 right now are top 10 in driving, I believe. So is it also a bombers course? What do you think?
No. If you look at the guys who win here, it’s not — I don’t think it — there’s an array of lengths of what they drive it. Here, you’ve got to hit it in the fairway. It’s definitely a second shot golf course, but first of all, you’ve got to hit it in the fairway.

The fairways are pretty generous, but you’ve got to hit them. And once you’re in the fairway, you’ve definitely got to control the distance coming into these greens because you want to leave yourself in the right spot. -2016

Q. It was interesting at your last start, which you won by the way — THE PLAYERS, you talked a lot going into that event about how much you wanted that victory on your resume. Is the same here at Muirfield for you?
Yeah, definitely. To be a Muirfield member and to play as poorly as I have in the past here, it’s a little frustrating and disappointing. But this is one of the events that you would want to — you know, like I said earlier, put on your resume. -2016

Q. They don’t really cut the greens here, they more or less shave them, because Mr. Nicklaus wants them really, really fast, and they are. You seem to like to play on fast greens, why is that?
Yeah, the only greens that we play faster than these is Augusta, the Masters. I enjoy trying to see more lines, kind of use more of an imagination on the greens and around the greens. I fell like it’s an advantage of mine. I just feel comfortable, I don’t really know why. I feel comfortable playing more break on shorter putts when you have to instead of trying to just hit them straight and hammer them. -2015

Q. You’re an excellent putter, and you probably don’t get as much credit as you deserve. But these greens have to fit right into your game, because you really are a good putter?
Thank you. I putt best on fast greens, and these greens are as quick as we’re putting on all year. I like to visualize, because there’s so many putts with so many breaks here that you have to just see it going in and die it in there, and that’s one of my strengths. -2015

Q. What do you think of the layout and design of Jack’s course?
I think it’s fantastic, because you have to maneuver the ball, draw it, fade it, into the fairway. Same with the flags and with the greens being quick, you can short side yourself out there. It’s treacherous. But from the tee looking on, it looks like someone painted it. It looks good. It’s so cool. -2015

Q. How special would this one be?
Yeah, it would be great. Here, Firestone, it would be awesome. I grew up coming to these events watching these guys play. Mr. Nicklaus’ event, that’s huge. I haven’t had much success here, but I’m in a good position after two rounds. -2015

Q. Jack Nicklaus describes this as a second-shot golf course, you only missed one fairway out there today. It’s so important to place the golf ball off the tee?
Yeah, I think the fairways are quite generous, but if you miss them you’re going to be in trouble. The greens are really small and quite slopey, so you don’t want to miss it on the wrong side. -2015

Q. You’ve played here a lot. How much has that local knowledge helped?
I think it helps. I think there’s certain courses you just feel comfortable on, and this is one of those for me. Even when I’m struggling coming into this tournament, this course, for some reason, it seems to produce good golf scores for me. It’s one of those things, it’s one of my favorite courses we play certainly all year, and I’m very comfortable on it.
And with greens this good, it definitely, definitely helped. If you hit a putt where you’re supposed to hit it, it goes in the hole. It’s nice putting on greens this perfect. -2015

Q. What’s your favorite part about this course or this place?
It’s really a hard, difficult golf course. The fairways are a little wider than some of the courses. And it’s a real good second-shot golf course that plays into my strength. -2015

Q. Is that one of the reasons why you’ve played so well here, you’ve had some good finishes here over the years?
I think that has a lot to do with it, I think, anytime you come to a course that you have good feelings about. I grew up on bent greens and same type of turf. I grew up on greens that had a lot of slope. So I think anytime you come to a golf course where you’re excited to be there, I think that that has a lot to do with it. I don’t get to see my family from Indiana, my sisters and my mom and dad very often. And they always come over. So it’s just a fun week for us. -2015

Q. How did it go today?
Yeah, I played well. This course never plays easy, but the conditions were easy. There wasn’t really any wind. The greens are so good. I really can’t think of a time I played greens better, I really can’t. If you could just get it on the green, you can make it from anywhere. I made some putts, but three or four putts that I could have made. I’ve just got to keep keeping the ball in play and just try to make some of those putts. -2015

KYLE REIFERS: “I grew up caddying here,” he said. “I caddied hundreds of times. I didn’t play it a ton growing up, but I’m real familiar with it. I just feel this is my home turf. I kind of have to defend my turf.” -2015,

Q. What’s it like playing here, close to where you live?
Oh, I mean, obviously this is my home course. So it’s just good to have family and friends out to watch me play golf. But I’ve had good pairing the last three days. So hopefully I’ll get another good pairing tomorrow and I’ll go play well. -2014

Q. Just, first of all, kind of the round. This wouldn’t necessarily seem to be your golf course, per se.
Did good over the years, third and a seventh. I just have a good feel for this place. A lot of respect for Mr.Nicklaus, and I just love the condition of the golf course. Being from the Midwest, love being in the Midwest. -2014

Q. Some have said this is comparable to Augusta. Do you find similarities? Guys in green jackets (laughter)?
Green jackets. Green is the same thing. I mean, no, it’s not that similar, in my experience. -2014

Q. Why does this course match up with your game so well?
I like to play a fade. That’s what Jack was known for, and a lot of his course designs fit that type of golf shot. So visually just appeals to me. It’s obviously in great condition. The greens are fast. I love fast greens. Putting is my strength, and that’s what I rely on. And when you get really fast greens, it allows me to kind of go out there and do what I do best. So this is one of my favorite events. -2014

Q. With this being your home course, what’s this week like for you with the family and all, and what would it mean to win this tournament?
Oh, it’s huge. I mean, I play this course a lot and I practice out here pretty much every day.
So I’ve been able to become friends with a lot of members here. My wife’s side of the family only live an hour away. So we’re going to have a lot of people in town for that as well.
And it’s just exciting. It really is exciting to be able to play here. To be able to win in front of Jack and the fans here, it would be obviously a great honor. But I’m trying to put that out of my head, because that obviously can be a double-edged sword, where you put a little bit too much pressure on yourself. -2014

Q. Is there anything particular about the Memorial that you need to focus on in order to prepare or something that you need to work on, certain part of your games you need to work on to prepare for the Memorial?
It comes at a time of year where I’m thinking about the U.S. Open, really. So the greens are firm and fast. There’s a lot of strategy on this golf course. Obviously with Jack building it, you expect to have to think a lot around this golf course.
What I like about it is it gives you the driver. The fairways are relatively wide. You feel like you can get it and play off the tee and be somewhat aggressive. But it’s a second-shot golf course. You need to have distance control with your irons. You can’t short-side yourself. The greens are incredibly fast. But they’re true. So it rewards good play. -2014

Q. The last time you played this course, the Presidents Cup, was entirely different conditions. I’m just wondering, can you take anything at all from that other than just course knowledge of where to be, where not to be, things like that, from other times you’ve been here as well?
Yeah, the weather was extremely unfortunate at the Presidents Cup. But also this tournament has a really unlucky record with the weather. So it’s nice at the moment. It’s a little bit firm. The greens are firmer than we’ve seen for a while.
So it will be nice if it stays this way. Hopefully we can dodge any weather that’s coming this week. It will be good to see this course play a little fiery, because it certainly is extremely demanding when it does.
The greens are quite tough. Well, they’re really the defense of this golf course. So it will be fun and challenging to have it in good shape for the week. -2014

Q. You have shots out there that fit your eye?
Yeah, no matter what the golf course is, you’re going to have shots that fit better for me than other guys.
But I cut the ball off the tee. Righties that draw the ball off the tee. Kenny Perry, he did pretty well here, I think, drawing the ball as a righty. That’s basically my shot shape. -2014

Q. Bubba, you said you love the place, you’ve never really played well here. A left-hander hasn’t won here in 38 years. Is there anything about the place that doesn’t cater to left-handers?
Yeah, there’s more righties on tour than lefties. Tiger Woods happens to be a righty. He won most of them I think in that time period. -2014

Q. Bubba, nearly everybody who talks about this course on tour loves it. But it’s also one of the most difficult courses on tour. I think outside of the majors it was the toughest par 72 the last couple years, so it’s very challenging, especially at the end 16, 17, 18, very difficult holes. Why do you as players embrace that difficulty, embrace that challenge? Because obviously scores show that it’s a tough place to play.
As a golfer, you love the challenge. You love competing. But at the same time, the better players, I guess you’d say, the top 50 in the world, their mental games are a little bit better. They’re trying to be a little bit better.
So it has the major feel, it’s because of the fact that it’s so difficult. It’s an iron and approach-shot golf course, I guess you’d say. The fairways are generous. Even I hit a lot of fairways here.
So it’s all about your iron shots. It’s all about controlling your distance. It’s all about your mental game, because the par 3s, these have to be the most difficult par 3s on any course, all four of these put together.
So it’s all about your approach shots into the greens and approach shots on the par 3s. So the last finishing stretch is you’re going to have a difficult shot over the water on 16, which is one of the toughest holes I’ve ever seen in my life, and 17 you’re going to have tough iron shot. And 18 now, the length, make it even tougher with that green.
And so it’s all about your mental focus and what you can do. That’s what we all want. -2014

Q. When you look at the guys that have won here maybe, say, in the last 10 years, is it because of one particular part of their game?
There’s not a whole lot of similarities amongst that crew. I mean, I think this course demands you to do everything well. These greens seem to get every bit as fast as Augusta Nationals. You have to be on your game. And I think when greens are fast, it’s not so much a premium on your putting, but your iron shots is a real premium and positioning your iron shots.
Driving is certainly a premium here. You don’t have to hit a lot of drivers. The longer guys, particularly, don’t have to hit a lot of drivers. I tend to hit more than most. I tend to challenge some of the shorter holes knowing those are opportunities for me to turn into real birdieable holes and know that my driving is one of my strengths, so I tend to challenge those a little more than most.
But I think in order to do well, you just have to have all parts of your game working. -2014

Q. Over the years if you’d listed the horses for this course, your name would probably not be on that list. Is there a reason in your mind why you’ve put those two numbers up the first two days this year?
I don’t know. No, I don’t know. Somebody told me yesterday I’ve never had a top 10 here, so I don’t know why that is, whether I’m just feeling more comfortable playing this course or — I don’t know. Good question. No, my name would not be on that list.
You know, I’ve made a lot of cuts here over the years, but I’ve always felt like I’ve played my butt off to shoot 71 or 72, and that’s kind of the way I was going down the road today, you know, playing hard to shoot over par or right around par, and until things turned on that second nine for me. But that’s kind of the way it’s been for me over the years, play real hard and see very little low scores. -2014

Q. There are a lot of guys who are hitting 2-iron and 3-wood off a lot of tees because they can’t get the driver to stay in the fairway. Did you do that today?
Yeah, definitely. There was a few holes where — 17 is a tough tee shot for all of us because it’s 260 to carry that bunker sort of facing you, and then it’s 300 to run out on the bunkers either side of the fairway, so you don’t have much of an area to sort of land it in and keep it in, so that’s a really tricky tee shot. I found that pretty tough this week. -2014

Q. Does this place remind you of Quail Hollow?
A little bit. You know, the fairways are probably a little more generous here, but yeah — and the rough this year is obviously thicker because of all the rain they’ve had. But visually it does look a little bit like Quail, and the greens are very similar. They’re undulating and they’re fast, and you’ve got to really put your ball in the right positions. -2014

Q. With the crowd support you generally have here, kind of a hometown for you, do you feel more comfortable when you come to this tournament than some others?
Well, I feel comfortable, you know, for my family it’s relaxing. My wife gets to come back to her hometown. We get to see a bunch of her friends and close friends of the family and spend some time with them. So it’s fun in that respect.
I’ve played well here in the past. I like the golf course. I’ve won here in the past. So for my game, it’s comforting as far as I know that it’s just always a boost when you know you’ve won here before and you know that you can play well in this golf course.
But as you said, I get a lot of support here. The fans know my wife’s from here. They know she’s a big Buckeye fan. We’re at Buckeye games. They see me here. At least I’m somewhat adopted here. So I appreciate the support. -2014

Q. This course can take a lot of rain and it won’t affect it, right?
Yeah, I would think so, with the drainage. I’m sure they have the SubAir system. It doesn’t matter, the greens have always been really fast no matter if it’s been soft or not. -2014

All quotes from unless otherwise noted.

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