The PGA Tour heads north this week for the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide. A field of 120 players will tackle Muirfield Village Golf Club, where the winner will receive a three-year exemption and a congratulatory handshake from Jack Nicklaus.
Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to submit your picks for this week’s event.
William McGirt won this event last year in a playoff over Jon Curran. Here are 10 players to watch in Dublin:
1. Dustin Johnson: The world No. 1 has largely picked up right where he left off before injury forced him out of the Masters. Johnson has finished T-13 or better in each of his last three starts, including a runner-up at Wells Fargo, and he missed the playoff by a shot last year at the Memorial.
2. Jon Rahm: The Spanish phenom rolls right along. Rahm nearly rallied for victory last week at Colonial, settling instead for a runner-up that was his sixth top-5 finish since winning at Torrey Pines. Rahm is making his Muirfield Village debut, but he has already displayed a penchant this year for contending on some of the Tour’s more difficult venues without prior experience.
3. Matt Kuchar: Kuchar has been his reliable self at the Memorial, where his win in 2013 highlights a run of six top-10 finishes since 2008. Kuchar tied for fourth last year and has cracked the top 12 in four of his last six starts, including each of the last two weeks in Texas.
4. Jordan Spieth: So much for putting issues. Spieth went back to his trusted putter last week at Colonial and promptly returned to contention, finishing T-2 on one of his favorite layouts. This is his fourth start in a row but it’s a stretch with which Spieth is familiar and one that produced a T-3 finish at Muirfield Village in 2015.
5. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama earned his first career PGA Tour win at this event in a playoff back in 2014, and he finished T-5 the following year in defense of his title. While he has cooled since a torrid start to the season, Matsuyama should be well-rested and tied for 22nd at TPC Sawgrass in his lone start since the Masters.
6. Adam Scott: The Aussie hasn’t played the Memorial since 2014, but he finished T-4 that year and tied for 13th the year prior. Scott tied for sixth at The Players Championship and, while he has played sparingly this year, has finished T-15 or better in five of eight worldwide starts since January.
7. Jason Day: Day is playing a de facto home game this year, as his family has settled a few miles from Muirfield Village. While that local knowledge has yet to produce a top-25 finish in this event, Day is poised to end that streak this week after his playoff loss to Billy Horschel at the AT&T Byron Nelson two weeks ago.
8. Kevin Kisner: Kisner has gone on hot streaks before, and he may have sparked another one with his victory at Colonial. Kisner also has a pair of runner-up finishes to his credit since March and now returns to a course where he missed the cut last year but tied for eighth back in 2015.
9. Patrick Reed: Don’t look now, but Reed is starting to heat up after a frigid start to his 2016-17 season. The former Ryder Cup star has notched three straight top-25 finishes, including a T-20 in Irving two weeks ago, and his Memorial experience includes a T-26 debut in 2015 and a T-8 finish last year.
10. Rickie Fowler: Fowler notably finished second to Justin Rose in his Memorial debut back in 2010, but he hasn’t really factored since and has missed the cut each of the last three years. But that trend may reverse this week, as Fowler remains in the midst of a remarkably consistent season highlighted by a win at PGA National and featuring top-16 finishes in six of his last seven starts.