Memorial Tournament. Bubba Blasts His Way to the Top.

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Bubba Watson blasts his way to the top of the Memorial Tournament leaderboard. Bubba pulls ahead by 1

Bubba Watson / Getty Images

Bubba fired a -3 under par 69 to blast his way to the top of the Memorial Tournament leaderboard at -12 under par. He reported that he wants to shoot the same score tomorrow;

“ I have a shot, I would like the same score tomorrow and let the boys beat me if they can. The more rest I have, the more I can get to a tournament and be excited about it. I’m full of energy and ready to go.  My emotions aren’t as up and down as much as when I play a long stretch.”

Scott Langley holds second place, just one shot behind at -11 under par following his marvelous third round of -5 under par 67. It will be a lefty / lefty pairing for the last round, a very rare feat indeed. Scott has so far been having a tough time on Tour;

“I would say last year was tougher than this year for me. I rode the ups and downs a little bit more last year than I guess I have this year. I just tried to approach the game and my career with a little more even‑keel attitude.” “Any time you shoot in the 60s here, pretty happy about it, tough place.”

Third place belongs to Hideki Matsuyama, he carded a third round -3 under par to accumulate his -10 under par tournament total.

These guys can not be too comfortable, with World number one Adam Scott sitting in fourth spot at -9 under par. Adam scored a -4 under par 68 third round, and is looking to consolidate his position as the worlds number one.

Adam says he is confident;

“I’m playing with a lot of confidence, it’s funny how quickly it can build because I went to the Crowne Plaza having not swung the club very well and not 100 percent sure and then it really falls into place on Sunday.” ‘It’s going to be tough, he’s playing great this year, and I just have to post a number. I’m in a good position where I can possibly post a number, and that makes life a little harder for the leader.”

I have been wondering and writing about the poor form of Phil Mickelson of late. The reason for his distraction has become apparent as FBI agents are investigating him for insider trading. Phil made a jovial reference to the investigation in a conversation with fellow golfer, Robert Garrigus.

Phil Mickleson / Getty Images

Phil at Memorial“It’s been an interesting evening, I don’t have much to say about it. It’s not going to change the way I carry myself. Honestly, I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m not going to walk around any other way.”

Glad to hear that Phil, now get back to playing good golf.

Memorial Tournament. Rory Roars Ahead.

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 Rory McIlroy roars ahead in the first round of the Memorial Tournament, topping the leaderboard by three shots.

McIlroy magical at Muirfield

Magical Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rampant Rory carded a first round -9 under par 63 at Muirfield Village, taking a  three shot lead into the second round of the Jack Nicklaus hosted event. That score included a double bogey as well, which denied Rory a chance of setting a new course record. The flight over from England, fresh from his win at Wentworth, did not bother him one little bit. Even a tweak in his left knee on the 7th hole did not deter him either;

“Monday seemed like a long day and it just sort of felt like when I got here it was just a different tour. You’re getting ready for the U.S. Open. It’s a big tournament, the Memorial in itself.

“And I prepared well. I came here early Tuesday morning, practiced, did a good session on the range yesterday after the pro-am in the afternoon, so I’ve been putting a lot of work in, and it seems to be paying off.”

“I wear spikes, so sometimes your foot can get stuck in the ground and you can torque your knee a little too much. I think that’s what I did, I tweaked it. The inside of it is sore, it’s a little swollen. Go see the physio and get some treatment and get ice on it, and hopefully it will be OK for tomorrow.”

Rory needed only 22 putts during this first round and said that this sort of form had been in the pipeline for sometime;

“This has been coming, it’s been coming. My performances have been really good, been shooting really good scores.  There’s just been runs of holes in tournaments where I haven’t played so well and I’ve shot it 4 or 5 over in the space of nine holes, and that’s really just derailed my tournament.”

“Last week I just didn’t do that. And that’s down to nothing more than hitting good golf shots and hitting good putts and limiting my mistakes whenever I get in trouble on the golf course.”

There are three players tied in second place at -6 under par after completing their first rounds of 66, which is a good score around this course. Paul Casey, Chris Kirk and Bubba Watson are the guys trying to chase down Rory.

Phil Mickelson was putting together a decent first round until the last three holes, dropping from -5 under par to even, in the blink of an eye. He does not like the 16th since Jack redesigned it in 2010, he made bogey there and then recorded double bogey from the middle of the fairway at the 17th. Another mess at the 18th hole where he three-putted for another double bogey. Phil spoke about that 16th hole;

“It’s a feast or famine hole for me, it doesn’t set up well for a left-handed shot dispersion. It has to be a perfectly struck shot. And I just go in the water there most of the time, because I don’t want to pull it way to the right. I was playing well, but the last three holes just threw away a good round.”


The Memorial Tournament. Its Kooch by Two

Matt Kuchar, Kooch to his friends and fans leads the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Course, in Ohio.

Deja vu

Happy Matt Kuchar / Getty

Matt managed to survive a  nasty combination of swirling wind and fast greens at Muirfield Village for a -2 under par 70, giving him a two-shot lead at -8 under par for the tournament over Kevin Chappell and Kyle Stanley, heading into the final round on Sunday.

Matt admitted it was like a survival course;

“It was a bit of survival, I was fortunate to make a handful of birdies. I think anytime you make a birdie in these conditions, you feel like you’re really up on the field here. Most of these holes, you’re looking at just getting out with a par.”

Kevin and Kyle are two shots back at -6 under par, Kevin with a great round of -4 under par 68, while Kyle struggled to +1 over par 73.

There are three players at -5 under par, including Bill Hass, the first round leader who could only manage a +4 over par round today. Joining him on that -5 under par score are Justin Rose and Matt Jones.

The next group of players are all at -4 under par, J.J. Henry also had a -4 under par round 68, Adam Scott was -3 under, Scott Piercy had a -1 under round while Charl Schwartzel collapsed with a +4 over par round.

Missing the cut are; Sang-Moon Bae, Geoff Ogilvy, Branden Grace, Brandt Snedeker, Guan Tianlang (a), Dustin Johnson, and Vijay Singh. Quite a high-profile list.

Tiger Woods +8 over and Rory McIlroy +6 over par, the world’s number one and two were lucky to make the cut.

Tiger reported after his poor round;

“The conditions were tough and when I missed it cost me. I caught the wrong gusts at the wrong time, made a couple bad swings and all in all, it just went the wrong way.”

The Memorial Tournament, Hass Has the Lead. Play Suspended.

Bill Haas has a three shot lead at the suspension of play in the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Course. The second round was briefly suspended for 22 minutes early during the second round, due to the threat of a thunderstorm, and then again later, delayed for nearly an hour and a half for rain before the horn sounded for a third time to halt play for good. Not even the great Jack Nicklaus can control the weather.

Having a blast

Bill Haas, makes light work of the sand trap/ PGA Tour

Bill shot a second round of -5 under par 67 to top the leader board on -9 under par at the suspension of play on the second day. Many think that the inspiration has come from his new-born son Bill Jnr. Plus because he is away from home he is getting a good nights sleep;

” She certainly is toughing it out through the nights by herself, if anything else, it makes me that much more excited to get home. I had a great two weeks off, I had a son, I’ve been having great fun with that at home with my wife. And I think I’m just in a better frame of mind than I was three weeks ago after missing my second cut in a row. I don’t know if I give that credit or just the break was nice. And I love being under the radar, that’s fine with me. Let your clubs do the talking and hopefully at the end of the week I’m happy to surprise anyone. Even though I’ve never really had great success here personally, I love coming back, look forward to it every year, and part of it might be I’ve always known how much my dad liked it and how well he did here. Hopefully I can continue on the weekend and get a better taste in my mouth on how to play it as opposed to just liking it. It’s hard to imagine, golf obviously runs in our family and he’ll definitely be around it, no matter what. But I certainly won’t push him into it. I hope I’m playing long enough that he can caddy for me.”

Bill caddied for his father Jay, at the Memorial. He was in college at the time, and he doesn’t remember where Jay finished, other than that he had a nice week. So did Bill, who earned some extra spending money by wearing a Memorial cap with his caddy bib.



Tiger wins Memorial @ Muirfield Village.

Hello, Jack

Tiger Woods & Jack Nicklaus  Halleran/Getty Images

Tiger Woods won the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village on Sunday. Tiger was one shot off the lead when he hit an 8-iron over the back right corner of the green at that par three, that played as the most difficult of the week. When he got to the ball, Woods found it nestled in a particularly scruffy lie in the rough. He was looking at a downhill pitch to a green that was registering 13 on the stimpmeter and a pond lurking ominously several paces behind the pin. Amazingly the ball dropped in for a birdie that paved the way to Woods’ fifth title at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance. Tigers winning tournament score was -9 under par.

Jack Nicklaus watched the shot from greenside, and said;

“If he’s short, he loses the tournament. If he’s long, he’s in the water. So he takes a full swing and lands it exactly where he has to land it and it trickled into the hole like a little 2-foot putt.  I have seen a lot of shots in golf but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better one.”

Tiger simply said;

“I went for it. I pulled it off, and for it to land as soft as it did was kind of a surprise because it was baked out and it was also downhill running away from me. It just fell in. I didn’t think it was going to get there at one point. Kind of like 16 at Augusta (in 2005), I thought I was going to leave it short somehow, and then it fell in. I’m sure by Tuesday I’ll be retired and done, and then by the time I tee it up at the U.S. Open, it might be something different. But I’ll let you guys figure that out. I’ll just keep going, keep working on it. This is a process, and just trying to get better. I have a big event in two weeks, and we go back to work next week to get ready.”

 Tiger’s playing partner Rickie Fowler said in interview afterward of Tiger’s shot;

“You hit a good shot to get it inside 10 feet, and it came out perfect, landed kind of right on the crown of that ridge there, and the rest is history.  He loves, obviously, loves, being in the moment, and that’s where he kind of gets down, focuses and hits those shots. It was fun to see. He looked very comfortable and hit a lot of good shots, and like I said, the times where he’s in the moment and in the heat of contention is where he really shines.”

Tournament leader at the start of play, Spencer Levin, sadly finished four shots off the lead, registering another failure for him to go on and win from a promising position.

World number one Luke Donald finished his last round with a -4 under par 68, for tournament total of -1 under par. Luke somehow has to figure out how to be contention from day one.

Memorial Tournament @ Muirfield Village, Spencer Levin hangs on to lead.

Hanging on in Ohio

Spencer Levin Lyons/Getty Images

Spencer Levin hangs on to lead the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village by just one stroke from Rory Sabbatini in the third round on Saturday. He will have on his mind last February at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, when Spencer took a six-stroke lead into the final round only to shoot 75 and finish third. This time, though, he only leads Rory Sabbatini by one stroke at 8 under par and for sure will be looking over his shoulder at the chasing pack of players.

Spencer spoke of his round today;

“I don’t know if I could have done much better. I had some really good breaks, so I’ll take it.  I played pretty solid, but it’s nice to have a couple good breaks. But if you’re going to shoot the low round of the day out here on the TOUR, or any day, you’re going to have a couple good breaks or make long putts or chip in generally.”

 Rickie Fowler, who has finished fifth or better in his last three starts, is three strokes back at 5 under par for the tournament after matching Levin’s 69, and is still a threat in this tournament.

 Tiger Woods, the four-time Memorial champion ran into some trouble on the back nine Saturday, making four bogeys on the way to a 73, but is still in the background  at 4 under, and obviously can not be ignored by anyone. Tiger said;

“I certainly probably shot the highest score I could have shot today considering the way I hit it. But I’m only four back, and out here with the conditions, supposed to be like this tomorrow again, anything can happen.”

Nothing much has happened for Luke Donald in this competition, his performance has been pretty average for the world’s number one player. Luke struggled to +3 over par third round and +3  for his tournament total, that is eleven shots off the pace. Justin Rose is fairing only slightly better at even par for his tournament.

Memorial Tournament @ Muirfield Village, presented by Nationwide Insurance


Scott Stallings leads by one shot after the first round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village, presented by Nationwide Insurance. Scott had a -6 under par round of 66 to lead by one stroke from Spencer Levin and Erik Compton, who both had -5 under par rounds of 67. Scott was pretty happy with his day;

” It was a great start. You know, I definitely haven’t played very good up to this point. It’s been a very; lackluster would be an understatement, start to the season. I stayed positive all throughout being injured and stuff like that. I kept telling myself that it was only a matter of time before a round like this was coming around. It’s a golf course that I like. My caddie and I came in on Sunday, they gave us a golf cart, and played 27 holes and just kind of ran around the golf course. So I became more and more comfortable with it as the week went on.That’s about it.”

Finishing strong

Scott Stallings Halleran/Getty Images

Erik Compton was also happy with his first round;

” I worked really, really hard last week on the driving range, which I’m usually pretty picky about how hard I practice, and last week was really hot, and I was out there pounding balls. You know, I was just frustrated with how the year has been going. I tried to get my swing a little flatter and a little shallower, and I think it definitely saw some results the way I was driving the ball, hitting a lot of greens, a lot of crisp iron shots. And around here, these greens are really, really lightning fast, so you kind of have to be on the defensive. It’s hard to get the ball close, and when you do it seems like you have a downhill putt. I was just real happy to play well and get a good round under my belt, not only because it’s a PGA event but just to have a great round is encouraging. And then get up early in the morning, hopefully my body feels good, and get back at it.”

Spencer Levin was delighted to meet with the press guys once again;

” I haven’t talked to you guys in a while. I must not have been playing that good. But nice to be back in here again. Yeah, it was a good day. I just had some good things happen early in the round, some nice par saves, and I doubled 16, hit it in the water. But after that I kept my head together. I got up-and-down on 17, which kind of kept me going. And then from about 3 on, I started, I think I was one-putting pretty much every hole after that, so I was kind of hanging in there to be 1-under. Then I birdied 3 to go 2-under, and I made everything from there on in, which made it a 5-under round.”

Tiger Woods had a steady start at -2 under the card, the same score as Ernie Els and Adam Scott. World number one Luke Donald had another of his usual slow starts, finishing at -1 under par for his round, he was joined on that score by Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and the returning from injury boy Dustin Johnson. Tiger thinks the greens are running around 14 on the stimp meter.

” I think the golf course was playing quick today. The fairways were starting to chase a little bit. The greens were, as I was explaining out there, somewhat receptive. They’re making ball marks, but the thing is they’re running out. These greens have got to be near 14.       It’s a hell of a test out there, really. And then the wind is picking up a little bit. Hopefully we don’t get too much rain, and this golf course plays quick the entire week. ”

Luke said of his slow start to the tournament;

” Well, hopefully that’s my loose round out of the way. I didn’t hit the ball well. I was scrambling a lot. But fortunately I putted pretty well, and I’m pretty happy with the score in the end. It wasn’t that solid of a round tee to green. I’m going to need to tidy that up. But at the same point, this course is tricky. There’s some tougher pins out there today, I thought, and overall I’ll take 1-under and try and play better the next three days.”

Saddest tale of the day was Phil Mickleson shooting a +7 over par round of 79, and then withdrawing from the tournament due to mental fatigue, Phil said about his withdrawal;

“The course here is in such great shape. It’s a beautiful way to get ready for the U.S. Open. But I’m hitting it so poorly that; I have to look at what’s best for me to play in the U.S. Open, and I’m going to take the next few days to kind of rest up.”

Bubba Watson had a tough return to golf after his self imposed lay-off, shooting a +3 over par round of 75. He will need to improve dramatically to make the cut tomorrow.