Woods, McIlroy, Fowler, Mickelson and Ishikawa among early commitments
Officials of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance announced this week that Tiger Woods will return to Muirfield Village Golf Club to try and add to his record four Memorial Tournament victories. Also joining the field are fan-favorites Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson, world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, and international sensation Ryo Ishikawa. The 37th edition of the Memorial Tournament is May 28-June 3 at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.
The Memorial was founded and is hosted by golf legend Jack Nicklaus.
Woods, 36, will be making his 13th appearance at the Memorial and his first since 2010. Woods missed the 2011 Tournament due to knee and Achilles injuries that he suffered at the Masters Tournament and caused him to miss four months of golf, including both the U.S. and British Opens. He has recorded 10 top-10 finishes at Muirfield Village Golf Club and has never missed the cut. He is ranked number one at the Memorial in both scoring average (minimum of 10 rounds) at 69.62 and earnings with more than $3.9 million. Woods also holds the Tournament record for low back-to-back rounds with 63-65 during Rounds 2 and 3 in 2000. He won the Memorial in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2009.
In eight starts this season, Woods has two top-10 finishes, including a runner-up finish to McIlroy at The Honda Classic and his 72nd career PGA TOUR title at the Arnold Palmer Invitational–his first PGA TOUR victory since 2009. He is ranked No. 7 in the Official World Golf Ranking, No. 15 in FedExCup points, and 17th on the PGA TOUR money list with more than $1.8 million.
Mickelson, a four-time major champion, commits to Memorial after being inducted last week into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
On the strength of four top-10 finishes in nine events, including his 40th career PGA TOUR title in February at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Mickelson is No. 10 in the world rankings and No. 4 in FedExCup points, and on the PGA TOUR money list with more than $2.6 million. Mickelson has won four major championships, the 2004, ’06 and ‘10 Masters and the ’05 PGA Championship. He has finished in the top-10 on the PGA TOUR money list 10 of the past 12 seasons, earning a career-high $5,819,988 in 2007. Since turning professional in 1992, Mickelson, 41, has had only three seasons without a PGA TOUR victory. His 2012 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am title marked his ninth consecutive year with at least one TOUR win, the longest such streak of his career and on the TOUR. Mickelson has posted three top-10 finishes in 12 appearances at the Memorial with six top-20 finishes in his last seven visits (including a withdrawal in 2007 due to a wrist injury). His 71.33 scoring average and more than $832,000 in earnings ranks him No. 16 and No. 22, respectively, in Tournament history. His best finish at Muirfield Village came in 2006 when he tied for fourth with Brandt Jobe and Adam Scott. Mickelson’s best scoring performance at the Memorial came in 2010 with an 11-under-par 277 aggregate total, good for a share of fifth place.
McIlroy will come to Ohio ready to defend his 2011 U.S. Open championship. He has enjoyed tremendous success since bursting onto the U.S. scene in 2010. That year he posted five top-10 finishes, including his first PGA TOUR victory at the Wells Fargo Championship, and he made his first Ryder Cup appearance in Europe’s victory in Wales. In 2011 he added his first major championship victory at last year’s U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., with a record-setting performance that included the lowest 72-hole score in relation to par, 16-under 268. At 22, he became the youngest U.S. Open champion since Bobby Jones in 1923.
A native of Northern Ireland, McIlroy hasn’t slowed down this year either, recording a victory at The Honda Classic and three other top-3 finishes. In just four TOUR starts, McIlroy is ranked No. 3 in FedExCup points and No. 3 in earnings with close to $3 million. In early March he realized another first as he became the No. 1 player in the world, a rank which he currently holds after coming in second place at the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship.
As far as his performance in the Memorial Tournament, McIlroy has posted top-10 finishes in each of his two previous trips to Dublin, Ohio. He tied for 10th in 2010 and bettered his inaugural performance by five spots in last year’s event to finish fifth after holding the first-round lead. His two-year scoring average at Muirfield Village Golf Club is 69.50 to go with $404,000 in earnings.
With four top-10 finishes in 13 events so far this season, including his first-career PGA TOUR title at the recent Wells Fargo Championship, Fowler jumped 45 spots on the PGA TOUR money list to No. 11. He is No. 8 in FedExCup points and No. 18. in World rankings. Since turning professional in 2009, Fowler has recorded 17 top-10 finishes, including five second-place efforts to go with his recent breakthrough win in Charlotte, N.C.
In the Memorial Tournament, Fowler, 23, has posted top-25 finishes in each of his two appearances. He finished second in 2010 after holding the lead through the first three rounds and tied for 22nd last year. His two-year scoring average at Muirfield Village Golf Club is 69.63 to go with $702,405 in earnings.
Ishikawa, 20, burst onto the international scene as an amateur in 2007 when he became the youngest winner of a men’s professional golf tournament by winning the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup on the Japan Golf Tour at the age 15 years and 8 months. He turned professional the following year and recorded his second victory on the Japan Golf Tour. By the close of 2008 he had become the youngest ever player to reach the top 100 of the Official World Golf Rankings. He has gone on to post 11
international victories and is currently ranked No. 58 in the world.
Ishikawa has three career top-10 finishes on the PGA TOUR, including a career-best second place this year at the Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com. He was a member of the 2009 and 2011 International Presidents Cup teams and will be making his first appearance at this year’s Memorial Tournament.
Guaranteed availability for all-week Patron Badges to the 2012 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance are available to the general public through May 20, as are special offers that include The President’s Cup 2013 tickets at Muirfield Village. Memorial Tournament badges, valid May 28-June 3, cost $155 and include a complimentary Wednesday Practice Round ticket at no extra cost. As always, kids 12 and under can attend for free, and kids 18 and under are admitted free on Wednesday for Junior Golf Day. The public may call the Tournament Ticket Office 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays at 877-MT BADGE or visit www.thememorialtournament.com to purchase badges. Daily tickets for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday practice rounds are also available. The cost is $30, and they are valid for all three practice-round days.