Hosted annually by golfing great Jack Nicklaus and benefiting
from a prime spot in the tour schedule just two weeks before the
U.S. Open, the Memorial repeatedly attracts one of the best fields
on the U.S. circuit.
Seven of the world's top 10 players will be competing this week
where second-ranked Henrik Stenson, third-ranked Tiger Woods (still
recovering from back surgery) and Sergio Garcia (eighth) are the
"I love this place," American world number five and Masters champion
Bubba Watson, told reporters on Tuesday while preparing for
Thursday's opening round.
"It's one of those places where you always see a great field and
it's a good golf course. I love the look of it. I've ever played
very well here but I love coming back and challenging myself.
"Hopefully now that I am playing a lot better, and thinking my way
round a bit better, that will show on Sunday afternoon. Hopefully
I'm here Sunday afternoon," Watson smiled, referring to his
prospects of making the cut after the second round.
Though the American left-hander does not boast an impressive track
record at Muirfield Village, he has produced excellent form so far
this season with six top-10s in 10 starts, including his second
victory at the Masters last month.
Heading the field this week will be Australian Adam Scott, who
clinched the Crowne Plaza Invitational in a playoff on Sunday and
will be making his second consecutive appearance on the PGA Tour
since replacing Woods as world number one.
"Winning any golf tournament is very difficult out here, they don't
come easy," said Scott, who beat American Jason Dufner on the third
extra hole at Colonial Country Club. "I played hard and I was really
happy with where my game was at.
"As always, a bit of luck involved but to come out on top is a
really satisfying feeling. I'm trying not to put too much pressure
on myself to have to go and win every week to stay number one."
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Scott will tee off in high-profile company in Thursday's opening
round where he is grouped with compatriot Jason Day, the world
number seven, and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, the former world
McIlroy returns to PGA Tour action with his game in excellent shape,
having won the European Tour's flagship BMW PGA Championship at
Wentworth on Sunday, just four days after breaking up with his
tennis-playing fiancee Caroline Wozniacki.
Fourth-ranked American Matt Kuchar, who triumphed by two shots at
last year's tournament, is back to defend his title.
Kuchar, a seven-times winner on the PGA Tour, has established
himself as one of the most consistent players in the game but will
be looking to rebound from a rare missed cut on the U.S. circuit at
the Crowne Plaza Invitational last week. (Reporting by Mark
Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)
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