Memorial Golf Tournament: Everything You Need To Know

What do you know about the Memorial Golf Tournament?

The Memorial Tournament is one of the events in the schedule of the PGA Tour. It was founded in 1976 by Jack Nicklaus, a man who is today widely regarded as one of the greatest golfers of all time, having won a record 18 career major championships, and finishing at second place 19 times and at third place 9 times during a span of 25 years of play.

In this article, we are going to look examine the Memorial Golf Tournament, how it started, where and when it occurs, and what happens in it.

What is the PGA Tour?

There is often confusion between what the PGA Tour is in relation to the PGA Championship. Or what the PGA Tour is in relation to the PGA of America. 

PGA stands for Professional Golfers Association, an organization that was formed in 1916 to establish and elevate the standards of the sport, and to encourage interest and participation in it. Today it consists of around 29,000 men and women golf professional members. The PGA organizes several tournaments, among them the famous PGA Championship.

The PGA Tour, on the other hand, is a separate entity, or rather, an autonomous division. The PGA Tour spun off from the PGA of America. The Memorial Tournament is one of the events that form part of the PGA Tours schedule.

Back to the Memorial Golf Tournament

The Memorial Golf Tournament is played on a Nicklaus-designed course located in Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.

As a main feature of the tournament, every year there is an induction ceremony in which past golfers are honored, and a plaque of each honoree installed near the clubhouse at Muirfield. In 2000, Jack Nicklaus, the founder of the tournament, was himself the honoree.

The tournament’s purse was increased during the 2016 edition, from the previous $6.2 million to 8.5 million. Currently, the tournament has a prize fund of $8.7 million.

The tournament takes place in the month of June.

The current Champion is Jason Dufner.

Jack Nicklaus’s Vision

The location of the tournament’s venue is Dublin, Ohio, a suburb found north of Columbus. Nicklaus grew up in the greater Columbus area, and it’s where he learned to play golf, went to college, and started a family.

He had a vision to create a golf club that would be the embodiment of his personal and professional life, and a golf tournament as a representation of his great passion for tournament golf, a way to give back to the community.

He fulfilled his vision in May 1976, which is when the first Memorial Golf Tournament was held.

As part of his vision, he wanted the tournament to give back to the community through charitable contributions to organizations that benefit needy adults and children in Columbus and Ohio. The main beneficiary of this charity is the Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

The 1990s is when the Memorial tournament reached the apex of its popularity. It is when it reached “sold out” status, which was a first on the PGA Tour for tournaments other than the major championships. However, in recent years, the tournament has been experiencing a decline in ticket sales.

Qualifications

The field comprises of 120 players who are invited to partake in the tournament using the following criteria:

1. Players who won the Memorial Tournament during the last five years or prior to 1997.

2. Players who won the Players Championship and the four major championships in the last five years.

3. Players who won the Tour Championship, World Golf Championships, and Arnold Palmer Invitational in the last three years.

4. Tournament winners in the past year.

5. Playing member of the last named U.S. Ryder Cup team, European Ryder Cup team, U.S. Presidents Cup team, and International Presidents Cup team.

6. The U.S. Amateur winner of the prior year.

7. The British Amateur winner of the prior year.

8. Up to 4 player that the tournament selects from the money leaders from the other five Federation tours.

9. 14 sponsors exemptions – 2 from among graduates of the Web.com Tour Finals, 6 members not otherwise exempt, and 6 unrestricted.

10. Players in the top 50 Official World Golf Ranking as of the Friday before the tournament.

11. Top 70 from prior year’s FedEx Cup points list.

12. PGA Tour members whose non-member FedEx cup points the previous season (excluding WGCs) would have placed them in the top 70.

13.Top 70 from current year’s FedEx Cup points list as of the Friday before the tournament.

14. College Player of the year in the prior year (Jack Nicklaus Award).

15. The remaining positions are filled alternating from the current year’s and prior year’s FedEx Cup point lists.

Invitational Status

The Memorial Tournament holds the distinction of being one of only five tournaments that have been given “invitational” status by the PGA Tour; for that reason, it has a reduced field of only 120 players (compared to most full-field open tournaments which comprise a field of 156 players).

The other four tournaments that have the privilege of invitational status are the RBC Heritage, the Dean & DeLuca Invitational, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and the Quicken Loans National.

Invitational tournaments tend to have smaller fields of between 120 and 132 players, and as such have more freedom than full-field open tournaments when it comes to determining which players are eligible to participate in their event since invitational tournaments do not have to fill their fields using the PGA Tour Priority Ranking system.

Also, in contrast to full-field open tournaments, invitational tournaments don’t offer open qualifying (also known as Monday Qualifying).

June 2014 saw the PGA Tour pass a resolution that granted the winner of the Memorial Golf Tournament a three-year exemption, which is one year more than other regular Tour events and equal to the winners of the World Golf Championships, the Tour Championship, and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Final Thoughts

Jack Nicklaus is, according to many people, the GOAT in golf. Some will argue that Tiger Woods deserves the crown, but they will also be quick to agree that Jack has solidified his legacy in a more enduring manner.

And the Memorial Golf Tournament, which you have just read about, is his gift to the world. So long as the tournament is ongoing, Jack Nicklaus’s legacy is secure.

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