What better way to start your reign as officially the world’s best golfer by winning on your very next start. That’s what Adam Scott did, defeating Jason Dufner in a playoff to win the Crowne Plaza Invitational.
Scott is playing in this week’s event too, the Memorial Tournament, famously hosted every year by 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus.
The host venue has been in the spotlight this week. Having hosted the President’s Cup in September last year, Ohio has experienced one of the coldest winters on record and the combination of challenges would seem to be a groundskeeper's nightmare.
"Some of our grasses aren't matching up (in color) the way we want them to, but they will," tournament host Jack Nicklaus told The Columbus Dispatch for a story that ran on Monday. "It will just take a little time because it's new grass. But as far as the playing surfaces, (they're) perfect. (Superintendent) Paul (Latshaw) has done a great job getting the golf course in shape."
In addition to countless truckloads of newly laid sod, Nicklaus estimated that 30 acres of rough had to be overseeded. However, Muirfield Village doesn't penalize wayward tee balls anyway. Defending champion Matt Kuchar proved this by ranking T37 in fairways hit. Meanwhile, he led the field in greens in regulation and placed second in strokes gained-putting. He missed only one of 56 attempts from 7 feet and in, 17 of which were from outside 3 feet.
Not long by most measurements, Kuchar ranked 23rd in distance of all drives at 282.7 yards en route to victory. However, while the 7,352-yard Muirfield Village finished the season 15th in the same stat, its split landed at just 280.1 yards, so Kuchar was longer than average.
It is no surprise then that Muirfield Village has been the hardest par 72 in a non-major two years running. Last year's scoring average was 73.256.
Here’s TG’s Fantasy team for the Memorial:
Adam Scott £5.5m
Won at Colonial on his first week at the summit of the world rankings. He's 7-for-8 at Muirfield Village with three top 15s, including a T13 last year. Looks especially comfortable on the greens again, the Aimpoint Express green-reading method working wonders…
Dustin Johnson £3.5m
Finished T7 and T14, respectively, on the Texas Swing and looks poised to win again this year following a modest spell. He’s got three top 20s in his six starts at Muirfield Village, including a solo fourth in 2011.
Jim Furyk £2.2m
Had to settle for a T51 at Colonial last week but had top 20s in previous six starts. He’s third in all-time earnings at Memorial, included a win in 2002; Overall record included 13 top 25s in 18 starts.
Gary Woodland £1.4m
His T-7th finish in his last start was his thirteenth consecutive cut made; a streak that includes four top 10s and another five top 25s. He’s also got two top 20s in three attempts at Memorial. If he can sort his course management out, he’s almost to contend this week.
Kevin Chappell £1m
Last year’s Memorial runner up has results of T-10, T-26 and T11 in his last three starts. Last week’s T10 included a third round 63. A big finish is surely just around the corner.
Charles Howell III £1.3m
Recent form is a little streaky but a T-3 in his last start at the HP Byron Nelson Championship is his third top ten of the year and he has only missed three cuts all season. Finished T21 at Memorial 12 months ago.
Fancy a flutter? Check out our betting tips for this week's tournaments