This week: Memorial Tournament and Nordea Masters
Starting this week, I’m trying out a new preview format for events on both the PGA Tour and European Tour. I’m going to try and come at them from the standpoint of whether or not it’s worth your time to tune in based on a variety of factors. Field strength, TV schedule (North America) and the course are going to be the three main factors at play when discussing the watchability of each event, along with whatever notes I can dig up that may contribute to its quality.
They will then be given a Miller score (because Johnny Miller really is the best) out of ten.
- Event: the Memorial Tournament
- Course: Muirfield Village (1976 – Jack Nicklaus)
- Location: Dublin, Ohio
- Five Consensus Favourites: Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama and Dustin Johnson.
- TV Schedule:
- Thursday: 3:30 PM to 6:30 PM ET (Golf Channel)
- Friday: 3:30 PM to 6:30 PM ET (Golf Channel)
- Saturday: 12:30 to 2:30 PM ET (Golf Channel) and 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM ET (CBS)
- Sunday: 12:00 to 2:00 PM ET (Golf Channel) and 2:30 PM to 6:00 PM ET (CBS)
Nicklaus always gets a quality field at his event, but the depth here is insane. Even with the WD by Justin Rose, the five favourites above are joined by Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed, Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner, Charl Schwartzel and a litany of others that would make this a candidate for strongest field of the year. Part of that is Nicklaus as host, but Muirfield Village is also one of the best courses on the PGA Tour. This is primarily because it was designed before Nicklaus got a little crazy with his portfolio, and the result is a course that the best players always want to come back to and play.
This tournament always seems to produce a strong winner, or at the very least, an entertaining four days. You can expect tons of Jack on the broadcast this week too, whether it’s in the booth with Nantz and Faldo or through other means. This isn’t a bad thing of course, as Jack is always insightful and is still quite sharp when it comes to the modern game. I’d prefer NBC on the call, and with the quality field, I’m sure I’m going to be thoroughly livid on the weekend with the 30-minute timeout session that is going to come, but it doesn’t get much better than this. Make some time for this one.
The Memorial Tournament earns a score of 9 Millers out of 10.
- Event: Nordea Masters
- Course: Bro Hof Slott Golf Club (2007 – Robert Trent Jones Jr.)
- Location: Stockholm County, Sweden
- Five Consensus Favourites: Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood, Alex Noren, Tyrrell Hatton and Thomas Pieters
- TV Schedule:
- Thursday: 5:00 AM to 7:00 AM ET and 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)
- Friday: 5:00 AM to 7:00 AM ET and 7:30 to 11:30 AM ET (Golf Channel)
- Saturday: 7:00 AM to 11:30 AM ET (Golf Channel)
- Sunday: 7:30 AM to 12:30 PM ET (Golf Channel)
The clear winner this week is going to be the Memorial Tournament, and understandably so because it’s a great event, but there’s a lot to like about the Nordea Masters as well. The place to start is with the field, and with so many top players playing at the Memorial, it’s understood that the field in Sweden is going to be a little on the light side, but it’s actually pretty solid if you’re a hardcore golf fan. Henrik Stenson, the fourth place finisher in my golfer watchability index, is going home to play in what is essentially his national open, and he’s joined by some quality Swedish players in Alex Noren and Peter Hanson.
Lee Westwood has won this event three times, including once at this course and is coming off of a good week at Wentworth as he tries to make his tenth consecutive Ryder Cup appearance. Thomas Pieters and Nicolas Colsaerts will be looking to use their length to their advantage on a long track that produces a ton of birdies, while uber talented Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick is always worth your attention when he’s in the field. You’ve also got the slightly crazy Tyrrell Hatton and Pablo Larrazabal teeing it up, which means there’s definitely potential for fireworks in a whole other manner, and lastly my newest swing crush, Soomin Lee is in the field too. That swing is almost worth getting up at 5:00 AM to watch.
So, yeah, the field isn’t Memorial level good, but there’s a lot to get behind here. The tough thing of course is that if you live on the east coast, you’ll have to be up early to watch it, and that definitely knocks it down a few points, but if you’re going to be up anyway, you could be doing a whole lot worse, and the times on the weekend aren’t too bad.
I don’t know a ton about the course in truth, but the site that I trust the most for my course reviews has it as the number one ranked in Sweden, and 14th in all of Continental Europe. It looks pure, and from previous tournaments held there, the scores should be pretty low, which always makes for good viewing.
There’s a lot to like about this event. The knocks on it really aren’t the fault of the tournament itself either, but it’s understandable that you can only watch so much golf in one week, and with the Memorial being on, that’s where your attention should be. However, if you have some time, give the Nordea Masters a look. It should be fun.
The Nordea Masters earns a score of 6 Millers out of 10.