The Memorial Tournament tees off on Thursday, May 31. This event features a strong field that includes eight of the top 10 golfers in the world. The biggest draw in the field is Tiger Woods, who is making his return to the event that he has won four times in his career. Whenever Tiger is present, an event always feels a little bigger. Of course, plenty of other golfers might have better chances of winning this event in 2012.
Here is a look at five golfers to watch at the Memorial Tournament:
This is the first appearance for Watson in a month, and just the second time he has played since winning the Masters. We should learn how rusty he is pretty early in this event. Watson has not finished outside of the top 20 in any of his starts in 2012, so it is safe to assume that he will be factor once again. If he can win this event, he will be a favorite at the U.S. Open.
Rory just lost the No. 1 ranking to Luke Donald after missing the cut at the BMW PGA Championship. Adding in his showing at the Players Championship, McIlroy has missed the cut at two straight tournaments. He is too good of a player to have that happen for a third straight time. I think he will make a major push at this event and contend in the final round. He needs to do that in order to regain his confidence.
Donald just beat out a strong field on the European Tour. Can he do the same on the PGA Tour? I believe he can. Now that he is the top player in the world again, I expect Donald to play with a certain edge. He wants to prove that he belongs on top, and I think he can. A win here would be his second PGA Tour win of 2012. That should propel him up the short list of U.S. Open favorites.
Fowler has been on fire lately. He has finished in the top 10 in each of his last four starts, including a victory at the Wells Fargo Championship. Few golfers in the world are playing better than him right now. Fowler has proved that he can outlast a strong field, so look for him to make a run at this event.
Like Fowler, Curtis brings some momentum into the Memorial Tournament. He has finished in the top 5 three times in his last four starts. That includes his first victory since 2006 and a second -lace finish at the Players Championship. Curtis looks as good as he ever has, so you have to like his chances here. If he contends at the Memorial, we will be talking about him a lot in the summer.* - Mark Paul is an avid golf fan. He has watched and played the game since high school.