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The new NBC Sports EDGE Driver is such a fun tool to play around with. I'm going to put my lab coat on and see what kind of course-fit stats it can pop out this week for the Memorial Tournament.
What do we know about the host venue, Muirfield Village Golf Club? It's a Jack Nicklaus design that was renovated after the 2020 edition of this event. The course is known for generous landing areas off the tee, very thick rough if you are not taking advantage of those generous landing areas, and tricky bentgrass greens that can get really speedy.
Let's crunch some numbers and see what flies out...
For years the grounds crew at Muirfield Village has been fighting off poa annua the best they could. They finally made some drastic changes after last year's playing and the turf will now be more pure bentgrass, at least for the next five years or so.
Jack Nicklaus had this to say on Tuesday, "last year we finished up the golf tournament and I finally turned to Chad, who is back here in the back and I said, Chad, we got to get rid that have blasted poa annua. I mean, those greens just looked horrible on television, they looked horrible -- and the greens were putting beautifully, there was nothing wrong with the way the golf course played or anything. Aesthetically, I can't stand the look of it. "
Looking at all rounds played on bentgrass greens since the start of the 2019 season, here are the top performers in strokes gained putting, at a per-round level:
Lucas Herbert (6 round sample)
Sahith Theegala (12 round sample)
Charles Howell III
Billy Horschel ($37): Horschel is often associated with putting on bermudagrass greens but the man can roll his rock on any surface, evidenced by his appearance on the top-15 list above. How about actual data from Muirfield Village? He has gained strokes putting in five of his last six trips to MVGC, including +6.3 SGP at the Workday last year and +3.6 SGP at the 2020 Memorial.
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This event always features some gnarly rough with Nicklaus preferring to punish errant drives and poor approach shots.
The renovation did not change his policy in that regard with the rough prepped at 4 inches this week.
"The membership will play the golf course and I think they will enjoy it. They all, they came in and said, oh, they love the golf course, but boy that rough's deep. The rough has nothing to do with you playing the golf course. We only put rough there because we're having the tournament. When the tournament's over we cut the rough down, so don't worry about the rough.
Using the NBC Sports Edge Driver we can find out what golfers have gained the most strokes tee-to-green, per round, on courses with rough prepped at 3.5 inches or higher (last two years):
Collin Morikawa ($43): He won during his first visit to Muirfield Village last year. Of course, that was during the Workday Charity Open week when the course was set up a bit easier. Perhaps it's good news then, that Jack Nicklaus came out in his Tuesday press conference and said the course will be playing easier this year since they can't push the fresh turf to the limits they normally do.
Hopefully, these stats will give you some names to dive into when it comes to researching your final selections this week over at Yahoo!