The Memorial Winners and History

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During Masters week in 1966, a young Jack Nicklaus spoke of of his dream of founding a golf tournament which would—like The Masters—would be inspired by golf’s history and attract the world’s best players. Nicklaus also wanted to support charities in his hometown of the Greater Columbus area.

Ten years later, players at the first Memorial Tournament teed off at Muirfield Village, a residential and golf community just outside Columbus, Ohio. Muirfield Village was developed by Nicklaus and had opened in 1974. As the story goes, it’s built on a piece of land that he enjoyed playing on as a young lad.

In keeping with his original idea of making a connection to golf’s history, each year the Memorial Honors great golfers of the past, and a plaque for each is installed at the Muirfield Clubhouse. A list of past winners follows. The tournament also has fulfilled his dream of benefiting charities in Ohio.

The primary charity for the tournament is Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

The Memorial Tournament Presented by Nationwide is a restricted field event, with only the first 75 players on the previous year’s money list guaranteed invites. Nicklaus apparently has a hand in selecting the remaining players. In John Feinstein’s Moment of Glory, he recounts that in spite of struggling with a shoulder injury for two years, Shaun Micheel was given an exemption in 2009:

… in part because he remembers that Micheel had played hurt the previous year. “I remember seeing him and he said. “Shaun, why don’t you withdraw? You’re hurt.” I said “Mr. Nicklaus, I wouldn’t ever pull out of your event.”

Nicklaus also guides the continual upkeep on the course. In 1996, he introduced special rakes to the tournament which created furrows in the traps, making sand play more difficult. That experiment lasted three years. He also has tinkered with the length of the rough, trying to find the right balance between punishment and shot making.

The 2013 President’s Cup will be played at Muirfield Village.

A list of The Memorial winners is below:

YearPlayerCountryScore
2019Patrick CantlayUnited States269 (-19)
2018Bryson DeChambeauUnited States273 (-13)
2017Jason DufnerUnited States275 (-13)
2016William McGirtUnited States273 (-15)
2015David LingmerthSweden273 (-15)
2014Hideki Matsuyama Japan275 (-13)
2013Matt Kuchar United States276 (-12)
2012Tiger Woods (5) United States279 (-9)
2011Steve Stricker United States272 (-16)
2010Justin Rose England270 (-18)
2009Tiger Woods (4) United States276 (-12)
2008Kenny Perry (3) United States280 (-8)
2007K.J. Choi South Korea271 (-17)
2006Carl Pettersson Sweden276 (-12)
2005Bart Bryant United States272 (-16)
2004Ernie Els South Africa270 (-18)
2003Kenny Perry (2) United States275 (-11)
2002Jim Furyk United States274 (-14)
2001Tiger Woods (3) United States271 (-17)
2000Tiger Woods (2) United States269 (-19)
1999Tiger Woods United States273 (-15)
1998Fred Couples United States271 (-17)
1997Vijay Singh Fiji202* (-14) 54 holes
1996Tom Watson (2) United States274 (-14)
1995Greg Norman (2) Australia269 (-19)
1994Tom Lehman United States268 (-20)
1993Paul Azinger United States274 (-14)
1992David Edwards United States273 (-15)
1991Kenny Perry United States273 (-15)
1990Greg Norman Australia216 (E) 54 holes
1989Bob Tway United States277 (-11)
1988Curtis Strange United States274 (-14)
1987Don Pooley United States272 (-16)
1986Hal Sutton United States271 (-17)
1985Hale Irwin (2) United States281 (-7)
1984Jack Nicklaus (2) United States280 (-8)
1983Hale Irwin United States281 (-7)
1982Raymond Floyd United States281 (-7)
1981Keith Fergus United States284 (-4)
1980David Graham Australia280 (-8)
1979Tom Watson United States285 (-3)
1978Jim Simons United States284 (-4)
1977Jack Nicklaus United States281 (-7)
1976Roger Maltbie United States288 (E)

and the past Memorial Tournament honorees:

YearHonoree
2018Hale Irwin
2017Greg Norman
2016Johnny Miller
2015Nick Faldo
2014Annika Sorenstamn
2013Raymond Floyd
2012Tom Watson
2011Nancy Lopez
2010Seve Ballesteros
2009JoAnne Carner and Jack Burke Jr.
2008Tony Jacklin;Ralph Guldahl;Charles B. Macdonald and Craig Wood
2007Louise Suggs and Dow Finsterwald
2006Michael Bonallack; Charles Coe; Lawson Little; Henry Picard; Paul Runyan and Denny Shute
2005Betsy Rawls and Cary Middlecoff
2004Lee Trevino and Joyce Wethered
2003Julius Boros and William C. Campbell
2002Kathy Whitworth and Bobby Locke
2001Payne Stewart
2000Jack Nicklaus
1999Ben Hogan
1998Peter Thompson
1997Gary Player
1996Billy Casper
1995Willie Anderson; John Ball; James Braid; Harold HIlton and JH Taylor
1994Mickey Wright
1993Arnold Palmer
1992Joseph Dey
1991Babe Zaharias
1990Jimmy Demaret
1989Henry Cotton
1988Patty Berg
1987Old and Young Tom Morris
1986Robert de Vicenzo
1985Chick Evans
1984Sam Snead
1983Tommy Armour
1982Glenna Collett-Vare
1981Harry Vardon
1980Byron Nelson
1979Gene Sarazen
1978Francis Ouimet
1977Walter Hagen
1976Bobby Jones
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6 thoughts on “The Memorial Winners and History”

  1. Point of clarification: The total purse for the event is $6,000,000. $1,080,000 is the winner’s share.

    Jim Dauer
    FullForesome.com

    Reply
  2. I wonder if there is a tournament with a higher percentage of winners who are also major championship winners.  By my count, 25 of 34 tournaments have been won by major winners.  For example, Colonial has been won by major winners 59% of the time.

    Obviously, the majors themselves are always won by a major winner.  Possibly the Players or some other relatively exclusive invitational might top the Memorial.  Still, the tournament has a pretty impressive list of past champions for a somewaht new event.

    Reply
  3. Just a guess, I am going with Tiger for this weekend as his only win this year.

    It is a crazy prediction, but at least I am getting one out there.

    Reply
  4. I’m also struck by the number of multiple winners. In 34 tournaments, nearly half were won by six players.

    Tiger Woods: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2009
    Kenny Perry: 1991, 2003, 2008
    Jack Nicklaus: 1977, 1984
    Hale Irwin: 1983, 1985
    Greg Norman: 1990, 1995
    Tom Watson: 1979, 1996

    Reply

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