The Memorial Winners and History

The Memorial Winners and History

The Memorial Winners and History

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.

A list of The Memorial winners is below:

YearWinnerScoreTo parMargin of
2023Viktor Hovland281-7Playoff
2022Billy Horschel275-144 strokes
2021Patrick Cantlay (2)275−13Playoff
2020Jon Rahm279−93 strokes
2019Patrick Cantlay269−192 strokes
2018Bryson DeChambeau273−15Playoff
2017 Jason Dufner275−133 strokes
2016 William McGirt273−15Playoff
2015 David Lingmerth273−15Playoff
2014 Hideki Matsuyama275−13Playoff
2013Matt Kuchar276−122 strokes
2012 Tiger Woods (5)279−92 strokes
2011 Steve Stricker272−161 stroke
2010 Justin Rose270−183 strokes
2009 Tiger Woods (4)276−121 stroke
2008 Kenny Perry (3)280−82 strokes
2007 K. J. Choi271−171 stroke
2006 Carl Pettersson276−122 strokes
2005 Bart Bryant272−161 stroke
2004 Ernie Els270−184 strokes
2003Kenny Perry (2)275−132 strokes
2002Jim Furyk274−142 strokes
2001 Tiger Woods (3)271−177 strokes
2000 Tiger Woods (2)269−195 strokes
1999Tiger Woods273−152 strokes
1998 Fred Couples271−174 strokes
1997 Vijay Singh202*−142 strokes
1996 Tom Watson (2)274−142 strokes
1995 Greg Norman (2)269−194 strokes
1994Tom Lehman268−205 strokes
1993Paul Azinger274−141 stroke
1992David Edwards273−15Playoff
1991 Kenny Perry273−15Playoff
1990 Greg Norman216*E1 stroke
1989 Bob Tway277−112 strokes
1988 Curtis Strange274−142 strokes
1987 Don Pooley272−163 strokes
1986 Hal Sutton271−174 strokes
1985 Hale Irwin (2)281−71 stroke
1984 Jack Nicklaus (2)280−8Playoff
1983 Hale Irwin281−71 stroke
1982 Raymond Floyd281−72 strokes
1981 Keith Fergus284−41 stroke
1980 David Graham280−81 stroke
1979 Tom Watson285−33 strokes
1978 Jim Simons284−41 stroke
1977 Jack Nicklaus281−72 strokes
1976 Roger Maltbie288EPlayoff
* 54 holes

and the past Memorial Tournament honorees:

2021Nick Price, Gene Littler, Ted Ray (holdovers from 2020)
2020Nick Price, Gene Littler, Ted Ray
2019Judy Rankin
2018Hale Irwin, Jock Hutchinson, Willie Turnesa
2017Greg Norman, Tony Lema, Ken Venturi, Harvie Ward
2016Johnny Miller, Leo Diegel, Horton Smith
2015Nick Faldo, Dorothy Campbell, Jerome Travers, Walter Travis
2014Annika Sorenstam, Jim Barnes, Joe Carr, Willie Park, Jr.
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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7 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

  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.

  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.

  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


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