Coming fresh out of the 2023 Memorial Tournament, let’s take a look at the true winners and losers of this weekend’s designated event.
2023 Memorial Tournament Winners
Hovland stormed onto the PGA Tour scene in 2020 after turning professional in 2019. The Norwegian quickly earned two victories that year, followed by a third on the Greg Norman-designed course at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba in 2021. Since then, Hovland has been plagued by huge expectations and a nation’s expectations on his shoulders.
Hovland has been in contention at both the Masters and PGA Championship this year already, although coming up short when it really mattered. This win cements his status as one of the best golfers in the world right now, rather than an average golfer in a good bit of form.
Hovland will be one of the well-deserved favorites heading into the 2023 US Open at Los Angeles Country Club next week.
You would be forgiven for forgetting that Billy Ho was the defending champion at the 2023 Memorial Tournament after an opening round of 84 at 12 over par. Despite the setback, and in the face of adversity, a visibly upset Horschel bravely did what many professional athletes are too proud to do and went to the press room to give a stark and tearful appraisal of his current form.
Many in this position may blame an injury, withdraw, or perhaps just go out the next day and shoot a defeated 88. Not Horschel. Billy went out on Friday with absolutely nothing to gain but pride. Against the odds, and despite making a triple at the par-5 5th, Billy shot an even par 72 which would have felt like a 65 considering the circumstances.
Billy is sitting out of the RBC Canadian Open this week and focusing on sharpening up for next week’s major.
Scottie shot a forgettable 74-73 on Thursday and Friday which largely played him outside of contention going into moving day on Saturday.
Scottie then went 68-67 over the weekend to finish just one shot back of Hovland and earn a T-3 finish, but that’s not the impressive part.
Scottie has led the PGA Tour in strokes gained tee to green this season but has been consistently let down by poor putting, where he is ranked a miserable 146th on tour, which is light years away from his overall world ranking.
The results Scottie has earned with his wayward putting should strike fear into his competitors in case he finds a way to roll it well. Even if Scottie could magic up “average” putting alongside his current game, he would be blowing away the field.
Keep a close eye on the short stick as he goes into the remaining two majors of this season.
2023 Memorial Tournament Losers
A T-7 would be a ‘win’ for a lot of golfers, but not Rory. Being a victim of his own success, anything short of winning always seems to be a failure. Whilst this may appear harsh, it’s more of a compliment to the generational talent Rory is.
Rory was in Sunday’s final pairing which left many thinking the last 18 would just be a formality. To Rory’s frustration, a poor wedge game and persistent left-miss resulted in him wilting away to a final round of three over par.
This is best illustrated by Rory being in the middle of the 14th fairway on Sunday with just 136 yards in, being a small wedge, a big pull drew a frustrated outburst from the Northern Irishman as he battles to rediscover his early season form.
In the battle for majors, all the best golfers are trying to peak their game at the same time, between April and July.
JT went 75-75 at the 2023 Memorial Tournament to miss the cut and get sent in the early flight home. JT will no doubt be trying to match his good friend Spieth’s total of three majors.
JT will have been planning his whole calendar around peaking in this major period, but things are not quite clicking ahead of next week’s 2023 US Open.
Suh joined the PGA Tour this season after finishing first in last year’s Korn Ferry point tally. In his maiden season, he’s already secured six top-25s and earned over $2.5 million despite using the same $50 Nike putter from eighth grade.
Suh held the 36-hole lead after being six under par. Despite everything seemingly going so well so far in his short career, Suh struggled to hold this form after shooting 77-79 over the weekend to slump to a T-41 finish.
Whichever side of this list they’re currently falling on, all will be aiming to be on the winner’s side at next week’s 2023 US Open.