(Star) power outage: Big names struggle at Memorial
DUBLIN, Ohio – There are plenty of vintage touches that serve as window dressing at the Memorial Tournament, an ode to a simpler time at the home of the game’s most decorated champion.
Chief among them are the manual scoreboards. In the information age with most fans whipping out their phones to document every shot, you won’t see LED displays lining the fairways at Muirfield Village. Much like at Augusta National, everything is done by hand – from the yawning white display next to the 18th green to the wall in front of the media center, each name and score carefully adjusted one letter and number at a time.
But even without a plug anywhere to be seen, there was no mistaking a serious power outage near the top of the leaderboard during the opening round.
A number of factors tend to produce a strong field at Jack’s Place, and this year is no different – from a demanding layout to a revered tournament host to a spot on the schedule that allows this event to serve as final U.S. Open prep for many big names. Eight of the top 10 in the world showed up, including four of the top five, and there is no shortage of head-turning names on the tee sheet even with only 120 players in the field.
But while there were plenty of birdies to be had on a soft layout, the big guns by and large misfired. The top six players in the field combined to shoot 4 over in the opening round, with only world No. 8 Jason Day (68) and No. 10 Hideki Matsuyama (65) doing their part to represent the top-ranked contingent.
Perhaps Rory McIlroy was on to something when he suggested earlier in the week that the PGA Tour sometimes does a disservice to its brightest stars by putting them together in marquee, early-round groupings.
“It’s tough, this golf course,” said world…