The Memorial Tournament presented by Morgan Stanley Preview

The PGA Tour is in Ohio this week for the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village. A strong field has assembled for Jack Nicklaus’ tournament and defending champion Tiger Woods will start.

Tiger Woods defends

Lowdown: The PGA Tour is in Ohio this week for the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village. A strong field has assembled for Jack Nicklaus' tournament and defending champion Tiger Woods will start. After withdrawing from the Players Championship with a neck injury, the world number one returns to competitive action with questions surrounding his form ahead of the US Open at Pebble Beach. Phil Mickelson could still topple Tiger at the pinnacle of the World Ranking but there are also questions over his form as he failed to capitalise on Woods' absence. Mickelson will be looking to display some better golf than he did last week at Colonial where he comfortably missed the cut. At last year's tournament, Tiger stormed through the field with a final round of 65 to take his fourth Memorial title by a single shot from Jim Furyk. The 220 acres on which Muirfield Village GC sits was acquired in 1966 though the course was not officially opened until 1974. Built in the outskirts of Jack Nicklaus' hometown of Columbus, the course and the Memorial Tournament were the work and dream of the Golden Bear. Muirfield Village has played host to the Memorial since 1976 and the course was also used for the 1987 Ryder Cup matches, the 1992 US Amateur and the 1998 Solheim Cup. The course is one of the more difficult on the PGA Tour and super-low scoring hasn't been a feature of this tournament over the last couple of seasons. In fact, Muirfield Village ranked as the sixth toughest track on the 2009 PGA Tour.

Venue: Muirfield Village Golf Club, Dublin, Ohio Date: Jun 3-6 Course stats: par 72, 7,265 yards Purse: $6,000,000 Winner: $1,080,000 Defending Champion: Tiger Woods (-12)

TV Coverage: Thursday 3 - Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm Friday 4 - Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm Saturday 5 - Live on Sky Sports 3 from 5pm Sunday 6 - Live on Sky Sports 3 from 5pm

Player Watch: Ernie Els - The South African has only missed one cut in 16 starts at the Memorial and he won in 2004. He's enjoying a great season and has two wins to his name already in 2010. Jim Furyk - He was the winner here back in 2002 and finished as runner-up to Tiger in 2009. He has two wins so far on the 2010 tour. Bo Van Pelt - He's been playing some supremely consistent golf this season with four top 10s in his last five starts. He's ranked first on the 2010 PGA Tour in ball-striking.

Key hole: 18th. The 444 yard par 4 ranked as the toughest on the course in 2009. The tee shot is played downhill but bunkers wait to the right side and a creek threatens on the left. The approach is then played uphill over a swale to a massively sloping, two-tier green.

Skills required: Experience. This is not a venue that tends to throw up first-time winners. A look back at the list of champions since 1995 reads like a who's who of the PGA Tour - Greg Norman, Tom Watson, Vijay Singh, Fred Couples, Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, Kenny Perry, Ernie Els, Bart Bryant and K.J Choi.

Where next?

Tour news: Memorial Tournament betting guide Equipment: Latest reviews Golf opinion: Latest blogs and debate

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?