The chase for No. 1, the sudden impossibility of Muirfield Village and Tiger’s well being make for an attention-grabbing near the Memorial

DUBLIN, Ohio — What a distinction every week, some extra-thick grass, extra wind and quicker greens could make.

All that has occurred within the week between the Workday Charity Open and the Memorial Event, which had been performed on the identical course. There have been 16 gamers who completed greater than 10 pictures underneath half through the Workday Charity Open. There’s presently just one participant higher than 10-under going into the ultimate spherical of the Memorial.

However as Jon Rahm proved on Saturday, something can occur in these robust taking part in situations. This is a take a look at a number of key storylines heading into the ultimate spherical Sunday:

A brand new No. 1?

What’s so important about Rahm presently having a four-stroke lead over Ryan Palmer and Tony Finau?

Rahm will exchange Mcllory because the No. 1 ranked participant on this planet if he wins the event and Mcllory finishes worse than a tie for second. Solely 9 European gamers have been ranked No. 1 on this planet.

“It is extraordinarily vital,” Rahm mentioned. “It is clearly a giant deal. I am unable to sit right here and never — and attempt to diminish it and keep away from it as a result of it might simply be mendacity to myself as a result of it’s a large deal. However it’s a consequence of me profitable. What’s vital to me [on Sunday] is hit good pictures, be dedicated and get the job achieved. All the things else shall be taken care of afterwards.”

Did Finau blow it?

If Finau, who went into the third spherical tied for the lead, would not come again to win the event he’ll know his play on the again 9 Saturday began his downward spiral.

He stood at 10 underneath as he made the flip within the third spherical. However two double bogeys and a bogey on the again 9 might be the explanation why he would not win the event.

“Bumped into some velocity bumps on the again 9,” Finau mentioned. “Man, this golf course can get you in a heartbeat. You simply try to put your finest foot ahead each gap, each shot and try to play in addition to you may. The greens are agency. There’s sufficient wind up there to consider. They’re quick. A bit of disenchanted in my end, however look, I am in an excellent place going into [Sunday’s final round]. And it’ll be robust. I am in all probability fairly lucky to be inside a number of pictures after [Saturday’s third round].”

What about Tiger?

Tiger Woods bounced again from a tough second spherical that had him on the point of lacking the reduce to taking pictures 1-under 71 within the third spherical. Woods, whose again was bothering him whereas warming up Friday, did not present any indicators of well being points and had a smile on his face for a lot of the spherical.

For Woods, getting by 4 straight days in PGA Tour situations is vital as he ramps up in anticipation of subsequent month’s PGA Championship.

“Clearly you may inform that (the again is) affecting him slightly bit extra as a result of his velocity is approach down, and when your velocity is approach down and also you’re attempting to compete towards the very best gamers on this planet — I noticed him hit a wooden and it was 145-mile-an-hour ball velocity,” Jason Day mentioned.

“When is the final time you’ve got ever seen Tiger do this? And while you’re attempting to do this and compete towards the very best gamers on this planet, it’s totally tough to do. Lengthy story brief, it is good to see him out taking part in once more. I hope that his again comes alongside in order that he can really begin hitting it slightly bit more durable and being slightly bit extra aggressive in his thoughts as a result of I do know that he is in all probability pissed off with it.”

Day within the combine regardless of dangerous again and all

Day is tied for fifth, seven pictures again of Rahm entering into to Sunday. However Day, similar to Woods on Friday, is coping with again points. Day has needed to grind it out this weekend to attempt to keep in rivalry on his dwelling course. He’s a member at Muirfield Village.

After a gradual begin within the first spherical — he shot 1-over 73 on Thursday — he is labored himself into rivalry regardless of his balky again.

“I am simply being cautious,” Day mentioned. “I simply really feel prefer it might exit at any second as a result of it simply would not really feel robust. However I simply wish to make it possible for I — I’ve simply received to get by [the final round]. If I get by [Sunday] then I take every week off, then I am tremendous.”

So Day is aware of what Woods feels.

“I sympathize with him just about day-after-day,” Day mentioned. “I can perceive his ache.”

Difficult course

Are you positive the Memorial is not a significant? The gamers suppose it is taking part in like one given the situations. Muirfield Village is taking part in arduous and quick, a departure from only one week earlier when the Workday Charity Traditional, on the identical course, performed smooth and yielded low scores. This week, Dustin Johnson, ranked No. four on this planet, shot consecutive scores within the 80s and missed the reduce. On Saturday, no participant within the subject went by his spherical with out at the very least one bogey or worse.

The gamers have seen the distinction.

“It is very robust,” Justin Thomas mentioned. “It is very reasonable. It rewards good pictures and exposes dangerous ones. It’s essential management your ball and simply cannot make any silly errors. Final week you could possibly short-side your self and get away with it. Yeah, that is not the case this week. A few of these greens, No. 16 particularly, is absurd. It is like hitting into concrete. You actually, actually need to be touchdown it just about precisely the place you need, in any other case it’ll go to a nasty place.”

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