This Week in Golf -- May 31 through June 3

PGA TOUR - MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT, Muirfield Village Golf Club, Dublin, Ohio - The field is loaded for this week's tournament honoring the most prolific winner in PGA Tour history.

Jack Nicklaus is the tournament host, course designer at Muirfield Village and the No. 1 reason the stars of golf show up for this, what is likely to be, a final tune-up for the U.S. Open in two weeks.

Since most of the game's best skip the FedEx St. Jude Classic next week, this will be the last time we see the likes of new No. 1 Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Hunter Mahan until Thursday, June 14th at Olympic Club.

This week will also mark a pair of returns.

Bubba Watson, the Masters champion, appeared only once since he donned the green jacket in early April. He defended his title in New Orleans, then withdrew from every tournament to be with his new son and wife. Bubba will return to the PGA Tour at Muirfield.

Also scheduled to resume playing duties is Dustin Johnson. The long-hitter has been out of action since the WGC-Cadillac Championship the second week in March with a back injury. Johnson, who finished fourth at last year's Memorial, planned on returning for the Masters, but he tweaked the injury when trying to lift a jet ski.

Another highly-ranked player held on for the title a year ago.

Steve Stricker, who never posted a single top 10 in his 11 previous appearances, amassed an impressive lead on Sunday, only to nearly blow it on the back nine.

Stricker hung on for a one-shot victory over Players Champion Matt Kuchar, who withdrew last week, and Brandt Jobe.

Stricker, despite playing most of this season with a neck injury, already owns one victory - the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He is ninth on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, one spot from an automatic berth.

The seemingly hottest player on the planet, Jason Dufner, is not in the field this week. He will be serving as a volunteer assistant coach for his Auburn Tigers at the NCAA Championship.

Golf Channel will broadcast Thursday and Friday with CBS taking over on the weekend.

Next week is the FedEx St. Jude Classic, which was won last year by Harrison Frazar. He defeated Robert Karlsson in a playoff and got his first PGA Tour victory in his 355th start.

The following week is the season's second major championship, the U.S. Open.


WALES OPEN, The Celtic Manor Resort, City of Newport, Wales - One week after the European Tour's flagship event, the tour heads to the site of the 2010 Ryder Cup.

The Europeans defeated the Americans at Celtic Manor and four of the victorious team members will be in the field this week. The Molinaris - Edoardo and Francesco, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Ross Fisher are all scheduled to tee it up this week. Colin Montgomerie, the captain of that team, will also play.

This year's European captain, Jose Maria Olazabal, is also in the field. He got drafted into service as a vice-captain in 2010 when inclement weather changed the format.

Last year, Alexander Noren shot a one-under 70 in the final round to win by two strokes over Anders Hansen and Gregory Bourdy. It was Noren's second European Tour title after he won the 2009 European Masters.

Golf Channel will show all four rounds.

Next week, the European Tour heads to Stockholm, Sweden for the Nordea Masters, which Noren also won in 2011.


SHOPRITE LPGA CLASSIC, Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club, Galloway, New Jersey - The LPGA Tour returns from a brief break and heads to the Jersey Shore.

The only fist-pumping you'll see on this Jersey Shore will be from the winner and last year that was Brittany Lincicome.

She got up and down for birdie on the last hole to secure a one-stroke victory over second-round leader Cristie Kerr and Jiyai Shin, but the tournament came down to the last hole.

Shin got into the clubhouse at 10-under par, then Lincicome badly pulled her second at the par-five last. Lincicome hit a spectacular chip from some tall fescue to five feet and holed the birdie putt.

Kerr needed to hole a putt from the fairway short of the putting surface for an eagle and playoff, but it came up short. She tapped in for par and Lincicome had her fourth LPGA Tour title and first since the 2009 Kraft Nabisco Championship.

World No. 1 Yani Tseng will be on hand and most of the LPGA Tour's best will be there as well.

This event was off the LPGA Tour's schedule from 2007-09, but returned in 2010. Since its comeback, Ai Miyazato and Lincicome have hoisted the trophy.

Golf Channel has all three rounds.

Next week is the Wegmans LPGA Championship in New York and Tseng is expected to be on hand to defend the title she won last year.


PRINCIPAL CHARITY CLASSIC, Glen Oaks Country Club, West Des Moines, Iowa - One week after Roger Chapman dusted the best of the Champions Tour, the 50-and- over crowd heads to Glen Oaks.

Last year, Mark Brooks, the 1996 PGA Champion, seemed to have his first Champions Tour win in hand. He was three up with four to play in only his seventh start on the circuit.

A funny thing happened on the way into the clubhouse.

He hit into water en route to a bogey at 17 and three-putted the last for a bogey.

That handed the title to Bob Gilder.

Gilder parred 17 and, after Brooks' hiccup, trailed by one. Gilder ran home a 30-footer for birdie at the last, then watched Brooks three-putt from 25 feet to give Gilder his first Champions Tour title since 2006.

Gilder was 60 at the time of his victory and, after Tom Watson, then 61, won the Senior PGA Championship the week before, it marked the first time in Champions Tour history that two 60-and-over players won in back-to-back weeks.

Damon Green is in the field this week and he earned some prominence on Sunday. He is the caddie for Zach Johnson, the winner at Colonial, and Green's father recently passed away, leading to an emotional victory for the two.

Golf Channel will carry tape-delayed coverage for the three rounds of the event.

The season's next major championship is next week, The Tradition at Shoal Creek. Tom Lehman won in 2011 in a playoff over Peter Senior.


THE REX HOSPITAL OPEN, TPC Wakefield Plantation, Raleigh, North Carolina - After a two-week break, the Nationwide Tour returns in North Carolina.

Last year, Kyle Thompson birdied the 18th hole Sunday to earn a one-shot victory over Troy Kelly, Martin Flores and Scott Brown. Thompson, Kelly and Flores shared the third-round lead, but Kelly and Flores couldn't birdie the last to force a playoff.

Thompson won this event in 2007 as well. If he were to win this year, he would become the first player in Nationwide Tour history to successfully defend a title. Also, Thompson could become the first player in tour history to win the same event three times. Ten golfers have won the same championship twice.

There is no television coverage this week.

Next week is the Mexico Open, which was won last year by Erik Compton.